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Canada has been taken by an unprecedented wave of demonstrations. It has been so strong and widespread that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has gone into hiding. Literally. No one knows where he is. We only know that the location is secret and that he left his residence for fear of the protesters. Faced with this, one would think that it was a violent revolution that took to the streets of Canada’s major cities, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Mothers, working parents, grandmothers, and children. Thousands of people, from all walks of life, have joined what could be one of the largest protests Canada has ever seen. It began several days ago when hundreds of truckers drove to Ottawa to demonstrate against vaccination to drive across the United States.
The Trudeau government issued a vaccine mandate for truckers wishing to cross the border into the United States. Until a couple of weeks ago, truck drivers had an exception. But this is no longer the case. Many, if they want to continue working, will have to be vaccinated.
Now, they have gathered in Ottawa, under libertarian slogans, to demonstrate against Trudeau and his excessive health restrictions. The deafening and recurring honking of their horns has become a cry for freedom. The truckers were joined by farmers and workers in other sectors, who have also been affected by the Canadian government’s measures. MPs from the opposition Conservative Party have expressed their support for the protesters. It is now difficult to distinguish who is leading the protest. There are thousands, representing an important part of society.
Several personalities have made clear their support for the protests. Jordan Peterson, perhaps the world’s most famous Canadian psychologist, supported the demonstrations and has accused the Trudeau government of authoritarianism. Peterson insists that the truckers represent the desire for “freedom.” Likewise, the protesters received support from a very well-known personality: billionaire Elon Musk. On his Twitter account, Musk wrote: “Canadian truckers rule.” He then added: “Freedom is being stripped away one piece at a time until it is gone.”
One of the voices that have stood out amid the movement is that of Canadian conservative activist and commentator Ezra Levant. During a massive protest in Ottawa on January 29, Levant was asked by truckers to speak to the crowd. At the end of his speech, amid shouts and applause, he told everyone: “Keep up the fight! Keep fighting for freedom!” To understand a little better what’s happening in Canada and how important it is, El American interviewed Levant. Here is the exchange.
Why are truckers protesting in Canada?
There are many people in the coalition of protesters, and their own reasons vary. But the spark was the decision to end the vaccine exemption for cross-border truckers. Many truckers routinely cross the Canada-U.S. border. Now they can no longer do so without being vaccinated. Others at the protest are for the end of lockdowns and mandates generally.
What are all the restrictions and mandates in Canada?
Like in the U.S., where many decisions are made at the state level, in Canada many are made at the provincial level. However, this cross-border exemption is a federal matter, as is the ban on any air travel or train travel for anyone unvaccinated.
Are you vaccinated?
I don’t answer that question.
Is this an anti-vaccine movement?
Some people in it may be anti-vaccine. But most are simply against forced vaccination — e.g. on pain of losing their freedoms or their job.
Is only a minority protesting?
I don’t think in all of history has an actual “majority” of people protested anything. But this is by far the largest protest in Canada history, by several measures.
What is the goal of the movement?
Again, different people have different goals. I think the most important goal was showing that there are many Canadians who object to the lockdowns and mandates and that they’re not alone.
Why did Justin Trudeau go into hiding?
First, he claimed it was for public health reasons; then he claimed it was for security reasons. I don’t think either is credible.
Do you think this is a global movement?
It absolutely is.
Do you think democratic governments have been exposed as tyrannical?
Some have; many are operating outside their normal legislatures and constitutions. Many have exceeded their emergency powers. In the U.S., the Supreme Court has struck down various lockdown rules, so at least there is a check and balance to the power of the lockdownists.
Orlando Avendaño is the co-editor-in-chief of El American. He is a Venezuelan journalist and has studies in the History of Venezuela. He is the author of the book Days of submission // Orlando Avendaño es el co-editor en Jefe de El American. Es periodista venezolano y cuenta con estudios en Historia de Venezuela. Es autor del libro Días de sumisión.