Belton describes journey from TikTok video to Freedom Convoy

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Brigitte Belton says she thought she was going to be arrested when posting a TikTok video in late 2021, as her truck was detained at the Ambassador Bridge because she had defied a mask mandate.

“I thought that time was the time they were finally going to take a truck that they did not own, take a load that did not belong to them, take my dog and euthanize him, and take me to jail,” the Ontario truck driver said, wiping tears from her eyes during testimony about this year’s Freedom Convoy.

“I was done with CBSA [Canada Border Services Agency]. I was done with the crap that Canada was going through. And I was definitely done with the behavior of Canadians.”

Bridgette Belton
Bridgette Belton views a TikTok video she posted after being detained at the Canada-U.S. border for refusing to comply with a mask mandate in 2021. (Screen capture)

When plans were introduced for a vaccine mandate that would apply to cross-border truck drivers, the idea of a broader protest came to life.

Belton was among Freedom Convoy organizers who were making their first appearance before the Public Order Emergency Commission that is exploring the federal government’s use of the Emergency Act to crack down on protests including an Ottawa occupation that lasted almost three weeks.

The idea for the convoy was inspired by an earlier CBSA job action that stranded her on the Blue Water Bridge, she said. “My husband and [fellow convoy organizer] Chris Barber told me that convoys never work. They just never had a woman do it.”

Planning for the convoy “exploded overnight”, and originally focused on slowing traffic and causing a nuisance, she said. James Bauder then connected with her and discussed his work on a previous Canada Unity convoy, and she signed his Memorandum of Understanding calling for the government to be replaced — even though she said she never read the full document.

Once in Ottawa, Belton said she was involved in various tasks. “When a fire came up, if I could put it out, I put it out.”

Demeaning measures

She described the protests as the best thing to happen to Canada in two years.

“We worked eight months with no sanitizer, no face masks. Nothing. We had no bathrooms. We had no showers. We were refused everywhere we went. You have no idea what it’s like to pee in a park on your way home from work,” Belton said.

“You have no idea how demeaning those Covid measures were to our industry and yet I felt it my duty to support Canadians and bring you the goods and services that many hoarded.”

Belton was among organizers who had bank accounts frozen under Emergencies Act measures, and learned of that during a phone call. Other protesters fronted her cash to help her and her husband make their next truck payment.

“We weren’t there to disrupt the city residents. We were there to be heard,” she said of the Ottawa protests, noting 32 emails to MPs and MPPs went unanswered.

“When CBSA sent me a reply, pretty much ‘suck it up buttercup, this is the way it’s going to go and you’re about to lose your job so don’t worry about it’, what did you want me to do?”

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John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking, trucknews.com, TruckTech, Transport Routier, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.


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  • Brigitte Belton… “ I thought …I thought… I thought.“. They (CBSA) didn’t take your truck, didn’t take your load, didn’t take your dog and euthanize him, nor did they take you to jail. So dramatic!

    You’re fed up with Canada? Well we’re fed up with you too! You’re clearly miserable, discontent, and extremely vindictive. Try your luck in another country!

  • I have been involved in the political world since I was a kid. My father founded Natural Resources Union after years of Local Representation. It was the Trucker’s fight that made him decide once & for all to form a component with PSAC. He took me to see see FIST & walked out, he drove to Gilmore Street & said, I’m going to have an office in that building.
    When I was Kid, he had a CB in is Cadillac & talked to Truckers from Ottawa to Hollywood Florida. NO JOKE. Jimmy Hoffa & political ties was what I grew up with, except it was Pierre Elliot Trudeau & Jean Chretien he negotiated with.
    The corruption in Ottawa is not even a secret. I worked with MPs & MPPs & received no help & no response when I needed it. I believe it when I am told others are not as well. I supported mandates, but I hear you.

  • That’s funny.I also worked thru covid and never had any problems finding face masks,sanitizer,washrooms,showers etc.Was never refused service anywhere.DRAMA QUEEN !!

  • She did not defy a mask mandate, she had medical exemption. So for truck news to report she defy a mandate was not correct. Cbsa did not care about a mask mandate they where going to enforce. Cbsa was trying to enforce something that was not under their powers.