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Trucker protests in Canada may be just the beginning


According to D. Frum

In the week following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, demonstrators marched in the UK, Germany, France, Canada, Australia and many other countries. European and Asian protesters imitated the style and symbolism of the protests in the United States: they knelt down, tore down statues. In the age of social media, all protests are potentially global.

So it is with protests this month in Canada, when truckers opposed to that country's vaccination requirements laid siege to the nation's capital and blocked international crossings critical to Canada's economy. The truck blockade movement that started in Canada is being repeated in New Zealand, France and Belgium. US law enforcement is preparing for possible protests. Florida Governor Ron De Santis, Texas Senator Ted Cruz and the president's son Donald Trump Jr. are just some of the Republicans who have expressed support for the protesters. The style and symbolism of this event also seems strangely non-local. One of the most photographed protest movements was a man on horseback raising the 2024 Trump flag in downtown Ottawa. Confederate flags and MAGA hats have added to the anti-establishment global iconography.

The consequences of the protests are also becoming global. Trucks block the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor, Ontario and Detroit. It is the busiest of all the border crossings between the United States and Canada and is critical for the transport of auto parts.

However, about 90 percent of Canadian truck drivers are vaccinated; relatively few of the protesters are professional truck drivers. The protesters are not against self-isolation. They are against vaccination. The reason for the protests was the requirement that truckers be vaccinated to cross the US-Canada border.

This crisis could lead to something really dangerous. Trudeau must act, but Canada may not have the funds to act effectively and decisively enough to end the protests without harming the protesters or the police. If the protests in Canada are not stopped, the negative consequences may not be limited to this country. The disruption to freight traffic shocked Canadians because Canada as a whole is extremely law-abiding.

In the past half dozen years, America has seen an increase in politically motivated violence: riots and looting in US cities in the aftermath of Floyd's murder; the takeover of parts of Portland, Oregon by leftist militants; the attempted kidnapping of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer by anti-pandemic extremists, which preceded the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, is the attack itself.

It may well be that this newest form of performative bullying is just being tested in Ottawa. Soon it may appear in American cities.


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