Citizen Action Monitor

Angry truckers protesting Ottawa’s vaccine mandate told to “grow up and get vaccinated”

Radical Western separatist elements raise millions with GoFundMe campaign for anti-vaccine truckers. —

No 2813 by fw, January 24, 2022 —

David Climenhaga

“An online fund-raising campaign organized by a person associated with the Maverick Party and other western separatist causes now indicates it has raised close to $2 million in the week to bankroll highway disruptions by truckers angry at Ottawa for imposing a vaccine mandate on cross-border essential workers. The “Freedom Convoy 2022” campaign’s GoFundMe page showed donations of $1,911,540* at 9:50 p.m. Saturday. The fundraising goal was increased at about the same time to $3 million. [* $3,361,080 raised of $4,000,000 goal as of noon Jan 24] …. In a statement Saturday, the Canadian Trucking Alliance said it “does not support and strongly disapproves of any protests on public roadways, highways, and bridges. CTA believes such actions — especially those that interfere with public safety — are not how disagreements with government policies should be expressed.” CTA president Stephen Laskowski condemned road blockades and essentially advised anti-vaccine truckers to grow up and get vaccinated. The governments of Canada and the United States, he said, “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. The only way to cross the border, in a commercial truck or any other vehicle, is to get vaccinated,” he concluded.”David Climenhaga, The Tyee

The Tyee is an independent online Canadian news magazine that primarily covers British Columbia. It was founded in November 2003 by its editor-in-chief, David Beers, an award-winning writer, and former features editor at The Vancouver Sun. Tyee articles focus on politics, culture, and life.

Below is my repost of David Climenhaga’s penetrating analysis of a dangerous and disruptive truckers’ protest on Canadian highways targetting Ottawa’s vaccine mandate. My repost includes subheadings, text highlighting, added hyperlinks and images.

In his concluding paragraphs, reporter Climenhaga raises some key points, including:

  • the role of organizer Tamara Lich of the radical Maverick Party;
  • the use of GoFundMe for political campaigns;
  • the fact that Ottawa’s federal Conservative Party has previously been linked to truck protest organizers;
  • that Alberta’s provincial Conservative party used its 2020 law to crack down on highway blockades but has so far been silent on the truckers’ protest.
  • Lastly, Ottawa’s vax policy is in step with Washington’s which also requires Canadian truckers to be fully vaccinated.

Hands up those who agree with CTA President Stephen Laskowski’s condemnation of road blockades, essentially advising anti-vaccine truckers to “grow up and get vaccinated.”

With a minority of rightwing Canadian truckers driving a stake through the heart of our democracy, is it any surprise that Donald Trump Jr. is applauding Canada’s “awesome truck drivers standing up for medical freedom?” “Medical freedom?” Since when has risking the health and safety of others by refusing to get vaccinated become an act of “medical freedom?”

Moral philosopher Travis N. Rieder puts the moral case for getting vaccinated this way:

“Most people likely believe that others have wide latitude in determining how they care for their own health, so it can be permissible to engage in risky activities even when it’s not in one’s interest. Whether one should get vaccinated, however, is a moral issue because it affects others, and in a couple of ways. First, effective vaccines are expected to decrease not only rates of infection but also rates of virus transmission. This means that getting the vaccine can protect others from you and contribute to the population reaching herd immunity. Second, high disease prevalence allows for more genetic mutation of a virus, which is how new variants arise. If enough people aren’t vaccinated quickly, new variants may develop that are more infectious, are more dangerous or evade current vaccines. The straightforward ethical argument, then, says: Getting vaccinated isn’t just about you.”

That said, it’s unlikely that the angry truckers brushed up on the moral arguments entangled in their decision to embark on their Freedom Convoy 2022.

Returning to David Climenhaga’s article, click on the following linked title to read his original piece.

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Who’s Fuelling the Truckers Protesting Vaccine Mandates? By David Climenhaga, The Tyee, January 24, 2022

The convoy that left BC Sunday raised $2 million. A key organizer is said to be a big figure in the Alberta separatist scene.

Truckers angry at Ottawa for imposing a vaccine mandate

An online fund-raising campaign organized by a person associated with the Maverick Party and other western separatist causes now indicates it has raised close to $2 million in the week to bankroll highway disruptions by truckers angry at Ottawa for imposing a vaccine mandate on cross-border essential workers.

The convoy departed B.C. for Ottawa on Sunday.

“Freedom Convoy” GoFundMe campaign on way to raising $4,000,000

The “Freedom Convoy 2022” campaign’s GoFundMe page showed donations of $1,911,540* at 9:50 p.m. Saturday. The fundraising goal was increased at about the same time to $3 million. [* as of noon Jan. 24, $3,361,080 of the $4,000,000 goal had been raised]

GoFundMe page reveals hostility towards Ottawa’s COVID-19 vaccination policies

When the campaign was reported Friday by TruckNews.com — an online publication associated with a printed trade publication called Today’s Trucking — the campaign was closing in on $1 million. Information on the campaign’s GoFundMe page makes it clear it is motivated by hostility to policies of the Trudeau government, particularly measures to control the spread of COVID-19. “Our current government is implementing rules and mandates that are destroying the foundation of our businesses, industries and livelihoods,” it alleges.

Some GoFundMe donations range up to $10,000, many donors chose to remain “anonymous”

While most of the donations listed on the page are relatively small, some as high as $10,000 are included on the list published by GoFundMe. The site identified Raymar Concrete Forming as one $10,000 donor. Many donations are anonymous.

Reporter for TruckNews expressed concerns about blocking critical highways with big-rig transports

Despite agreeing with some trucking industry complaints about the vaccine mandate, TruckNews.com’s reporter, James Menzies, expressed reservations about the strategy of blocking critical infrastructure with slow-rolling transport trucks.

Such protests rarely deliver results, aside from angering the motoring public and casting shade on our industry,” he wrote, describing such large amounts of money “being thrown at recent attempts to bring commerce to a halt” as disturbing.

If these protests do materialize (many fizzle out when it’s actually time to roll), we have concerns about the effect they will have on how the public perceives our industry, the safety risks posed to the motoring public,” he wrote.

Canadian Trucking Alliance condemned blockade, urged truckers “to grow up and get vaccinated

In a statement Saturday, the Canadian Trucking Alliance said it “does not support and strongly disapproves of any protests on public roadways, highways, and bridges. CTA believes such actions — especially those that interfere with public safety — are not how disagreements with government policies should be expressed.”

CTA president Stephen Laskowski condemned road blockades and essentially advised anti-vaccine truckers to grow up and get vaccinated. The governments of Canada and the United States, he said, “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. The only way to cross the border, in a commercial truck or any other vehicle, is to get vaccinated,” he concluded.

CTA’s Laskowski points finger at organizer Tamara Lich of the radical Maverick Party

It was Menzies who connected the dots between the fundraiser and the political interests of organizer Tamara Lich, who has what he described as “a history of association with radical groups, including the recently formed federal separatist Maverick Party in Alberta.

In her past, Lich was regional coordinator for Wexit in Southeastern Alberta, and was member of the board for Wexit Alberta,” TruckNews.com reported. It said she later joined the board of Wexit Canada, which has been rebranded the Maverick Party.

He reported that Lich, whom he said has no direct connection to the trucking industry, also had past links to the so-called Yellow Vest movement, which has many documented connections to extremist groups.

Ottawa’s vax policy is in step with Washington’s which also requires Canadian truckers to be fully vaccinated

Of course, when it comes to cross-border transportation, no prime minister regardless of party would be likely to pursue a policy different from than that of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals — no matter what Conservatives might say in opposition. The United States government requires cross-border truckers from Canada to be fully vaccinated.

Truckers’ campaign raises questions about use of GoFundMe for political campaigns

Beyond that, the campaign raises important questions about the potential use of the GoFundMe site to get around election financial reporting laws for what are clearly intended to be political campaigns attacking one party. This is a question that goes well beyond this particular issue and organization — especially given the Conservative Party of Canada’s past connection to these kinds of trucker blockades.

Moreover, federal Conservative Party has previously been linked to truck protest organizers

Ever since a grinning former Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer turned up at a large truck rally that snarled traffic around Edmonton International Airport on Dec. 19, 2019, and then made sure his face was plastered all over social media aboard some of the rigs, the Conservatives have been linked to truck protest organizers in the minds of Canadians. Whether the federal Conservative Party still supports such efforts to bring commerce to a halt by disrupting highway traffic might be an interesting question to ask its current leader, Erin O’Toole.

And will Alberta’s provincial Conservative party use its 2020 law to crack down on highway blockades

Meanwhile, the question of whether the United Conservative Party government in Alberta will use its Critical Infrastructure Defence Act to crack down on blockades of highways remains unanswered. The law was passed in 2020 as a reaction to blockades by supporters of First Nations that were opposed to construction of a pipeline to the West Coast.

If the Alberta government won’t act, the conclusion [that] the legislation was passed solely to attack opponents of Premier Jason Kenney’s pet projects will be hard to discount.

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