by Roxanne Tellier
“The “Freedom Convoy” that converged in Ottawa on Jan. 28 began in response to the federal government’s move to require Canadian truck drivers crossing the U.S. border be fully vaccinated to avoid testing and quarantine requirements, 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.”Ottawa Citizen, Feb 13, 2022
A Canadian February is generally pretty ‘meh.’ Kids are starting to look forward to Easter holidays. Singles consider chancing a bit of skating or skiing in hopes of some ‘apres ski’ fun. Writers write articles about seasonal affective disorder, and string out a definition of the Danish word ‘hygge’ for 1500 words.
“When the government shuts you down, you get a warning and some financial assistance. They do express a degree of discomfort and regret. When Freedom Convoy shuts you down there is no notice, no financial assistance and you are supposed to shut the f up and support not working for the people who couldn’t work, which is you in the first place.” Georgia Herring, owner, Old School Mechanic Shop
It was around this time, two years ago, that the world turned upside down. My daughter had celebrated her Valentine’s Day birthday, and I was picking out some presents for my husband’s March birthday, which included a couple of live shows we’d never get to attend.
When the first lockdown went into place, it didn’t have a lot of effect on my life. I’m retired. I don’t get out of the house as much as I’d like, though I did used to really enjoy my long lunches with friends.
About a month into that first lockdown, after we’d heard that an old friend had contracted COVID 19 and died, I asked Shawn if he’d have done anything differently, before the pandemic, had he known what was coming. He didn’t think so.
See, most of us believe that whatever is going on now, in our lives, will go on always. We have our comfort zones, our friends and family, our routines, and, unless something drastic happens, we just keep on keeping on. We think that if things are going well for us, things will always be in our favour.
“Abusing the freedom to protest government overreach to the point of ensuring more government overreach.” Russ Boswell
The last two years taught us that everything we find familiar can all change in an instant.
And very few of us are happy with the changes that have come.
“Not going to lie folks. I would have taken 2 months more of the mandates if required for
our healthcare system, rather than over two weeks of this “occupation”.Kayla Burgess, Stop the Ottawa Occupation 2022
There are some very bad people involved in what was billed as a “Freedom Convoy.” Very bad people indeed.
“Don’t think that the triad of Bulford, Quiggen and Marazzo won’t win this. They have the intelligence, the ruthlessness and probably endless funding and weapons. “
The group Police on Guard, formed during the pandemic, has endorsed the truck convoy. On its website, it publicly identifies more than 150 mostly retired police officers who are against government-imposed public health measures, such as vaccine mandates. More than 50 former Canadian Forces soldiers are also named on its site.
The organization says it has “boots on the ground” in Ottawa and has linked to YouTube videos of its members participating in the protest.
Furthermore, the leadership team for the protesters calling themselves the Freedom Convoy includes:
Daniel Bulford, a former RCMP officer who was on the prime minister’s security detail. He quit last year after refusing to get the vaccine and is the convoy’s head of security.
Tom Quiggin, a former military intelligence officer who also worked with the RCMP and was considered one of the country’s top counter-terrorism experts.
Tom Marazzo, an ex-military officer who, according to his LinkedIn profile, served in the Canadian Forces for 25 years and now works as a freelance software developer.“ (CBC.ca, Feb 9, 2022)https://mrsbrittanybested.com/22/02/03/rotten-to-the-core/
“This movement didn’t start on January 15th, 2022 when the Canadian Government imposed mandates on cross-border transportation drivers. It didn’t start on December 15th, 2021 when the Canadian Government announced these mandates. It started in February 2019, when James Bauder created the “Canada Unity” Facebook page. It had absolutely nothing to do with “mandates.” It had everything to do with trying to dissolve the Canadian Government. “
- February 19, 2019 – James Bauder created the “Canada Unity” Facebook page
- February 27, 2021 – Bauder made a Facebook status that said, “I’m creating a Canadian Federal Grass Roots Political Party.”
- March 13, 2021 – Bauder created the Canada Unity website
- August 23, 2021 – Bauder posted on his personal Facebook page that he would start a “Federal Unity Party” that would break from the monarchy, and make Canada a free and independent nation. He hoped to collect 350 signatures (out of a required 1000) to form a party. His goal was for a Spring 2022 start.
- August 20, 2021 – Bauder posted on his personal Facebook page that he would start a “Convoy for Freedom”
- October 1, 2021 – Bauder, his wife Sandra, and fellow Canada Unity member, Martin Broadmann, penned the “Memorandum of Understanding.” (M.O.U.) This is a document that called for the removal of the current government unless mandates regarding COVID protocols were removed. The M.O.U. states that if the current government does not meet their requests, they must be replaced, and that Canada Unity will have a say in who is elected. The M.O.U. is the grounds for their protest.
- December 16, 2021 – Pat King, who is a founder of the movement, made a statement in a live stream that, “The only way this is going to be solved is with bullets.”
- January 14, 2022 – Tamara Lich set up the “GoFundMe” account for the Freedom Convoy
- January 15, 2022 – Lich invites B.J. Dietcher to ‘come on board.’
- January 18, 2022 – Bauder goes on a live stream with Pat King to promote the Canada Unity website and to announce it as the official page for “Bearhug,” or “Freedom Convoy”
But, although a state of emergency has been called, the police must tread carefully. The protestors are desperately hoping to shift this crisis into a second phase, in which they can claim police brutality, a government overreach, a police state. To give their leaders these images, increasing disinformation and whipping up sympathy, would be irresponsible. The world is watching.
Dealing with a well-organized group with a plan to overthrow democracy takes time and strategy, not brute force. But Canada doesn’t have much time, now that the Ambassador Bridge siege in Windsor brought American attention to what the protestors are doing to the Canadian/American vehicle trade and economy.
The problem lies in how many of their most vocal supporters and followers are pawns, enticed into joining the ‘party’ by the idea that COVID, the hated mandates, nasty vaccines, and ugly masks would simply disappear, if we all just wanted it enough. To that end, the group has been given free food, hugs and money, parties with live music, hot tubs, saunas, even bouncy castles!
Bouncy castles? Why yes, for the enjoyment of the kids that have been brought into the occupation, to be used, sadly, as human shields. The cops can’t use tear gas or tear down shelters for fear of hurting the kids that might be inside. The presence of the children, who are often seen frolicking with their pets, is meant to soften the image of the occupiers. While some worry about child endangerment, especially as weeks drag on without comfy beds and baths for the little ones, other get a warm and fuzzy feeling at the image of these little displaced families.
In Windsor on Saturday, veterans formed a line between the police and the truckers at the Bridge. But on closer inspection, the uniforms, badges, and medals didn’t appear to be of Canadian military.
Still, imagine the headlines and the social media frenzy if the police had employed violent tactics, like the use of tear gas, against the veterans and children.
The last few days have seen a seesawing of public opinion, with harsh divides between friends and families as mini civil wars began over which side was really on the side of right.
Two years of real and perceived deprivations, combined with long-held grievances against local, provincial and federal inaction over matters held dear, have provoked many into a frenzied response against their country.
It must be remembered, however, that the same people who claim that they are not free, have driven across the country unimpeded, camped illegally in their nation’s capital, and are still free this morning to set up mass breakfasts and entertainment, despite their insurrection and the unlawful occupation of these locales.
I love my country, but I fear for this country. A vocal minority has bullied a democracy, demanding the overthrow of their elected government, in order to replace it with themselves.
They are little fascist dictators in training, eager to burn down all that they could never begin to understand. Putin would be so proud of them.