Freedom Convoy rolls through Ottawa Valley, hundreds of line Highway 17 in support

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Hundreds of residents in the area stood along Highway 17 in the Ottawa Valley for hours Friday, patiently waiting to show their support for Freedom Convoy as it nears its final destination Ottawa. Despite the convoy being hours late, crowds hung in, especially at the intersection of Highway 41 and B-Line Road, as well as Murphy Road in Petawawa, where supporters waved Canadian flags and handcrafted signs, honking and cheering as truck drivers passed. For many who struggled with the cold temperatures, it did not matter, as this movement is the first sign of hope and bright light they have seen since the beginning of the pandemic.

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The first section of the convoy rolled through Highway 41 around noon. 20.00. When it reached the Ottawa Valley, the convoy covered 350 vehicles and stretched for about 50 kilometers.

The convoy started in the west, originally in response to the mandatory vaccines for truck drivers to cross the border, but it has evolved into a movement to remove all mandate restrictions related to COVID-19 and freedom for Canadians. Other convoys have traveled from eastern Canada, northern Quebec and southern Ontario, and all will gather in Ottawa.

Pembroke residents and truck drivers Jenny Brotten and Dave Chaput put up their signs on Highway 17 near Pembroke on Jan. 28 to show their support for Freedom Convoy.
Pembroke residents and truck drivers Jenny Brotten and Dave Chaput put up their signs on Highway 17 near Pembroke on Jan. 28 to show their support for Freedom Convoy. Photo by Tina Peplinskie /jpg, PM

Husband and wife Dave Chaput and Jenny Brotton, both truck drivers who have driven for many companies over their more than 20-year careers, feel that truck drivers bring Canadians together with a common goal. They set up their truck near Highway 41 with a large sign in front that read “Finally proud to be Canadian.”

“We’ve been driving trucks for so long and it’s finally time for us to be recognized as not the short man on the totem pole,” Chaput said. “We have never seen Canada come together in this way; the Olympics, it’s probably bigger than the damn Olympics.”

Brotton feels hopeful for the first time in two years.

“People are finally realizing how important we really are. I’ve been driving for over 25 years and I’ve never been recognized before now. It’s pretty sad at the moment that it takes truck drivers to be finally recognized. I hope , they do, “she said.

A woman named Sarah, who lives near Orangeville, drove with her son to see the convoy and they plan to head to Ottawa on Saturday. For her, it is about regaining freedom.

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“The truck drivers are finally showing up for what we should all be doing,” she said. “I’m really proud that the whole country is united and we’re reunited. I’ve not felt proud to be Canadian in the last two years, and finally my pride is back. I was born and raised here, and I love this country, but I do not like what has happened since COVID. ”

Her hope is that the convoy will achieve its goal of getting the federal government to remove COVID mandates, restrictions and lockdowns.

“It’s ridiculous that people are losing their homes and businesses. I work with children, and the depression, the anxiety, the sadness are ridiculous; it’s about the mental health aspect. The shutdowns, mandates and restrictions are destroying children. I’m so hopeful; I need for it to work, we all need it to work, ”she said.

Her friend added that Freedom Convoy gives hope to the hopeless, and it gives Canadians a brighter future. “Even if things do not go the way we want, it is great that the rest of the world sees Canada as a pioneer for the world. We are a peaceful and loving country, but we have had enough. We are stepping out of our comfort zone, and we are making a peaceful protest with the expectation of change. ”

Jordan Hartwig and Zack Hewitt were among a large group established on Highway 17 on the stretch between Highway 41 and B-Line Road. Hartwig arrived around noon. 1pm to make sure he got the seat as he set up a trailer to serve hot chocolate, coffee and food to other followers. He called this the first sign of life and a start in uniting Canadians.

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Jordan Hartwig put his seat on Highway 17 between Highway 41 and B-Line Road on January 28 to attend the Freedom Convoy.  He also served hot chocolate, coffee and food from his trailer.
Jordan Hartwig put his seat on Highway 17 between Highway 41 and B-Line Road on January 28 to attend the Freedom Convoy. He also served hot chocolate, coffee and food from his trailer. Photo by Tina Peplinskie /jpg, PM

“It’s not about vaccines per se, it’s about edicts and transgressions, and we need to bring freedom and choice back to Canadians,” Hartwig added.

Hewitt agreed, saying he’s happy to see this bring the Canadians together.

“This is what we expected,” he said, looking around at those gathered. “That’s what we’re about here in the valley.”

The convoy arrived at Antrim Truck Stop in Arnprior on Friday night. Some of the participants are expected to stay there overnight, and other farms in the area have cleared land so truck drivers can spend the night before heading to Ottawa on Saturday morning for a demonstration on Parliament Hill.

TPeplinskie@postmedia.com

A row of trucks, all glowing and located in front of the Irving Big Stop to greet the Freedom Convoy as it rolled off Pembroke Ontario on the evening of January 28, 2022.
A row of trucks, all glowing and located in front of the Irving Big Stop to greet the Freedom Convoy as it rolled off Pembroke Ontario on the evening of January 28, 2022. Photo by Anthony Dixon /jpg, PM
A row of trucks, all glowing and located in front of the Irving Big Stop to greet the Freedom Convoy as it rolled off Pembroke Ontario on the evening of January 28, 2022.
A row of trucks, all glowing and located in front of the Irving Big Stop to greet the Freedom Convoy as it rolled off Pembroke Ontario on the evening of January 28, 2022. Photo by Anthony Dixon /jpg, PM

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