Jagment Singh, leader of the left-of-center New Democratic Party (NDP), on Monday morning called for an emergency session of parliament. “It is clear that this is not a protest; this is an act to try to overthrow the government, and it is getting funded by foreign interference and we need to investigate and stop that—stop the flow of that foreign interference, particularly coming from the [United] States,” Singh told reporters.
At Monday’s emergency session of the House of Commons, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau denounced the protesters. “Ottawans don’t deserve to be harassed in their neighborhoods or confronted with the inherent violence of swastikas or Confederate flags or insults and jeers just because they are wearing a mask,” Trudeau said.
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? And the Canadian protesters have been embraced by many Republicans, most notably Cruz, who was born in Calgary, Alberta, and once had dual U.S.-Canadian citizenship. He gave up his Canadian citizenship in 2014.
On Sunday, Cruz tweeted: “God bless these Canadian truck drivers. They’re defending Canada, America, and they’re standing up for freedom! The government doesn’t have the right to force you to comply to their arbitrary mandates.”
Cruz linked to a Fox News interview in which he called the protesting Canadian truckers “heroes” and “patriots.” He denounced Facebook for deleting a page calling for a truckers’ protest in Washington, D.C.
On Saturday, Cruz was slapped down by the mayor of Vancouver, British Columbia. Mayor Kennedy Stewart had told the anti-vaxx truckers to stay away from Vancouver. Cruz responded in a tweet by saying Vancouver residents might feel differently when store shelves are empty. Stewart fired back by noting that 90% of Canadian truckers are fully vaccinated and the store shelves are not empty.
Donald Trump also declared his full support for the Canadian truckers protest in a statement issued Friday:
“The Freedom Convoy is peacefully protesting the harsh policies of far left lunatic Justin Trudeau who has destroyed Canada with insane Covid mandates. Now, thankfully, the Freedom Convoy could be coming to DC with American Truckers who want to protest Biden’s ridiculous Covid policies.
The so-called “Freedom Convoy” of truckers and their supporter began arriving in Ottawa on Jan. 28. They were protesting an order requiring truckers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to cross the U.S.-Canadian border. But it has expanded into a demonstration against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government and its support for coronavirus mandates. There have been similar protests in other major Canadian cities.
On Monday night, the Detroit Free Press reported that the truckers’ protest had shut down traffic on the Ambassador Bridge connecting the U.S. city with Windsor, Ontario.
The Guardian reported that the occupation of Ottawa came about “as a result of unprecedented coordination between various anti-vaccine and anti-government organizations and activists. The newspaper said the convoy was “the brainchild” of James Bauder, an admitted conspiracy theorist who has endorsed the QAnon movement and called COVID-19 “the biggest political scam in history.” Bauder’s group, Canada Unity, contends that vaccine mandates and passports are illegal under Canada’s constitution and a host of international conventions, including the post-World War II Nuremberg Code, which set ethics standards for human medical experiments.
Other fringe groups listed on the Canada Unity website include Hold Fast Canada, which organized protests outside the headquarters of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and Action4Canada. Until recently, a litany of organizations had protested Canada’s strict public health measures, but largely in isolation. One such group, Hold Fast Canada, had organized pickets of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s headquarters, where they claimed that concentration camps had already been introduced in the country.
Another group, Action4Canada, launched legal challenges to mask and vaccine mandates. In one 400-page court filing, they allege that the “false pronouncement of a COVID-19 ‘pandemic’” was carried out, at least in part, by Bill Gates and a “New World (Economic) Order” to facilitate the injection of 5G-enabled microchips into the population. Both groups are listed as “participating groups” on the Canada Unity website, and sent vehicles and personnel to join the convoy.
Right-wingers in the U.S. have been donating millions of dollars to support the Canadian truckers’ protest. After Ottawa police expressed concern that nearly $10 million had been raised on a Freedom Convoy 2022 fundraising page, GoFundMe took down the page on Friday, saying it violated its terms of service.
Initially, GoFundMe said donors would have two weeks to request a refund with any remaining funds to be distributed to “credible and established charities.” But that prompted an immediate backlash from prominent Republicans.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis accused GoFundMe of “fraud” and asked Florida’s attorney general to investigate its “deceptive practices.”
And Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton also spoke out:
GoFundMe backtracked and issued a statement Saturday that all contributions would automatically be refunded to donors.
On Monday, Canada’s public safety minister, Marco Mendicino, hit back at the high-level Republicans who have declared support for the truckers’ protest, The Washington Post reported.
He singled out Paxton among others, saying:
“It is certainly not the concern of the Texas attorney general as to how we in Canada go about our daily lives in accordance with the rule of law.”
“We need to be vigilant about potential foreign interference. … Whatever statements may have been made by some foreign official are neither here nor there,” Mendicino said during a news briefing.
In Ottawa, police have begun to take stronger measures against the protesters. A judge granted an injunction against honking in downtown Ottawa, and police have arrested people trying to deliver fuel to the convoy’s staging area, the Ottawa Citizen reported.
The Canadian Trucking Alliance, the nation’s main advocacy group for truckers, said the overwhelming majority of its members are fully vaccinated and working, according to the Ottawa Citizen. The Ontario Trucking Association also disavowed the protests.
Ottawa residents have also taken action. On Friday, a $9.8 million class action complaint was filed on behalf of Ottawa residents against the truckers convoy for incessantly blasting their air horns for up to 16 hours a day while blocking streets. This is what Ottawa residents have had to put up with. Caution: If you have sensitive hearing, don’t listen to this video:
The protests have caused downtown businesses to close and some workers have been attacked.
University of Ottawa associate criminology professor Michael Kempa linked the protests in Canada and the U.S. Kempa told CBC-TV that the movement in Canada is fundamentally organized and funded by those with an autocratic political agenda, including American interests. “They’re people interested in undoing the conventional state system, and replacing the Canadian democratic model with something that is much more grassroots authoritarian and far-right conservative,” Kempa said. “Generally, they are outside, and intent on dismantling, the political mainstream. They’re not interested in the … liberal system we have here in Canada.”
Kempa suggested the military should reestablish order.
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