Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday January 26, 2022
Organizer behind anti-vaccine mandate convoy says it won’t tolerate extremists as online rhetoric heats up
A key player behind the convoy travelling to Ottawa to protest a vaccine mandate for truckers is distancing her movement from the increasingly extremist rhetoric online being associated with the protest and asking members of the convoy to report any extreme behaviour to police.
Addressing her Facebook followers in a video posted on the Freedom Convoy 2022 Facebook page, Tamara Lich said the convoy is expected to arrive at Parliament Hill in Ottawa over the weekend to protest what she calls infringements of personal liberty caused by public health orders.
“If you see participants along the way that are misbehaving, acting aggressively in any way or inciting any type of violence or hatred, please take down the truck number and their licence plate number so that we can forward that to the police,” she said.
Since the convoy of trucks and other vehicles left B.C. and began snaking its way to Ottawa, extremists and fringe groups have taken to social media to encourage their followers to descend on the capital when the convoy arrives, calling on them to destroy property and threaten elected officials.
Some have called for another Jan. 6 — the day last year when Donald Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol Building. Others have called for politicians to be targeted, in what amounts to a growing threat that has security officials concerned, according to one senior government official who spoke to CBC News on background.
Lich said that everyone participating in the convoy must be registered with their “road captains” and anyone who does not behave in an orderly fashion “will be immediately removed.”
“The only way that we are going to overcome this is through love and light, not hate and division,” she said. “I think as Canadians, we’ve all seen enough of that. It’s time to move past that.”
The federal government announced in mid-November that by Jan. 15, all foreign nationals working as truckers would have to be fully vaccinated to enter Canada. Those not fully vaccinated are to be turned back to the U.S.
All Canadian cross-border essential workers — including truckers — must also show proof of vaccination at a port of entry to avoid stringent testing requirements and quarantine.
Truckers travelling within Canada are not affected by these new measures. The United States has implemented a similar mandate, requiring that all U.S.-bound travellers show proof they’ve had the required shots. (CBC)