EdBoard: Convoy in review

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Thousands of truck drivers and their respective allies have staked out along the U.S.-Canada border. Miles of trucks have been parked in even, impenetrable lines through the heart of Ottawa. The central tenet of the movement: vaccine mandates steal our freedom.

On the content front: stay in your lane, Canada. Americans have COVID-denial down pat. Who needs a vaccine when we have Ivermectin? While the cause has us choking back bile, the self-described “Freedom Convoy” does have tact.

Organizers are strategically positioned in hotel rooms overlooking the scene. They are using peaceful protest to defend their idea of freedom. Not a single bull-horned man has draped himself across a Parliamentary chair. Not a single noose in sight. Sure, there was the occasional murder threat, but what peaceful protest is entirely devoid of radicals? The movement may be misguided, but the strategy? The Tartan staff is taking notes.

Arrests made to diffuse the motor blockade are charging protestors with obstruction and, much more importantly, mischief. Stay naughty, Canada! Protesting national health is insane, sure. But with an insurrection barely a year behind us, who are Americans to call out Canada?

One of our writers did not hesitate to unleash a spat of anti-Canada rhetoric. “It’s an evil country with an evil soul,” was one of his choice descriptors. The country, responsible for myriad violations against Indigenous communities, is led by a prime minister who has donned blackface too many times to count. But as mentioned before, as Americans our ability to judge is in the basement’s basement. Trudeau had to apologize for his racist past, but Trump — no. We’re not getting into it. Fill in the sentence in any way that feels right to you, or skip right over it and prioritize your mental health. We support you, besties.

One thing the Freedom Convoy has excelled at is spreading their message, but maybe a little too loudly. Their anti-mandate rhetoric is easy to grasp: mask and vaccine mandates bad, freedom good. What may not be as easy to grasp is why they have spent countless hours honking their horns. They just want to be seen and make sure you don't go to sleep until the all restrictions have been lifted.

The Freedom Convoy was effective at spreading its message through its travels. But another group, led by truckers in British Columbia, was part of a convoy protesting icy and dangerous road conditions. This rally, organized by the West Coast Trucking Association (WCTA), started in Surrey, BC, and made its way to Vancouver on Jan. 22. Unfortunately for them, their departure coincided with the Freedom Convoy.

WCTA’s message was almost completely ignored since it wasn’t nearly as controversial as the Freedom Convoy’s. Who cares about the dangerous driving conditions when there are thousands of Canadians acting like they live in America? A shortage of truck drivers is currently one of the main problems within the North American supply chain. Unsafe road conditions are just another reason for truckers to leave the profession.

The methods used by WCTA were much tamer in comparison to their Freedom Convoy counterpart. Those in the WCTA convoy were asked to respect the road rules, stay clear of intersections, and obey right of ways. Honking was out of the question. The group still participated in its convoy, as shown by a video posted by WCTA. Almost a week after the convoy, WCTA also assembled representatives from the Ministry of Transportation of British Columbia, and the British Columbia Road Builder and Heavy Construction Association to discuss dangerous roads. This is a clear example of success from a well-organized protest.

No matter how crude the Freedom Convoy was in its fight to get COVID-related mandates removed, other groups are taking notes. Over the next few weeks, the self-described "nonpartisan" People's Convoy will be launching their pilgrimage across the nation from sunny California to the swamp of Washington, D.C. The People's Convoy does get points for intersectionality. They describe their movement as an “effort supported by a cross-cultural and multi-faith consortium.” The convoy may not follow through on this mission, but their idealistic framework is keeping us hopeful.