Convoys expand to multiple cities, Ottawa and Alberta protesters remain

Convoys of protesters expanded into additional cities over the weekend, arguing against pandemic-related restrictions and other government measures. But where protests in locations including Toronto, Winnipeg, Regina, Edmonton and Quebec City dispersed, those in Ottawa and at the Alberta border remain.

The City of Ottawa has officially declared a state of emergency, citing threats to public safety and disruptions in the downtown core. That move helps to expedite requests for additional resources.

truck driver vaccine protest
The GoFundMe platform says it will not release more than $9 million in donations to Freedom Convoy organizers. (File photo)

Alberta opens investigations

In a significant blow to protest organizers, GoFundMe has also suspended more than $9 million in donations, citing evidence from law enforcement that the Ottawa convoy which first arrived Jan. 29 has become an occupation. The fundraising platform had previously released $1 million to organizers, who said it would be used to reimburse fuel costs for participating truckers.

Reports circulating on social media indicate convoy organizers have turned to other platforms to raise funds.

While protesters have been seen stockpiling fuel, Ottawa police announced Sunday that anyone bringing fuel to demonstrating trucks would be subject to arrest.

Several protesters were also arrested during the day for mischief, and multiple vehicles and fuel have been seized, it added. More than 100 tickets and notices were issued for factors such as excessive honking, driving the wrong way, defective muffler, no seat belt, alcohol readily available, and having improper licence classes.

Alberta RCMP confirmed through Twitter yesterday that protests along Hwy. 4 continue to impede traffic around the border crossing at Coutts.  While many individual protesters there are being respectful and listening to police, several investigations have also been opened, it said.

‘Largely peaceful and respectful’

Additional convoys and protests in provincial capitals over the weekend were largely reported to be peaceful, although police in each jurisdiction were taking extra measures to limit traffic disruptions. Toronto, for example, implemented key road closures around the Ontario Legislature a nearby area known as Hospital Row, and an increased police presence remains downtown.

“From everything I have seen, the Saturday protest in Toronto was largely peaceful and respectful as I had hoped it would be,” Toronto Mayor John Tory said, crediting Toronto Police.

Quebec City police ordered trucks and cars away from the National Assembly Sunday evening, bringing a fourth day of protests to an end.

‘No connection to the trucking industry’

“It appears that most protesters have no connection to the trucking industry and have separate grievances beyond the cross-border vaccine mandates,” Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) president Stephen Laskowski said in a weekend statement.

Protests began as Canada introduced a vaccine mandate for border-crossing truck drivers on Jan. 15 and the U.S. began its mandate Jan. 22. Even if the Canadian rules are lifted, non-vaccinated truck drivers would still be unable to cross the Canada-U.S. border.

“To those in the trucking industry that have chosen to participate in this protest, your behavior today will not only reflect upon you and your family but the 300,000-plus fellow Canadians that, like you, take great pride in our industry,” Laskowski said. “Please remember this important responsibility you bear today in delivering your message responsibly as well as the impact your actions will have on the image of many of your colleagues who do not share your opinion but share your passion for the industry and country.”

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  • I was at the Toronto protest on Sat a legal team was taking the names of former truck drivers often on work permit to large trucking companies ( over 100 units) and foreign farm workers that were owed money in these people opinions. A number of issues about gov controls not just vaccines. The legal team had over a truck driver talk to them and over 300 they are going to follow up with. A lot of truck drivers wives came to support us and make donations. One hotel ( chain ) donated a block of 20 rooms in Toronto until the protest is over. A lot of women dancing. This protest is needed too many truck drivers are unhappy
    I tried for 2 years to get thi gs improved. Now large corporations are calling me to support programs for us asking what we need to make warehouse better parking wi fi . Gov needs to behave and we have to stay peaceful and not get beaten up by gov thugs or food and fuel cut off.

  • As a retired ” Old Road Hammer ” I support the Freedom Convoy 1000% and anyone who opposes this movement is a CCP sympathizer.

  • I find it disappointing that we are so quick to dismiss the protesters describing them as “fringe” or “terrorist”, etc.

    Whether one supports them or not, I think we can all agree that the past 2 years of restrictive government policy have come at an enormous cost to Canada and all Canadians.

    We could also all agree, that while Covid might last indefinitely, these restrictions can not – economically these policies have created a massive half trillion dollar deficit and seriously undermined many Canadian’s trust in government institutions.

    Why can’t we now start an informed and balanced dialogue about specific steps and specific timelines to eliminating these restrictive policies, without resorting to the name calling and the deriding of anyone asking for clarity on the end of the most difficult period many of us have lived through in our life time?

  • Well if this doesn’t prove we are now a COMMUNIST country I don’t know what does.

    There is absolutely no more freedom of speech.

    If it’s illegal to support our rights then maybe we need to stop supporting this government.

  • Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) president Stephen Laskowski …laughable comments. The truckers in theconvoy are RAISING the public image. FINALLY the public feels that have an ally in them, sharing all pent up frustrations….No political party, no mainstream media, dare say how these average Canadian families were saying privately. Both the government and media, sought to divide Canadians (nothing new either), Finally…just FINALLY a group shows up that we can all identify with their frustrated feelings which are in keeping with ours.

    OTA, politicians, and all trucking associations who were (in the past) representatives of their members, have elevated to a place where they dont serve the members, but rather have the members serve them.

  • It took decades to clean up their proffession, it took one weekend to destroy. The .0001% of disrespectful, misfits participating in the truck protests has destroyed once again. With the millions contributed over the years to make trucking a ” professional” job. Devastating on memorials, urinating on residences yards, attacking verbally and physically innocent people who unfortunately live in the areas these truckers are protesting. All deplorable actions the trucking has spent years and millions cleaning it up. Most of the organisations and associations with trucking industry are disgusted, ashamed of what these few misfits have done to the profession. They maybe able to clean up the look of the profession but it almost impossible to clean up what’s inside those trucks. Feel really bad for those who have brought respect, decency to the trucking industry. Their hard work dedication to performing a professional job by both their actions and work ethics.All destroyed by a few misfits.Back to draw g board and mi!lions of more dollars and decades to start all over again. Perhaps education is much needed. Because obviously these few misfits have not a brain. They believe they will dictate at the rest 99.9999% of will do to protect oursekves,famiky,neighbors,community from the real enemy “vivid virus” NOT… In Canada… Were stronger against even our own domestic terrorist…Canadians (true Canadians) will not ever allow a few misfits to further endanger our children, families, seniors etc. Especially against a killer virus corona. We stand as one!!!! Keep the fight to keep our seniors (who have worked their whole lives contributing to the funds these people got to survive during covid. Never ever existed before. We had to survive in our own. No hangouts ever given. Perhaps a “thank you” and respect for our elders is over due.