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TRUCKERS RISE UP: protests, convoys, blockades against Trudeau’s mandate

Keean Bexte

January 18, 2022


Truckers are rising up, organizing protests, convoys, and blockades across Canada to force PM Trudeau’s hand and stop the mandate, which came into effect on January 15. Massive shortages are expected, and the PM has remained silent.

The recent mandate set out by Trudeau is forcing all unvaccinated Canadian truckers to quarantine for 15 days upon returning to Canada, making their jobs all but impossible to do. Moreover, American truckers who deliver everything from food to medical supplies to manufacturing goods are being outright denied entry.

As many experts and truckers have noted, this will only put additional strain on an already tenuous supply chain, and at the worst time possible, winter, when much of the food Canadians need to survive is imported.

“Canada imports about $21 billion worth of agri-food products from the United States every year, and about 60 to 70 per cent of the food imported arrives on wheels,” writes Sylvain Charlebois, a professor specializing in food distribution.

“That’s almost 20 per cent of the food Canadians buy in both foodservice and retail.”

He adds that the industry is already roughly 18,000 drivers short and many, who are approaching retirement, may take this opportunity to exit the industry altogether.

“And the timing is not great either,” he continues. “Much of the volume comes through during the winter months when produce from the southern states offers welcome supplies to Canadian consumers.”

While some contend that this will not have a severe impact as it’s only the 10 per cent or so of unvaccinated truckers who are being put out of work, all factors point to the contrary.

Firstly, it isn’t just unvaccinated truckers protesting. Vaccinated truckers are taking a stand in solidarity with their marginalized brothers on the road, deciding that enough is enough. They won’t watch their peers become penniless.

To this end, a massive convoy of truckers driving big riggers is being organized for a cross-country protest. Meanwhile, some have already begun protesting, with videos going viral and calls for an end to the mandate rising in tempo.

In other parts of Canada, truckers are forming blockades, completely cutting off highway access.

Colin Valentim, a trucker with two decades under his belt, is currently organizing the convoy in BC and says that he is “expecting 100 trucks from the Vancouver area” alone and many more to join as he prepares for a mass trucker exodus from West to East on January 24.

As most truckers drive alone and some cross the border anywhere from five to six times a day, this small portion alone would be enough to affect local grocery stores.

But, of course, this isn’t even the tip of the iceberg.

According to Ontario Trucking Association president Stephen Laskowski, Canada already faces a trucker shortage, as fewer people have chosen to get into the job in recent years. This will be heavily exacerbated, he says, as, in Ontario alone, he expects to lose 10 per cent of his workforce instantly, roughly 16,000 truckers.

“What will happen and already is happening is the supply chain is just adjusting to having less drivers. We already don’t have enough drivers,” Laskowski said.

“So, what is happening is there is going to be a prioritization within our membership towards their customers. The companies who can be more aggressive are acquiring truck transportation to go across the Canada-U.S. border, but the others who cannot be as aggressive will find it more challenging moving their product.”

According to Global News, there are over 26,000 truckers who cross the border every day, a critical process that relies on a small segment of society that can be easily disrupted.

Remove ten per cent of this 26,000 figure, along with all of the unvaccinated truckers in America, all the truckers protesting alongside them, and all of the truckers who, despite not protesting, will have their jobs disrupted by blockades and the scope of the potential calamity unveils itself.

In an interview with the Western Standard, Rick Wall, the president of the Winkler, Man. Trucking Firm and organizer of Convoy Against Mandates said that he’s more than happy to fight against mandates to restore Canadians’ freedoms even if some resent him for fighting for the very rights and freedoms they don’t appreciate.

“This country has been ripped apart,” Wall said. “We need to reunite and love and respect each other like we used to. Our government has done a tremendous job of dividing us, destroying us.”

“We’re supposed to hate each other based on medical decisions. That is not right… We need to open our eyes.”

Wall continued, explaining that, while the effects of the mandate won’t be instant, they will inevitably be felt.

“You’re going to see price increases on basically everything, especially food. I think you’ll see a lot of empty grocery store shelves,” Wall said. “We’re in the middle of winter, and our food is getting trucked in. Nobody’s growing gardens this time of year. They couldn’t have picked a worse time to do this. So much of our produce comes from the southern U.S.”

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