Canada has long been known as a nation that is civil, peace-loving, and utterly friendly and hospitable. But the last few weeks showed an intense side to Canadians that the world has not seen before. The trucker protests in Ottawa showed that everyone has their limits, including Canadians.
Canada, which has had one of the "developed world's best vaccination rates" also experienced some of North America's longest lockdowns, which involved curfews and quarantines, Bloomberg reported. Now, people are dealing with pent-up frustration and rage, with many joining the truckers' protest dubbed the "Freedom Convoy."
The protest has been championed by conservative media and personalities like podcaster Joe Rogan, and has been supported by the likes of Tesla's Elon Musk and former President Donald Trump, among other conservative figures.
According to the report, "there is a growing sense of support for a message they're delivering -- that strict Covid restrictions no longer make sense." In fact, Shachi Kurl, president of the Angus Reid Institute, a research firm in Vancouver remarked, "People are starting to ask, what is the point or what is the efficacy of these restrictions?'"
In January, a poll conducted by the Angus Reid Institute found that 54% of Canadians want to end restrictions and allow people to simply self-isolate if they are at risk for COVID. The figure rose 14 points from the same question posed a few weeks earlier. Kurl remarked that the reaction to Canada's continued lockdowns is "not knee-jerk. It's been building."
It has been building to the point where protesters have blocked the busiest international land border in North America, CBN News reported. Truckers at the Freedom Convoy have now caused a 10-mile backup of trucks at the Ambassador Bridge, which connects Windsor, Ontario, to Detroit in the U.S. This passage is where $323 million worth of products cross the bridge daily. Analysts believe the delays in the supply chain will soon affect the U.S.' auto industry.
Evangelist Franklin Graham took to Twitter to share his thoughts on the Freedom Convoy, applauding the protesters for fighting for "freedom" and asking his followers to pray for them.
"Pray for our neighbors to the north," Graham told his followers. "The issue isn't primarily masks or vaccines-the issue is FREEDOM, the freedom to make our own choices. These truckers are a modern-day version of Paul Revere, riding against oppression."
Pray for our neighbors to the north. Freedom is precious. The issue isn't primarily masks or vaccines"”the issue is FREEDOM, the freedom to make our own choices. These truckers are a modern-day version of Paul Revere, riding against oppression.
"” Franklin Graham (@Franklin_Graham) February 8, 2022
Graham also highlighted how Canadian authorities have threatened to arrest those who were delivering food or fuel to the truckers and protesters in Ottawa. In fact, an elderly great-grandfather was arrested by Ottawa Police on Sunday after he showed his support for the protesters by honking his car horn.
According to the Toronto Sun, 78 year old Gerry Charlebois was arrested and handcuffed by Canadian police for sounding his car's horn. A retired school janitor, Charlebois told the media that he was in shock when he was pulled over and arrested by the police, whose treatment of him horrified the old man's family. He insisted that he was merely showing his support by giving them a "thumbs-up and a honk." Videos of his arrest went viral online.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau continues to oppose and ignore the protesters' claims, claiming in the House of Commons on Wednesday that "Blockades, illegal demonstrations are unacceptable and are negatively impacting businesses and manufacturers...You can't end a pandemic with blockades... You need to end it with science. You need to end it with public health measures," VOA News reported.