A crowd of Canadian truckers are driving across the country to protest against mandatory Covid vaccinations that were introduced on January 15. Hundreds of truckers set off from Delta in British Columbia on Sunday January 23, expecting to take a week to reach Canada’s seat of Federal Government in Ottowa. Crowdfunding can empower communities to resist centralized decisions they disagree with, and make an anti-government protest. The fundraising campaign to support what has been named the “Freedom Convoy” has reached over C$4.25 million from almost 30,000 backers (as at 1/25/22). The funds will pay for fuel, food, and lodgings if needed. Any surplus will be donated to armed forces Veterans organisations.
On the way, this first convoy will meet up in Calgary, mid-Canada, with a second one that left from Prince George, British Columbia, on Sunday.
According to the Canadian Trucking Alliance and the American Trucking Associations, 160,000 drivers make regular trips across the Canada-U.S. border. An estimated 26,000 remain unvaccinated and will face a two-week quarantine and pre-arrival molecular test for Covid-19 before crossing back into Canada.
The trade associations on both sides of the border said the requirements would cause severe driver shortages, whether drivers are put in quarantine or choose to stay at home, adding to strains on supply chains. However, the CTA, which represents Canada’s road carriers, owner-operators and industry suppliers, is supporting the government mandate.
Going beyond debates about the long-term implications of the vaccines, the crowdfunding appeal raises broader issues of enforced curtailment of personal freedom of choice, which Canadians have always prized so highly.
Whilst Canadian armed forces have historically “helped protect nations across the globe from tyrannical governments who oppressed their people,” the crowdfunding page on GoFundMe claims the Canadian government is doing the same at home, “implementing rules and mandates that are destroying the foundation of our businesses, industries and livelihoods.” In response, some businesses are donating five-figure sums. Support has come from all across the country, including French-speaking Canadians in Quebec.
Crowdfunding also empowers individuals to make a difference. This project was launched by Tamara Lich, who is on the Board of Directors of the Maverick Party. This political party seeks a greater autonomy for western Canadians based on grassroots, bottom-up democracy. Hence they are making this anti-government protest against enforced vaccinations decreed by the Federal Government based in the east of the country.