OTTAWA — Thousands of truckers and their supporters and critics gathered in Ottawa on Saturday for a protest against vaccine mandates, COVID-19 restrictions and the Liberal government.
While many expressed concern with public health restrictions such as vaccine mandates, mask mandates and gathering limits, others attended the rally to counter-protest the convoy’s message and express support for measures to slow the spread of the virus.
Here are some key quotes from the rally on Parliament Hill and reaction to the protest from across Canada.
Tom Pappin, Ottawa
“I can travel freely through the border, and not be in contact with anyone. Yet I’m locked into my own country right now. I can’t go on a holiday. I can’t go to a restaurant, I can’t go bowling. I can’t go to a movie. You know, these are things that it’s just gotten out of control.”
Karen Klus, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.
“We’re here now we need to fix this. We’ve got this amount of momentum going.”
“Masks are important, vaccines are important, and mandates are important only because we need them to stay alive and not fill our hospitals up.”
Eric Simmons, Oshawa, Ont.
“I think all mandates should be ended. They’re not effective, they’re not working. It’s not changing anything. We can’t keep living like this. People are losing their jobs because they don’t want to get the vaccine. Truckers drew a line in the sand, which is good. I think it should have happened sooner.”
Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West, in reaction to protestors using the Terry Fox statue to hold a protest placard with the words “Mandate Freedom,” in a tweet
“I’m the Mayor of Terry Fox’s hometown. He’s our city’s hero, national inspiration and a unifier. Whatever your cause, you don’t get to appropriate his legacy and you don’t touch his statue. Ever.”
James Moore, national vice-chair of the Canadian Cancer Society and former MP and industry minister, in a tweet
“Terry Fox died of cancer that he exacerbated on his Marathon of Hope running across Canada trying to raise money to fight a deadly disease – quite the opposite of what’s happening here. Have a protest, do your thing, don’t disrespect this monument of a Canadian hero.”
“I just want you to let you guys know that you don’t have to answer to anybody. We are free Canadians.”
“You guys are the ones that drove these boys here,” referring to the truckers who drove to the nation’s capital. “To finally see you guys stand up, and say ‘No,’ is the most amazing thing I’ve seen yet.”
Luke Winkels, Woodstock, Ont. Retired from trucking after 38 years due to vaccine mandate.
“This is a lot more than just COVID. This is about control, tyranny. They’ve kept us all divided and afraid of each other. This has brought people’s true feelings out and it’s not going back in the box again. You know the heart of the people is behind us.”
Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre on Twitter
“The truckers I’ve met today have been peaceful, kind and patriotic. I’ve not seen anyone dressed up in blackface or other racist costumes.”
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe in statement
“Because vaccination is not reducing transmission, the current federal border policy for truckers makes no sense. An unvaccinated trucker does not pose any greater risk of transmission than a vaccinated trucker. However, the current federal policy does pose a significant risk to Canada’s economy and to the supply chain.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 29, 2022.
The Canadian Press