Canadian truckers protesting the new vaccination mandates prohibiting cross-border travel have formed a “Freedom Convoy” heading to Canada’s capital – and patriotic crowds shouting their support and waving the country’s flag are cheering them on.
Both the U.S. and Canada have instituted mandates forbidding cross-border travel unless the truck drivers are either fully-vaccinated or submit to a 14-day quarantine beforehand, Reuters explains:
“A convoy of truckers started their march from Vancouver on Sunday to the Canadian capital city of Ottawa protesting the government's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for truckers, which the industry says would create driver shortages and fuel inflation.”
In addition to exacerbating the current driver shorter and driving up prices, the mandate would also slow deliveries, according to The Globe and Mail:
“Trucking-industry lobby groups have said the border requirement will worsen the shortage of available drivers, driving up food prices and slowing deliveries. Even before the surge in Omicron cases, the trucking industry was facing one of the highest job-vacancy rates in Canada, with almost 23,000 driver positions unfilled as of the late summer – an increase of 8,000 since the beginning of 2021.”
One truck driver participating in the Freedom Convoy explains how the mandates have hurt him personally – and promises the truckers will be making lots of noise along the way to draw attention to their cause, The Vancouver Sun reports:
“’We’ll all be in radio contact — trucks leave first, everyone else second,’ said Sean Tiessen, a truck driver from Grand Forks. “There’ll be lots of honking, lots of garnering support and making noise and spreading the love.’
“Tiessen, who has been driving rigs for 23 years, will be behind the wheel of his own vehicle because he was unable to start his winter job hauling lumber across the border due to the vaccine requirement.”
As evidenced by the Freedom Convoy’s GoFundMe page, the truckers have succeeded in drumming up support for their cause, as 61,100 donors have pledged $4.7 million as of Tuesday.
But, GoFundMe has frozen the $4.7 million of assets, the Canadian Broadcast Corporation reports:
“GoFundMe has frozen access to the more than $4.7 million in funds raised by the trucker convoy now winding its way across the country toward Ottawa in a protest against vaccine mandates.
“‘We require that fundraisers be transparent about the flow of funds and have a clear plan for how those funds will be spent. In this case, we are in touch with the organizer to verify that information,’ Rachel Hollis, a spokeswoman for the crowdfunding platform, said in an email.