The Convoy To Ottawa rolls on through Alberta today and into Saskatchewan despite disapproval from The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA).
On January 24, around 11:00 a.m., the bellowing sounds of truck horns could be heard in the City of Lloydminster as truckers made a quick pitstop from Highway 16 to greet supporters.
One of those supporters was Angie Reid from Bonnyville. Reid took the day off work and made the drive to Lloydminster to wish the truckers good luck as they head towards the Nation’s capital.
“I was filled with pride and tears and wishing them all the best,” Reid told Lakeland Connect. “There is not freedom of choice without the freedom to refuse. Go truckers go.”
The Convoy To Ottawa is about more than just vaccine mandates organizers say it’s about freedom.
The vast majority of the Canadian trucking industry is actually vaccinated says the CTA. However, they do not support and strongly disapprove of any protests on public roadways, highways, and bridges. The CTA believes such actions – especially those that interfere with public safety – are not how disagreements with government policies should be expressed. Members of the trucking industry who want to publicly express displeasure over government policies can choose to hold an organized, lawful event on Parliament Hill or contact their local MP. What is not acceptable is disrupting the motoring public on highways and commerce at the border says the CTA.
“The Government of Canada and the United States have now made being vaccinated a requirement to cross the border. This regulation is not changing so, as an industry, we must adapt and comply with this mandate,” said CTA president Stephen Laskowski. “The only way to cross the border, in a commercial truck or any other vehicle, is to get vaccinated.”
The CTA says the overall industry vaccination rate among truck drivers closely mirroring that of the general public. Accordingly, most of our nation’s hard-working truck drivers are continuing to move cross-border and domestic freight to ensure our economy continues to function, the CTA added.
Organizer Pat King says the plan is for truckers to shut down Ottawa.
At this hour in Canada, fleets of other drivers from across the nation are joining as they head east to make the Nation’s capital the biggest truck stop in Canada on January 29.
King says the Freedom Convoy is not taking this battle to the MPs or the politicians that are supposed to represent us, but rather the group is taking it to the Senate in Canada.
Premier Jason Kenney says its “turning into a crisis”
Premier Jason Kenney says the supply chain issues affecting Albertans are “Turning into a crisis,” calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to reverse the policy requiring truckers to be fully vaccinated.
“Nobody wants to see empty shelves and higher prices,” Premier Kenney stated on social media. “Ottawa should drop the vax mandate for truckers now.”
“The Federal quarantine requirement for unvaccinated truck drivers is making a bad situation worse, food prices are skyrocketing and supply shortages are growing. I again asked the federal government to apply some common sense here,” Premier Kenney said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the trucker mandate marks a key tool for keeping Canada’s economy on track and that the Conservatives are “fearmongering” about empty store shelves, while the Tories pressure Ottawa to lift a mandate they deem a risk to supply chains and the economy.
Thousands of trucks and online support
It’s not only big rigs headed to Ottawa regular vehicles are also joining the convoy as Canadians fight for freedom.
Lakeland Connect sources tell them that upwards of 150,000 trucks could be involved by the end of this week. People from Calgary reported that when the convoy rolled through their city it was roughly 70 km long.
No one currently knows the extent or the number of trucks that will join the convoy until it lands in Ottawa as new trucks join and register at every stop the organizers make.
A group on Facebook called Convoy to Ottawa has grown to over 401, 000 members and is gaining new members by the minute who support the truckers.
A GoFundMe page set up by organizers had garnered more than $3.6 million in donations as of January 24 at 4:00 p.m. The money will go toward the cost of fuel, food, and accommodations for participating protesters, according to the fundraising campaign page. Tamara Lich organized the fundraiser and says, “It’s a small price to pay for our freedoms. We thank you all for your Donations and know that you are helping reshape this once beautiful country back to the way it was.”
Lich says in the campaign post that in order for your generous donations to flow smoothly, the good people at GoFundMe will be sending donations directly to their bulk fuel supplier and are working out the details now.
“Which means your hard-earned money is going to straight to who it was meant for and need not flow through anyone else,” Lich stated. “Any leftover donations will be donated to a credible Veterans organization which will be chosen by the donors.”
Please Note: The CTA is a federation of professional trucking associations. They represent a broad cross section of the trucking industry, some 4,500 carriers, owner operators, and industry suppliers. The CTA represents the industry’s viewpoint on national and international policy, they say regulatory and legislative issues that affect trucking.