Truckers’ convoys as opposed to COVID-19 vaccine mandates are well received in Winnipeg

Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press

Published Tuesday, January 25, 2022 11:50 PM EST

WINNIPEG – A large convoy of truck drivers and supporters on their way to Ottawa to protest COVID-19 vaccine mandates was met on Tuesday by a crowd of supporters on the outskirts of Winnipeg.

Some waved signs, while others handed out sandwiches, snacks and water, while the hauliers slowly rolled past. Some brought family members and cheered as the thermometer stayed below -20 C.

Many who greeted the convoy were parked in a line that stretched for about a mile. Several trailers filled an adjacent gas station parking lot.

“If we are willing to do this, and truck drivers are willing to give up their income and do this, you know we stand for something,” said Laurie Hamilton, a 66-year-old retiree, standing next to her. The road with her daughter.

The convoy, which started in British Columbia, has grown as it rolls east. There were about 1,200 trucks and other vehicles when it reached Regina Monday night, police in Saskatchewan’s capital said.

Despite consistent messages from major public health authorities around the world that vaccines are safe and effective, and ongoing data showing that the unvaccinated end up in the intensive care unit with higher rates, many involved in the protest said they do not trust the vaccine.

“I personally do not agree with the RNA vaccination, or what they call the vaccination, but … I’ve got every other shot,” said Don Ross, a truck driver from Dawson Creek, BC, while his semi-truck was stopped short at Red light.

Not being vaccinated has meant Ross cannot cross the border. In parts of Canada with vaccine passport requirements, Ross can also not go into restaurants.

“I can not go into restaurants. I can not go into the bathroom. I’m out on the road and walking in the bushes with the bears.”

Most of the vehicles in the convoy on Tuesday were not semi-vehicles. There was pickup trucks and occasional sports car. Many were adorned with slogans, signs or flags calling for an end to vaccine mandates, such as the one for hauliers.

There were other signs as well. A few referred to communism. Some used swear words in talking about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The convoy was expected to spend the night in Kenora, Ont., And arrive in Ottawa on Saturday.

There have been fears that extremists are intervening in the protest, including a group that has spoken online about the convoy’s arrival and subsequent demonstration in Ottawa that could possibly spur an uprising similar to that in the United States last year on January 6.

The parliamentary protection service said it was aware of the scheduled meeting. “The service continuously monitors threats and monitors the situation closely.”

Donald Trump Jr., son of former US President Donald Trump, said on Facebook on Tuesday that he supports the truck convoy in Canada, which “fights medical discrimination.”

Conservative MP Candice Bergen said in a written statement that she supports peaceful actions by the hauliers.

“Now more than ever, our economy needs to be reopened, and we need all sectors to work to recover from the pandemic. I support peaceful demonstrations against these mandates and our hauliers from … across Canada.”

Other Conservative MPs Andrew Scheer and Warren Steinley also greeted the convoy in Regina on Monday night.

A Calgary woman who would only give her name as Delores said the convoy is more than a protest against vaccine mandates for truck drivers. She said it was also about an “us versus them” mentality that she believes applies to the vaccinated and unvaccinated.

Several vehicles seen in the Regina waved American and inverted Canadian flags, while a pickup had a Maverick Party sign – though not all involved associating with Western separatism.

A man who refused to disclose his name because he works for an oil and gas company and did not want to be reprimanded said he joined the convoy in Hinton, Alta., With his 12-year-old son.

He said he supports the convoy because he is tired of seeing his children being affected by COVID-19 measures, including restrictions on sports.

– With files from Mickey Djuric in Regina and Jim Bronskill in Ottawa.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on January 25, 2022.

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