‘We ignited a fire’ police force removes Canadian trucker protest, but issues not fully resolved
Heavily armed riot police used force to remove the last of the Canadian truckers from the capital of Ottawa, Ontario over the weekend (Feb. 19-20). Trucks were towed and impounded, convoy leaders jailed without bail, truckers and peaceful protesters yelling “freedom,” were beaten, sprayed with pepper spray, had tear gas fired at them, some had their truck windows smashed and were dragged out at gun point. Bank accounts have also been frozen of truckers and donors. All this was under the authority of the Emergency Act implemented by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who declared the truckers to be domestic terrorists. According to news reports, Trudeau did not have a conversation with the protesters.
An official Trudeau statement said, “Over the past few days, there have been close to 200 arrests, 389 criminal charges have been laid and a total of 76 vehicles were towed. The job is not done yet and work is expected to continue to bring an end to the illegal blockades and occupations.”
The official Trudeau statement also said, “provisions of the Act have allowed them (the police) to maintain the perimeter, restrict travel and ensure that they continue to restrict financial support and other assistance to protesters.”
Trudeau’s Incedent Response Group heard and assessment from ministers and senior officials. “The group was briefed on the law enforcement actions being taken elsewhere in Canada to avoid further blockades and protect jobs and the economy. They reconfirmed the goal to see order restored as soon as possible to ensure the safety of Canadians, as well as to continue to assess the use of the Emergencies Act to ensure that, as intended, it is time limited, reasonable, and proportionate to the threats it is meant to address.
Troy Flad, an Alberta cattle rancher and farmer who has spent 31 years as a chuck wagon racer and working in the oil field, drove with a friend to Ottawa. They arrived with over 1,500 trucks in the West convoy and Flad was in one of the trucks closest to the front line from their convoy. The men planned to spend “a few days” there. “It was like pulling into Las Vegas, you can’t wait to get to the show. I’ve never been to a party with that much energy and love and everyone respected everyone. The first morning we looked at each other and said we aren’t going home for a while are we?”
The men stayed for twenty-two days. “We slept in the truck head to tail like horses in a trailer. Of those 22 days, I stayed 19 in the truck,” he said.
Flad said they shoveled snow, picked up trash and fed the homeless. He said there were women who stopped by to tell them that since the truckers came to Ottawa, their partners had stopped hurting them.
He was in the crowd trying to hold the line when the police brought their crowd control horses in. “They were big draft horses and knocked people down and shoved us back. I was trying to hold the line but as civilians we don’t hold the line like the opposite side do. Canadians have been the peacekeepers of the world, anywhere else the people would have swarmed the police. During the Black Lives Matter riots, our Prime Minister came out and knelt down to them but for our peaceful protest he sent the police and riot squads. I tried talking to the police on the line but every fifteen or twenty minutes they would circulate the front line to the back, I saw a lot of red eyes among the police, I believe most of the police have a heart but they are collecting the paycheck.”
Flad said he had spoken to a policeman on a corner who admitted that they were making an average of 73 dollars an hour working twelve hour days watching the protesters. “A lot of people are scared to stand up for fear of worse things happening to them, but when you don’t have a lot to lose you are willing to stand up to a lot. We were the last guys to leave and I was the last guy to step off the pavement. The police were trying to hold back the people so they could hold us up. They wanted insurance, registration, and plates. I believe they wanted to seize our trucks, but we got out.”
Flad is home but already he is part of a slow roll of trucks through Calgary, Alberta on the 25th, “I don’t know how much more we can do but I believe the convoys to Washington. DC will be massive.”
“They said they didn’t freeze my bank account but when I went to pay bills I had a blank screen, the bank said it was a glitch. I personally know of a young girl who gave ten dollars to the GiveSendGo fundraiser and her account was frozen,” Flad said.
“The trucker I came here with has headed back to Saskatchewan with others from our province. Chris Barber our road captain has been ordered out of Ottawa or face a $100,000 fine and have his truck impounded and sold,” said Mike Hovorka from Saskatchewan. “Well, I think our work here has been done. We have ignited the fire and maybe prevented further government overreach. Some of the provinces have dropped the draconian restrictions.”
On Wednesday Prime Minister Trudeau officially ended the Emergencies Act and some of the bank accounts are being unfrozen. But the status of the impounded trucks is still unknown and Tamara Lich, Pat King and some others are being held without bond on charges of Conspiring to Commit Mischief.
The Freedom Convoy has applauded the Federal government rescinding the Emergencies Act but cautions there is still much to be done.
OTTAWA (February 23, 2022) – statement from the leaders of Taking Back our Freedoms (TBOF), a national organization chaired by former Premier Brian Peckford, supporting Freedom Convoy 2022.
“Rescinding the Emergency Order is a good step, but there is still a great deal for governments to do to restore the trust that they have so brazenly abused, not just recently, but for two years,” cautioned George Bears, President of TBOF. “Our objectives remain unchanged: the lifting of all unreasonable and unnecessary restrictions on Canadians’ personal liberties, and the establishment of safeguards to ensure that a similar assault of those liberties is impossible in the future. Unless this happens, we may well see a resumption of the protests in Ottawa, but on a wider and larger scale. “
TBOF leaders are also demanding the swift release of those currently being held in jail without bail and the dropping of all charges related to the peaceful demonstration in Ottawa. “It is unconscionable to continue holding anyone in jail at this stage – especially a grandmother like Tamara Lich – whose only ‘crime’ was to exercise her fundamental right to demonstrate peacefully against government policy,” said Roy Beyers, executive director of TBOF.
TBOF leaders were particularly thankful of the efforts of truckers across the country, and of the tens of thousands of Canadians who came to their defense, bombarding MPs’ and Senators’ offices with messages of support for Freedom Convoy 2022 and demands that the Trudeau Government’s use of the Emergencies Act be rejected.
“We were informed this afternoon that Mr. Trudeau did not have the votes in the Senate to confirm his use of this draconian Act,” explained George Bears,, “hence his decision to rescind the Order himself. Canadians spoke, and their representatives listened – reluctantly perhaps, but they listened nevertheless. Democracy is not dead in Canada after all.”
In the United States The People’s Convoy of around a thousand vehicles left California on February 23rd headed for Washington. DC. Truckers are expected to join along the way and other convoys from around the country are also converging on the capital. The convoy is being assisted by retired military personnel and security experts, who are spearheading logistics in order to ensure a 100 percent safe, lawful, and peaceful journey. The People’s Convoy has promised to abide by agreements with local authorities, and terminate in the vicinity of the DC area, but will not be going into DC proper. But the federal government is already calling up the National Guard to be ready for the trucks arrival.
TRUCKER’S DECLARATION: “We the People of the United States, in Order to restore our once perfect Union, re-establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense of all, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty, do ordain and establish the restoration movement of The People’s Convoy for the United States of America.” We demand the declaration of national emergency concerning the covid-19 pandemic be lifted immediately and our cherished constitution reign supreme.”(The People’s Convoy website)
Progress of the convoys can be tracked on social media and through their websites. People have been donating money and supplies to the convoy as they work to make sure the truckers expenses are cover. Their first night’s stop near Kingman, Arizona, Crazy Fred’s Truck Stop and Rebel Oil, both from the Kingman area of AZ, donated 25,000 gallons of fuel for the convoy. (According to the People’s Convoy Facebook page)
The Canadian Freedom Convoy was the spark that has spread across the world as citizens are taking a stand against the restrictions of their freedoms by government overreach and the feeling held by many is this movement is far from over.
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