Staff Reporter

Publishing date: Feb 08, 2022  •  12 minutes ago   •   42 Comments

Truckers occupation and protesting continues it's 11th day in Ottawa Monday.  Truckers at the RCGT Park Monday morning after Ottawa Police confiscated fuel Sunday night.
Truckers occupation and protesting continues it’s 11th day in Ottawa Monday. Truckers at the RCGT Park Monday morning after Ottawa Police confiscated fuel Sunday night. PHOTO BY TONY CALDWELL /POSTMEDIA

The “Freedom Convoy” that converged in Ottawa on Jan. 28 began in response to the federal government’s move to require that Canadian truck drivers crossing the U.S. border be fully vaccinated, but has evolved into a protest of all public health measures aimed at fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Organizers say they will not end their protest until all measures are dropped.

What you need to know:

  • The protest entered its 12th day in the capital Tuesday, a day after a judge granted an injunction against honking in downtown Ottawa
  • NDP Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath called on Premier Doug Ford to explore the idea of revoking commercial vehicle certificates for convoy truckers
  • Ottawa police Chief Peter Sloly has asked for more policing resources from all three levels of government
  • Anti-vaccine mandate protesters shut down the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor and Detroit, which remained “temporarily closed” Tuesday morning
  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau blasted the blockade in a speech in the House of Commons Monday night
  • Ottawa Transit Riders speaks out about impact on local residents as closures, including the Rideau Centre, continue

2:35 p.m.

The federal government has so far deployed 275 RCMP agents to respond to the convoy demonstration, and according to Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino officials are now reviewing the city’s request for additional reinforcements.

Mendicino and Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair held a virtual press conference Tuesday afternoon where they again urged a “safe and fast” resolution to the occupation in Ottawa, along with related blockades in Windsor and in Coutts, Alta.

Those demonstrations are “linked by a common thread,” Mendicino said. “This is no longer about truckers or vaccines, it’s about a very small angry minority who decided they can stay in the way of their fellow citizens, whether it’s occupying a community or blocking an international border. That is not how we do things in Canada.”

Mendicino and Blair held the first of several emergency meetings planned with the province’s Solicitor General Sylvia Jones and with Mayor Jim Watson and related officials on Tuesday night.

Mendicino and Blair said those meetings would continue, though neither would commit to the request from Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly for 1,800 additional officers from provincial and federal agencies to support the OPS enforcement.

Both ministers said they are evaluating the details of that request and are “determining how best to respond.”

Another trilateral meeting has been proposed for later Tuesday, Blair said.

“We need to see a fast and peaceful restitution o the convoy and we will continue to keep open lines of communication (with city and provincial counterparts) to get that done,” Mendicino said.

“What began as an interruption is now an occupation, (with) flagrant expressions of hate and harassment and even violence towards the residents of Ottawa, who have already got through too much in the past 13 days.”

Meanwhile, the “Freedom Convoy 2022” campaign total on GiveSendGo neared $6.5 million US Tuesday afternoon.

The Boston-based platform is billed as the “#1 free Christian crowdfunding site.”

On Friday, GoFundMe announced the convoy would be cut off from $10 million raised to support the truckers because the money was going towards “the promotion of violence and harassment” in contravention of its terms of service.

1 p.m.

A Liberal member of Parliament is calling out his own government for what he says is its divisive management of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian Press reports.

Joel Lightbound told reporters in Ottawa Tuesday that federal COVID-19 measures, such as vaccination mandates for travellers and civil servants, need to be re-evaluated and the public needs a clear road map for when restrictions will be fully lifted.

Lightbound, who represents the Louis-Hebert riding in Quebec City, says he worries the Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has a tone and policies that are divisive and risk undermining public trust.

12:50 p.m.

A union representing truckers joined voices condemning the protests.

Teamsters Canada president François Laporte said the “so-called ‘freedom convoy’ and the despicable display of hate” was linked to right-wing elements and “shamefully encouraged by elected conservative politicians.”

It serves to “delegitimize the real concerns of most truck drivers today,” he said in a statement issued Monday titled, The Real Enemy for Truckers is Covid-19.

Teamsters Canada represents more than 55,000 professional drivers, about 15,000 of them long-haul truckers, 90 per cent of whom are vaccinated, Laporte said.

“We firmly believe in the right to protest government policies and voice a wide array of opinions,” he said, “but what is happening in Ottawa has done more harm to Teamsters members, be they truck drivers who were trying to deliver their loads, or hotel, restaurant and healthcare workers who were intimidated, abused or prevented from accessing their workplaces.”

Teamsters Canada wants to work with government and employers on real challenges in the trucking industry to bolster the supply chain and Canadian economy, he said.

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