Canada's "Freedom Convoy" is a bigger threat to the right than the left - 2022-02-03
Since Saturday the so-called Freedom Convoy, numbering several thousand truck drivers, has occupied the centre of the Canadian capital, blaring horns and blocking traffic, ostensibly in protest over Covid-19 vaccine mandates. The demonstrators have been actively calling for the resignation of Justin Trudeau, the Liberal Prime Minister, but it is the leader of the opposition Conservatives who was ousted this week.
Erin O'Toole, who had led the Conservatives since August 2020, was decisively voted out by his MPs on 1 February. Though O'Toole's party leadership had been regularly called into question after the Tories failed to unseat Trudeau's minority government in the September 2021 election, it was only after the trucker protest reached fever pitch over the weekend that it became certain his days were numbered.
When the convoy of lorry drivers first left British Columbia on 22 January and began making its way across the country to Ottawa, it garnered very little attention. The truckers vociferously objected to a requirement that those who cross the US-Canada border be vaccinated against Covid-19, but even within the industry it was a fringe concern; the vaccination rate in Canada is around 88 per cent, while among long-haul truck drivers themselves it is thought to be as high as 90 per cent. But by the time it neared the capital, the convoy had attracted the support of seemingly every other disaffected fringe group agitating against the establishment.