On January 29, 2022 the "Freedom Convoy" united in solidarity against Canada’s vaccine mandate.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on February 2 that he was working with Ottawa police to end the protest. This statement was followed on February 6 by Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson declaring a state of emergency due to the demonstrations, as well as Ontario Premier Doug Ford on February 10.
Shortly after, Trudeau would invoke the Emergencies Act dispatching Ottawa police to begin removing vehicles and protesters from the streets of downtown Ottawa. By Sunday, February 20, most demonstrators would be gone.
In addition to the streets of downtown Ottawa, the privately-owned Ambassador Bridge – linking Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario – was also temporarily blocked by a band of truckers opposing vaccine mandates for those crossing the border. This movement would also spill into other key border crossings, though most of these demonstrations lasted less than a day.
U.S. Truckers Join the Protests
This isn’t the first instance of North American truckers joining forces for a united cause. In 1973, at the height of the OPEC oil crisis, convoy protests jammed American highways for almost two months to voice their concerns for drastically rising gas prices.
At a memorable fever pitch, independent truckers even participated in a two-day strike across the country. Demonstrations would ultimately diminish in early 1974, but not without radically altering the recognition of independent truckers to government officials.
The Canadian Freedom Convoy has garnered support and criticism across the world, as well as inspired similar demonstrations in France, Australia, and New Zealand. As of February 2022, United States truckers are in the process of organizing their own convoy from California to Washington D.C. to protest domestic mandates. Will their efforts be as impactful as their neighbors in the north? Only time will tell.
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