“I just want my children to have the same freedoms I did growing up,” Chris Anderson says about his involvement in the trucker convoy in Ottawa.
The messaging behind why the convoy is happening has been mixed, but the 13-year trucker of Minden says there’s no question why he wanted to be involved. He says he’s frustrated with the mandates that have been forced on truckers, causing them to lose income. “I’ve wanted to be involved in something for the last year and a half,” Anderon says. “I don’t necessarily agree with the lockdown mandates and whatnot and our freedoms have definitely been limited.”
“The leaders of the convoy are going for all mandates to be abolished completely,” Anderson says. Others he’s talked to say they just want Prime Minister Justin Trudeau out, want to get rid of mask mandates or want to be able to open their businesses again.
He believes his children, 12 and four years old, won’t have the same freedoms that he did if this continues. Anderson explains that they’ve lost out on so much over the past two years.
“You can only push people so far,” he says about why the convoy is happening. “The truckers have had enough.”
There have been videos and pictures posted on social media of people alleged to be involved with the protest disrespecting the statue of Terry Fox, parking at and standing on the Tomb of the Unknown soldier, and intimidating journalists and residents. Anderson believes that doesn’t represent the convoy as a whole.
“When you get this many people together obviously there’s going to be a couple of bad apples in the bunch but to hold the whole group accountable for the actions of a few, you just can’t do that,” he says.
In a statement, the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation Chief Wendy Jocko has joined the Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation Tribal Council and Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg in condemning the setup of a teepee, the pipe ceremony, and sacred fire in Confederation Park in support of the Freedom Convoy. The statement reads the First Nations did not give consent to these practices and say that permission from them is needed for these ceremonies.
The First Nations says if these actions continue on traditional unceded territory, they will have no choice but to support Ottawa Police in stopping them. Jocko says the First Nation does not support the Freedom Convoy or any movement that compromises the safety of its members.
The Algonquins of Pikwakanagan, the Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation Tribal Council, and Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg jointly released a statement saying they “do not support what is happening on our traditional unceded territory” going on to call what is happening “unacceptable.”
In a press release issued Wednesday the organizers of the Freedom Convoy say they are staying in Ottawa “for as long as it takes” for governments across Canada to end all COVID-19 mandates.
Convoy leaders also expressed regret that citizens of Canada’s capital are bearing this inconvenience, “Our message to the citizens of Ottawa is one of empathy. We understand your frustration and genuinely wish there was another way for us to get our message across, but the responsibility for your inconvenience lies squarely on the shoulders of politicians who have prefer to vilify and call us names rather than engage in respectful, serious dialogue,” said Chris Barber, Sr. Convoy Leader. “The fastest way to get us out of the nation’s capital is to call your elected representatives and end all C-19 mandates, as the UK did two weeks ago and as both Sweden and Switzerland did today.”
Meanwhile, the Ottawa Police Service says there are only about 250 protesters left in the city but Acting Deputy Chief Trish Ferguson called them “a highly-determined and highly-dedicated group of unlawful individuals.”
Ottawa Police say they anticipate the Freedom Convoy will grow again this weekend. So far, there have been three arrests and further charges are coming.
Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly says there may not be a policing solution to bring the protest to an end.
Sloly re-emphasized the fact that so far there have been no deaths, no serious injuries, and no riots. He credited ongoing police enforcement for that.