Canada's "Freedom Convoy": Is this Jan. 6 for the Great White North? - 2022-01-29
If you choose to believe Fox News and right-wing social media, this weekend a 40-mile long "Freedom Convoy" of 50,000 Canadian truckers, plus millions of their supporters, will converge in Ottawa — our northern neighbor's capital — for a mass protest that will gridlock the city until all of the country's vaccine mandates are repealed.
The anti-vaccination convoy movement has raised some $7 million , and earned the support of Canadian conservative Parliament leader Erin O'Toole, who says he plans to meet with the truckers, as well as prominent American conservatives or libertarians from Donald Trump Jr . and Tucker Carlson to Elon Musk . Videos of the convoy have proliferated online, most depicting lines of tractor-trailers driving across Canada, variously set to dramatic film scores or Twisted Sister , and cheered on by throngs of spectators waving the Maple Leaf flag on highway shoulders and overpasses. Other images and videos have popped up too, showcasing the efforts of convoy supporters, including a sort of women's auxiliary unit singing "O Canada" while assembling sandwiches for the truckers.
But in the last couple of days, research and reporting has emerged that suggests the convoy, ripe as it is for gags about the polite or earnest nature of Canadians, could spell trouble. On Friday, Ottawa police asked residents of the city to avoid traveling downtown on Saturday. Security officials at Canada's House of Commons warned that demonstrators have been searching for the home addresses of members of Parliament. Groups that track the far right have warned that the convoy movement is sparking violent rhetoric online, including calls for the demonstration to replicate the U.S. Capitol attack of Jan. 6, 2021, and for drivers to use their trucks to ram into the barricades around the Parliament building.