A convoy of nearly 2,000 semis and vehicles is rolling east as thousands of people frustrated with the federal government’s pandemic mandates head to Ottawa to make their voices heard.
Freedom Convoy 2022 kicked off on Jan. 22 in Prince Rupert, British Columbia and has been slowly heading toward the nation’s capital for an event on Saturday, Jan. 29. The convoy has been picking up hundreds of vehicles and people from each province the further east it goes.
One group of vehicles travelled from Saskatoon to join the main body in Regina, which arrived in the Queen City on the evening of Jan. 24. Enthusiastic honking was heard that evening on Highway 1 as the group passed by Moose Jaw.
A video posted to the Facebook group “Freedom Fighters” shows the convoy driving past Moose Jaw.
According to the Freedom Convoy 2022’s Facebook page, the convoy is not against vaccinations but is opposed to the federal government’s mandate that all Canadian truckers be vaccinated to cross the United States border.
The policy went into effect on Jan. 15.
“Many of us are vaccinated. We simply believe that every Canadian should be free to choose and face no discrimination or restrictions on their freedom due to their choice,” the group said.
The convoy does not want to see anymore lockdowns nor forced vaccinations. The group wrote on Facebook that it believes vaccinations are being forced on Canadians since they must choose between a shot they don’t want and the ability to feed themselves.
“Truckers will not block emergency vehicles at any point, ever, and will even assist any person in need at any point in the convoy or protest. Safety plans are in place,” said the group. “Drivers have been briefed and signed documents at their respective checkpoints.
“This could be the single largest protest in Canadian history. People who oppose government mandates are not the tiny group that the media has tried to make us believe,” Freedom Convoy 2022 added. “We are significant in numbers, growing by the day and we will not back down.”
Canadians Tamara Lich and B.J. Dichter of Medicine Hat, Alta, started a GoFundMe account on Jan. 14 to support the convoy, and as of Jan. 25, it had raised $4.7 million of a $5-million goal.
However, conflicting information emerged suggesting GoFundMe had suspended the account until organizers provided a clear plan about how the money would be spent.
While news outlets such as Global TV reported this as fact — “Once a withdrawal plan is provided by the organizer, our team is on standby to safely and quickly deliver the funds,” the company said — others affiliated with the campaign said on Twitter there was no problem.
Many people have been turning out to support the convoy as it has rolled through communities across the country. Videos posted to social media — including the Freedom Convoy 2022 Facebook page — show Canadians standing adjacent to highways and roads waving and flying Canadian flags.
This convoy is estimated at 75 kilometres long, making it the longest such group ever to travel across Canada.