A convoy of trucks making its way across the country is driving debate on vaccine restrictions in Canada.
From several hundred demonstrators that lined Highway 1 in Aldergrove Sunday to the two dozen gathered in Sooke on Wednesday, the truckers convoy has become a vehicle to voice opposition to restrictions being placed on those refusing COVID-19 vaccinations.
The group of truckers, calling itself the Freedom Rally, is calling on the federal government to drop the vaccine mandate for truckers crossing the Canada-U.S. border and do away with other public health protections.
All truckers who cross the border from Canada into the U.S. must be vaccinated to avoid a 14-day quarantine under a new policy passed Jan. 15.
Up to 26,000 of the 160,000 drivers who make regular trips across the Canada-U.S. border would likely be sidelined as a result of the vaccine mandate in both countries, according to the Canadian Trucking Alliance and the American Trucking Associations.
Hundreds of trucks departed from Vancouver on Sunday (Jan. 23), on their way to Ottawa where drivers plan to stage a protest on Parliament Hill on Saturday (Jan. 29).
Hundreds lined Highway 1 in Aldergrove to show support. They waved flags and carried signs and banners with messages that included “thank you truckers,” “end vaccine tyranny,” “end all mandates,” and “honk for the convoy for freedom.”
Others with more extreme views have latched onto the protest. Ottawa police say they have been in touch with leaders of the convoy over weekend protest plans in the capital and are making preparations in the event the protest turns violent. Police estimate there could be as many as 2,000 demonstrators in Ottawa Saturday, and Deputy Chief Steve Bell said police are “tracing parallel groups” that are preparing to join the truckers, as well as counter-protesters, and are monitoring social media.
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