- Truckers protesting in Ottawa and at various border crossings
- The Canadian Government
From January 29th to February 20th, protesters occupied the Parliament Hill area of downtown Ottawa with their trucks. Over thousands of trucks arrived for the first rally, and hundreds stayed the whole time. They didn’t leave until the police in Ottawa were able to force them out. They called themselves the “Freedom Convoy”, and there were several smaller rallies held all over the country in solidarity with them.
This protest started when Canada and the U.S. removed the special quarantine exemptions for unvaccinated truckers. Since truckers are ‘essential workers’, unvaccinated truckers didn’t have to quarantine like a regular traveler. However, on January 15th, the Canadian government changed this, so unvaccinated truckers now have to quarantine after every border crossing. This upset many truckers, who began organising a protest in Ottawa. They drove to Ottawa from all over Canada, with most arriving on January 29th.
Effects of the Protest
These protests caused a lot of different problems. The trucks parked in downtown Ottawa blocked traffic in an important part of the city for almost a month. The local shops temporarily closed down, which negatively affected small businesses. There were many reports of these truckers harassing the people of Ottawa and causing lots of property damage. The border blockades also caused problems for many Canadian and American companies that rely on these border crossings to get goods.
U.S. car manufacturing companies were especially affected by these border blockades. One of the blockades was right across from Detroit, which is a major center of car manufacturing. Many companies had to suspend production. In response to this, the U.S. government asked the Canadian government to stop the protests. After a week, the police were able to fully remove all of the protesters, and the companies could begin production again.
To end the protests, Justin Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act, which gave the government emergency powers such as freezing the bank accounts of the protesters. He invoked this act on February 14th, and it was lifted on February 23rd once all of the protesters had been removed. Trudeau’s use of the Emergencies Act was very controversial. The Liberal party and the NDP party were in favor of it, but the Conservative party and Bloc Quebecois party were against it. The premiers of Alberta called it “unnecessary”, and the premiers of Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba were also against it.
“Freedom Convoy: Why Canadian Truckers Are Protesting in Ottawa.” BBC News, 29 Jan. 2022. www.bbc.com, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-60164561.
Gollom, Mark, and Samantha Craggs ·. CBC News ·. “Protest Crowd Remains on Ambassador Bridge after Police Clear out Part of Blockade | CBC News.” CBC, https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/protesters-ambassador-bridge-windsor-covid-deadline-1.6349424. Accessed 14 Feb. 2022.
Reuters. “US Urges Canada to End Trucker Border Blockade as Mayor Says Protesters Could Be Removed by Force.” The Guardian, 11 Feb. 2022. The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/feb/11/us-urges-canada-to-end-trucker-border-blockade-as-mayor-says-protesters-could-be-removed-by-force.
Woolf, Mia Rabson and Marie. “Convoy Protests Creating Political Nightmare for Liberals and Conservatives Alike.” CP24, 10 Feb. 2022, https://www.cp24.com/news/convoy-protests-creating-political-nightmare-for-liberals-and-conservatives-alike-1.5776393.
News ·, C. B. C. “Police Negotiators Convince Some Trucks to Leave, but Most Won’t Budge | CBC News.” CBC, https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/ottawa-airport-convoy-protest-traffic-1.6346256. Accessed 14 Feb. 2022.
Aiello, Rachel. “Trudeau Makes History, Invokes Emergencies Act to Address Trucker Protests.” CTVNews, 14 Feb. 2022, https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/trudeau-makes-history-invokes-emergencies-act-to-address-trucker-protests-1.5780283.
“‘Freedom Convoy’ Protest: How Did We Get Here?” CTVNews, 8 Feb. 2022, https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/freedom-convoy-protest-how-did-we-get-here-1.5772901.