Platform Compromised: Time to Move on!

platform compromised

Protesters in the Freedom Convoy have occupied downtown Ottawa for the fourth day now. Hopefully, some of us heard the intended message. Most Canadians are ready to reopen the country. As feared though, the ugliness of the bandwagon radicals compromised the peaceful and (somewhat) reasonable, original platform.

Doug Ford, the Premier of Ontario has issued the following statement:

The right to peaceful protest is core to our Canadian identity. I was extremely disturbed, however, to see some individuals desecrate our most sacred monuments and wave swastikas and other symbols of hate and intolerance this weekend. That has no place in Ontario or Canada. Not now. Not ever.

Doug Ford

Downtown Businesses and Residents

The problem is, those not so enamoured with the protest have had their freedom compromised too.

Like everyone else in Ontario, (other provinces have different schedules) Ottawa’s businesses were eagerly anticipating the reopening of their businesses yesterday, January 31. Small businesses have taken the brunt of pandemic restrictions, some forced to close altogether.

The large presence within the downtown core of protesters has forced businesses to delay their re-opening. Non-compliant protesters who refuse to wear masks on the premises are impacting hotels too.

platform compromised

photo credit

Residents in the area suffer the incoveniences. Obnoxiously loud horns, the smell of diesel fuel permeating the area, as well as reports of violence and vandalism have them frustrated and angry. The unmitigated stress of the situation helped compromise the platform.

Violence and Disrespect

There have been reports and signs that there has been some violence and disrespect during the protest. Unfortunately, it has been difficult to differentiate between truth and manufactured propaganda. Blatantly skewed media attention is to blame there.

For example, an ambulance pelted with rocks, and an attendant bombarded with racial slurs as he exited his vehicle to examine the damage is unacceptable.

Misinformation is Dangerous

Another report said that a patient within an ambulance died as a result of delayed response time due to protest-induced traffic congestion. Social media quickly disputed this as “not true” however.

Other reports say the protests have been peaceful and respectful, mostly by those in attendance though. Protesters themselves removed the (reportedly) single confederate flag and individual Nazi symbol. To listen to the media attention though those two disrespectful symbols outnumbered the Canadian flags by far.

Yet another rumour reports that Trudeau himself hired those committing the violence, abuse, disrespect, vandalism etc to discredit the movement. Another says that “the Russians” are fueling the protest. Really?

Our prime minister, (supposedly) isolating with a positive covid test, has refused to address the protesters or their message. Mixed messages and rumours are circulating about that as well. Some say he is in hiding to avoid the “fringe group” he claimed the protesters represented.

Quite the variation in interpretations and messages wouldn’t you say?

Unfortunately, bad reporting and misinformation on social media can be as destructive as physical threats, particularly for the platform in question.

Conclusions

The truckers started the national protest when Justin Trudeau suddenly removed the vaccine exemption for truckers. Most truckers have received their vaccinations. This mandate was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. Individual provinces govern most pandemic restrictions though. Organizers did not plan the protest well. That’s just my humble opinion. Instead, it was an emotional, knee jerk reaction of Covid-stressed, bored organizers and their followers.

The passionate message of Canadians tired and frustrated with pandemic restrictions took on a life of its own as the Freedom Convoy moved across Canada. From coast to coast in fact. In trucks and on foot. Spectators galore showed up to support the truckers along the way. Unfortunately, so did the hate-spewing, disrespectful small interest groups and radicals.

The bad apples have ruined the barrel. Did organizers encourage the bad apples? Or did someone plant them to spoil the effect? Who knows? The bottom line? A compromised platform, well-intended or not.

It is time to move on! My personal belief is that Canadians must use their democratic right to vote to voice their non-confidence in a government. Protests never accomplish much.

Put your voice on your ballot!

As soon as possible!

Freedom Convoy of Truckers

freedom convoy of truckers

The freedom convoy of truckers is making its way to downtown (the nation’s capital) Ottawa right now. Momentum is snowballing (pun intended as Ottawa has lots of snow) as it rolls along. The problem is it remains to be seen if this momentum will be a good thing or a nightmare.

Regardless, history is in the making, and people are flocking to see it happen. Mind you, we are not allowed to do much else these days, so the mounting excitement may be contagious to some, but I digress.

freedom convoy spectators

Original Intent of the Freedom Convoy

The convoy was a peaceful protest, initially. The Liberal government suddenly removed the exemption on vaccinations for truckers traveling between Canada and the USA. In the middle of the highest inflation rate in years to boot. And, very close to the scheduled date for lifting pandemic restrictions. Why now?

Most Canadians agree that truckers are essential to the maintenance of our economy. Unfortunately, the pandemic tanked our economy. That being said, it made sense that truckers were exempt from vaccinations; they rarely come into contact with other citizens.

What Happened to Those Good Intentions?

Well, that depends on who or what you believe.

Many believe that citizens of any democratic society have the right to decide if they wish to be vaccinated. And, that their jobs should not be jeopardized for refusing to get vaccinated. To them, we should be free to choose without facing discrimination or restrictions. In other words, democratic governments don’t order vaccines mandates.

Freedom or Responsibility?

Right off the bat, these views are considered selfish. They erode support from many believing vaccines are not about protecting your own rights but supporting the health of others. Less selfish, they get vaccinated to protect the elderly, immunocompromised etc. If you don’t want to get vaccinated or don’t believe in them, stay home. In short, get vaccinated or suffer the consequences.

Health care workers were mandated to receive their vaccinations or face losing their jobs in several provinces. So why should truckers receive exemptions? I’m sure the exhausted nurses and doctors would love to protest their mandates. The problem is that they don’t have the time or energy to do so. Actually, some did, but not to this extent. They certainly didn’t have much support from the general public.

freedom convoy

Covid Fatigue

Then you have the group of citizens sick of the restrictions imposed by our government. Who isn’t tired of this pandemic and its rules you ask? Well, everyone pretty much is sick of them, but some are more willing than others to risk the perceived consequences.

freedom convoy

The willingness to conform to government mandates or lack thereof is what is dividing the country.

Media Attention on the Freedom Convoy

Organizers of the Freedom Convoy believe that the media is not sharing all the facts. This belief is in fact now inflammatory. The movement is being promoted within the media as an anti-vax, anarchist, potentially hazardous movement. A Go Fund Me account in their support is apparently inappropriate.

Disputing the Media

This quote, disputing this representation, is from a Toronto trucker:

The trucking convoy is NOT anti vaccination. It is anti government mandates. Many of us are vaccinated. Truckers will NOT block emergency vehicles at any point, ever, and will even assist any person in need at any point in the convoy or protest. Safety plans are in place. Drivers have been briefed and signed documents at their respective checkpoints. – The money raised (now over $4,000,000) will be distributed following a a strict procedure. Drivers must register, check in with their respective road captains and submit receipts in order to be reimbursed. All remaining funds will be donated to a Veterans Association in Canada. There is a lawyer and accountant overseeing this. – This could be the single largest protest in Canadian history. People who oppose government mandates are not the tiny group that the media has tried to make us believe.

Government Reactions

Trudeau claims only a small “fringe” minority of Canadians are involved in the freedom convoy and the movement it represents. Thousands of people contradict this claim though. The routes of the truckers are lined with cheering supporters. Not to mention the millions of dollars raised so far.

Government officials stand firm on the stance that truckers must now be vaccinated. It will be interesting to see if any of them meet with the protesters. Meanwhile, our MIA prime minister is the butt of many jokes. Apparently, he is (coincidentally) isolated at his Quebec cottage after a covid exposure. Isolating or hiding?

The Downside of Large Protests

All roads into and around Ottawa will no doubt be bottlenecked for several days. Hopefully, emergency vehicles will be able to maneuver through the chaos as needed.

In addition, large protests attract media and attention-seeking groups. Anti-vaxxers, anarchists, radicals, and the like are now on the bandwagon.

Remember the chaos at the Capital in the USA recently? It should be worrisome that violence may erupt at this demonstration.

Violence will swallow up any peaceful, honorable intentions. As a result, an “I told you so” will reverberate across the country.

This opinion belongs to Elon Musk:

What is your take?