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Alex Has Opinions: Freedom To Be Sick of This Nonsense

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The Truckers ‘Freedom Convoy’ remains protesting in Ottawa, ‘for as long as it takes’, apparently. Meanwhile, charges from the protest are piling up – women harassed on their own balconies, downtown Ottawa dwellers afraid, and urination and desecration of war memorials and the Terry Fox memorial. Not to mention I’ve been seeing an uncomfortable amount of American Confederate and Nazi Swastika flags – which is that there are any of either of those flags present makes me uncomfortable.

Claiming to be protesting the national mandate that truckers can only cross the US border if they are vaccinated, these drivers sit in Ottawa as charges pile up and the police – which seem far more hesitant to move on these unruly demonstrations than they are in other demonstrations such as indigenous people’s protests against pipelines and land claims – get increasingly uneasy under pressure to put their foot down about this.

Cheryl Gallant is eagerly supporting the protestors, quickly pointing out Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s instances of wearing blackface and other racist costumes while claiming Trudeau “calls those who disagree with him racists and misogynists.” Though as long as we’re bringing up personal history, we can talk about her own viral video that was suspiciously rife with antisemitic language and conspiracy theory to the point of generating public outcry.

Considering Canadian trucker associations are already complying with the vaccine mandate for crossing the border, and the relative ease of getting a vaccine, it’s starting to look less like a protest and more like a riot.

I worry about its effects on our region, and the negative impact it will have on Whitewater’s community. Cobden is along Canada’s great highway; we get truckers through there all the time and all sorts of commercial traffic. This kind of hostility and disruptive boycott will likely harm us, both economically and socially.

Cobden is, for the same reasons as above, highly susceptible to COVID-19. Cross-province or cross-country travel can easily transmit a virus known for its penchant for migrating, especially when you have a major convenience store and Tim Hortons chain already doing all they can to protect themselves from seeing an entire country’s breadth of visitors. When you get people who aggressively won’t wear masks and make trouble with those who do wear masks, you get a lot of higher risks of spread.

Cobden is pretty good about wearing masks, but there are always the fair share of ‘it’s Cobden, it won’t come here’ people, far less now that Omicron is flying about. With aggressive agenda-pushing protestors making their white-supremacy adjacent noises in the capital, it leads me to wonder if anti-vax sentiments will inflame travelers to extend such protest methods to the small towns on their trips. It’s all too easy for hate groups to hijack these things, regardless of the value of the original grievance.

We deserve better than this. For all the stress we’ve had to endure and all the effort we’ve put into being considerate and ensuring the safety of others, we deserve better than a hate flag.