Not all hauliers support the ‘freedom convoy’

A so-called ‘freedom convoy’ of hauliers and supporters is on its way to Ottawa in protest of the federal government’s vaccine mandate for hauliers across borders.

But not everyone from the truck industry agrees with the convoy’s messages, especially as the rhetoric gets hot and the movement attracts support from fringe groups.

Dennis Levesque from London, Ont. has been a haulier for eight years. He calls the convoy “an embarrassment to the industry” and says the participants represent only a “tiny little part of the drivers.”

“We are an industry struggling with how we are represented in the media and the perception of truck drivers to begin with,” he told over the phone on Thursday. “I think something like that just reinforces the stereotypes that exist for truck drivers. It’s not going to do anything to help us move the industry forward in a better direction.”

Mike Millian, president of the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada, is also concerned about the rhetoric coming out of the convoy. He believes the convoy has changed beyond the original message as extremists seek to join the movement.

“Our organization has become very concerned about some of the rhetoric we have heard, hearing racist remarks comparing (the mandate) to Nazis and Communism – things that cannot be compared to what is going on right now,” he said. he to CTV News Channel Tuesday. .

As of January 15, the federal government has required all truck drivers and other important workers crossing the border to provide proof of vaccination to avoid strict quarantine requirements. The Biden Administration also requires that all non-Americans, including truck drivers, be fully vaccinated to cross into the United States

Several truck groups have also condemned the protests. The Canadian Trucking Alliance says nearly 85 percent of drivers are fully vaccinated. Just before the convoy was due to start, the group said it “strongly rejects any protest on public roads, motorways and bridges.” The Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association has also urged its drivers not to attend.

Millian says people and groups not involved in the trucking industry have “grabbed hold” of the movement. He also urges the drivers involved in the convoy to speak out against the escalating rhetoric.

“There are a lot of men and women out there who have worked hard throughout this pandemic to keep our shelves in stock. There are essential supplies where you need them, including some that will be in this convoy. But we lose our message here, if we’re associated with this kind of language, and it tarnishes the image of the whole industry, “he said.

Levesque, on the other hand, says he is fully vaccinated and supports mandates. He also notes that truck drivers are subject to other government mandates in Canada and the United States, such as regular medical examinations to ensure drivers are fit to operate a truck.

“The mandate is to get people vaccinated to save lives. We know that people who are not vaccinated are at greater risk of becoming seriously ill,” he said. “The industry is not new to government mandates. We have all sorts of government mandates and health requirements to begin with. This would just be another one.”

Leave a Comment