Wealthy Right-Wing Donors Make Ugly Americans of Canadian Truckers

It appears wealthy right-wing donors behind the anti-mask, anti-vaccine, anti-democracy, anti-intellectual, “COVID hoax” wing of the republican party have widened their franchise.

Touting a so-called “freedom convoy,” Canadian truck drivers protesting a vaccine mandate have fanned out beyond their country’s capitol, Ottawa, this week and clogged up the Ambassador Bridge linking Windsor with Detroit, Mich. and two additional entry points.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer commented:

“The Ambassador Bridge is the busiest land border crossing in North America, used by tens of thousands of commuters and truck drivers carrying hundreds of millions of dollars of goods every day. Countless Michiganders rely on this daily flow of goods and people to get things done.”

Canada seemed like a our sane cousin to the north, but it seems to also to be falling victim to similar QAnon and other conspiracy theory adherents.

One of them, the group “Canada Unity,” call the COVID-19 pandemic “the biggest political scam in history,” and claim vaccine mandates and passports are illegal under Canada’s constitution and the Nuremberg Code.

Another group, Action4Canada, filed a 400-page court filing alleging a “New World [Economic] Order” is being imposed to inject the population with 5G-enabled microchips.

Both are participating in the “freedom convoy,” for which some display neo-Nazi and Confederate flags, and QAnon logos.

For all their talk of “freedom,” truckers are interrupting an already precarious supply chain, slowing food deliveries, and forcing GM, Ford, and Chrysler automakers to reduce production.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau blasted Conservative lawmakers:

“People in Windsor are suffering and losing their jobs because they can’t get auto parts across the Ambassador Bridge. People in Alberta are seeing shelves empty because they can’t get deliveries across the Coutts border crossing. And this Conservative Party, that supports these blockades, won’t even stand up and say, ‘Enough is enough. It’s time to go home.’”

An individual with an LGBTQ pride flag in his window reports waking up to beer being hurled at the flag and someone climbing up the fire escape to defecate.

Local soup kitchen staff claims some protesters demanded food.

At least one unhoused individual was assaulted, and an intervening security guard faced racial slurs.

Protesters even desecrated a statue of revered athlete Terry Fox and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the National War Memorial in addition to threatening Rideau Centre shopping mall employees for simply requesting them to wear masks.

The mall closed early Saturday Jan. 29 and stayed closed the next day, and Ontario liquor stores shut their doors for that weekend.

Ottawa police, who say the protesters are costing $800,000 a day, warned residents to avoid the downtown area.

After three weeks of relentless defiance, Ontario province declared a state of emergency.

The worst, though, is the report convoy participants are enlisting their children as human shields.

Not to be outdone, American conspiracy theory truckers are reportedly inspired now to take their own “freedom convoy” to several major metropolitan cities this Sunday, including Los Angeles just in time for the Super Bowl, and Washington, D.C. in time for President Biden’s March 1 State of the Union address, a threat that has the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) warning law enforcement and public safety officials.

A DHS alert from earlier this week explained:

“At this time, we have no indication that individuals discussing participating in these activities in the United States are engaged in anything other than First Amendment–protected activity. Nonetheless, DHS remains concerned that these events could have significant public safety implications or potentially be exploited by ideologically motivated actors to potentially act or encourage others to act violently.”

It adds:

“While there are currently no indications of planned violence, if hundreds of trucks converge in a major metropolitan city, the potential exists to severely disrupt transportation, federal government operations commercial facilities and emergency services through gridlock and potential counter protests.

“According to law enforcement sources, the group intends to start in California and travel to Washington, D.C., reportedly gathering truckers as they travel across the country; It has also been suggested that truckers from Canada may join the Washington, D.C. event.” 

Leaders of the California-based anti-vaccine group “Freedom Angels Foundation” called on followers via messaging app “Telegram” to create national and local convoys. Those who can’t participate, it adds, are urged to donate supplies.

Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase “the ugly American.”

Well, this is as ugly as it gets.

Image credit: Tasnimnews

Ted Millar is writer and teacher. His work has been featured in myriad literary journals, including Better Than Starbucks, The Broke Bohemian, Straight Forward Poetry, Caesura, Circle Show, Cactus Heart, Third Wednesday, and The Voices Project. He is also a contributor to The Left Place blog on Substack, and Medium.