Editorial

Protesters dancing on top of truck
So yes, to put it simply, you have become a problem. Photo: Serena Yang/Courtesy
Reading Time: 4 minutes

If you’re a part of the “Freedom Convoy”, then here is our letter to you

Picture this: it’s late January and you’re three weeks into your fourth year of an undergraduate degree. You have three assignments due on Tuesday, a test worth 30 per cent of your final grade on Wednesday, but you can’t get any sleep. Why? Because hundreds of people in trucks are driving up and down your street blaring their horns until 7 a.m., and there’s no one there to stop it. 

If you’re a part of the “Freedom Convoy”, then here is my letter to you. 

To put it simply, I am angry. You have proven over the past week that you care more about your own life and how you’re being affected than you do about the truth and repercussions of your actions. You want things to change, so you’re fibbing in Facebook posts and making up numbers to gaslight more people into becoming supporters — I’m fairly certain you do not have 78 per cent of all Canadians on your side. The regulations aren’t convenient for you and you’re annoyed, so now you need to make it Ottawa’s problem. 

I want you to recognize that when I say ‘Ottawa,’ this is what I mean. You have taken over one of the busiest sections of our city, a street lined with condos, student housing, and businesses by the dozen, and turned it into your own personal playground. You did not stop at Parliament — you went further. In the middle of the night, your trucks drive down residential streets while drivers honk and scream. In the middle of the day, they cause chaos in neighborhoods and businesses kilometres away from where this ‘protest’ is supposedly being held. 

There has been no sign of this slowing down or stopping anytime soon, and while you cheer over that fact, hundreds of thousands of those who are being forced to endure the disruptions you’re causing are instead feeling helpless anxiety and fear. Your presence hasn’t solved your problem; it has simply created a new one — one that revolves entirely around you. 

Students are posting about how they can’t study because of the noise. Mothers are complaining about their children not being able to sleep. People can no longer go to work because your so-called ‘peaceful protest’ has resulted in their businesses being shut down or unable to open. 

Your ‘peaceful protestors’ are being violent with our shop owners and disrupting our soup kitchens. Your ‘peaceful protestors’ are defacing statues of national heroes and blatantly disrespecting fallen soldiers. Your ‘peaceful protestors’ are walking the streets with swastikas and Confederate flags

There is nothing ‘peaceful’ about this. Were we annoyed by the restaurant closures? Sure, but they were supposed to open again on Monday and we’d go back to classes and work that same week. Not only that, but the mall was open and most shops and stores were getting ready to do the same. And and I’m honestly shocked this is a point that needs to be made — there weren’t hate symbols being paraded undeterred around the Parliament of Canada. 

Now? 

Now, I won’t be surprised if they close things again solely based on how many unvaccinated ‘tourists’ we have in the city. 

Now, our mall has closed because you thought your numbers made you invincible to regulations. 

Now, there is blatant racism occurring where everyone can see it and thousands of people (including an entire police force) aren’t doing anything to stop it. 

Now, our lives have been disrupted, the streets outside our homes are in chaos, and we no longer feel safe. 

This has progressed to a point where it is no longer a protest against vaccine mandates; it is being used as an opportunity for people to spread hate and cause chaos (and FYI — when locals are literally watching this happen and speaking up on their first-hand accounts, that means it’s not just ‘mainstream media twisting the story’). You claim you’re ‘fighting for our freedoms’, and yet, you’re verbally attacking those who disagree with your opinions. Where is the freedom in that, exactly? 

Somewhere along the line of your ‘fight for your freedom,’ you have forgotten several very important things. Your protest is disrupting the lives of hundreds of thousands of people who have no say in the outcome. More than that, you are making them feel unsafe because you have made it clear your priorities do not lie with the community as a whole. You are picking and choosing which people you want to support, be it by their personal opinions or their ethnicity. Even if you yourself are not attacking passersby or adorning symbols of hate, you’re still standing silent beside them. 

You cannot claim to be trying to help us while you cause chaos in our streets. You cannot claim to want to give Canadians back their ‘freedoms’ while you bully those who think differently than you. You cannot claim to be helping us while you put us at risk. 

So yes, to put it simply, you have become a problem and I can’t help but wonder what it will take and how far this will go before you realize that yourselves.

Editorials are usually written by the Fulcrum’s fourteen-person editorial board and express the shared views and opinions of the Fulcrum’s editorial staff. This editorial was originally written as an op-ed by the Fulcrum’s multimedia director Hailey Otten. Due to the quality of its content, it was edited into an editorial. To share your own views, email editor@thefulcrum.ca.