Jordan Klepper visits the Canada trucker protesters

As part of his ongoing series of videos where he talks to those who are part of the anti-vax, right-wing, QAnon, Trump-supporting movement, he went to Ottawa in Canada and finds that the people who are blockading the city center say pretty much the same things that people who attend the Trump rallies in the US say, which is mostly nonsense veiled in rhetoric of freedom.

The truckers say they are protesting requirements that require them to be vaccinated when they cross the US-Canada border. What surprises me is that Canada has one of the highest rates of vaccination in the world, over 90%, so you have to imagine that these people really represent a very small segment of the population. And yet they have managed to shut down traffic in the city center for three weeks, mainly by parking big trucks in the streets.

The police have finally moved in to clear the protestors.

Canadian police on Saturday used pepper spray and stun grenades to try to restore normality to the capital, Ottawa, after trucks and demonstrators occupied the downtown core for more than three weeks in a protest against pandemic restrictions.

After clearing a portion of the blockade and making more than 100 arrests on Friday, police on Saturday morning moved quickly to disperse the main portion of the blockade in front of parliament and the prime minister’s office, making new arrests.

Several large trucks that have been parked in front of parliament for weeks drove away as the police cordon approached.

Again on Saturday, police smashed vehicle windows to make arrests. But the overall number of protesters had dwindled dramatically.

I was wondering why the truckers had not been cited and had their trucks towed long before this. Surely what they did was, at a minimum, a parking violation?


  1. maggie says

    The trucks were not towed because the local tow truck operators refused to do the job, even the ones under contract with the city of Ottawa. They were either sympathetic to the truckers’ cause or afraid because of threats from the truckers. The Emergency Measures Act gave the government the powers to compel the tow trucks to do the job they were contracted to do.

  2. Rob Grigjanis says

    In addition to what maggie said, the Ottawa police simply didn’t have the manpower to do much against such a mob. Currently, there are contingents from other Ontario municipalities, the Ontario Provincial Police, the Sûreté du Québec (Quebec Provincial Police), and the RCMP. Today, I heard that there were also contingents from Edmonton and Vancouver.

    Reassigning all those cops, arranging transport and accommodation, building temporary holding cells, etc takes time. The Emergencies Act, among other things, enabled use of out-of-province officers without having to swear them all in.

  3. Mano Singham says

    Maggie @#1.

    Thanks! That important point was not emphasized in the US media reports that I saw.

  4. Canadian Steve says

    There’s a lot to unpack with these protests (loose description of protest -- it doesn’t fully capture what was going on). Here’s a few of my key points.
    -- the truckers were the excuse, but none of the “leaders” was actually a trucker. The infiltration of far right influencers brought in the vast majority of the crowds
    -- the authorities badly misjudged, and thought they would go away after a few days
    -- a small percentage of millions of people is a lot of people -- this represents a tiny minority of Canadians, but it’s enough to cause a big problem
    -- material support from the right wing fundraising apparatus enabled protesters do be more disruptive and stay longer than they otherwise could have
    but most importantly:
    -- almost all of the people here have been misled by the right wing disinformation network. With few exceptions they truly believe many falsehoods, including but not limited to vaccine safety and effectiveness, what their rights actually are, and that traditional media is untrustworthy.
    this last point is most troublesome, because it is so hard to break these people out of this deception because they have been so taken in that their worldview depends on it.

  5. maggie says

    Mano@#5 You are welcome. I have been watching the live feed on the CBC news channel and the CTV news channel. The trucks are mostly gone now, many of their own volition. When faced with have their rigs being towed, confiscated and sold, they suddenly grew brains and left. Imagine that. The Emergencies Act also gave the government the power to freeze bank accounts, when they have been doing. Money from Gofundme, GiveSendGo and other crowdfunding sources isn’t going to be there to pay for confiscated trucks so I imagine that had something to do with their decision to leave.

  6. jrkrideau says

    @ 7 maggie
    And let us not forget the 10 million dollar class action suit filed by the young civil servant plus I heard an interview with Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa, saying that he thinks, that under the Emergency Measures Act the City of Ottawa can confiscate and sell off any vehicle, etc., they towed or removed.

  7. StonedRanger says

    So let me get this straight. They are protesting the vaccine requirements because by not being vaccinated they are not able to make a living. So instead of just getting vaccinated, they decided to further restrict their abilities to earn an income for three weeks by protesting? That sounds even dumber when I type it out. Am I missing something here or is this just more right wing nonsense?

  8. Rob Grigjanis says

    StonedRanger @9:

    Am I missing something here or is this just more right wing nonsense?

    Of course it’s right wing nonsense. The tragedy is that so many people believe it. A sign carried by a protester: “PFIZER HURTS MY UTERUS”. I feel sorry for the people duped by the disinformation.

    The protesters were told by their leaders that the police wouldn’t arrest them. Meanwhile, one of their leaders ran away, after telling them to “hold the line”.

  9. maggie says

    @8jrkrideau. Brave young woman. She has also been threatened. The class action suits are ballooning way past 10 million. And yet, one of the organizers -- Tamara Lich -- was whining that she has no money to get home since her bank account is frozen. So, he husband is coming to get her in a private jet. Wonder who is paying that tab?

    @9StonedRanger. Yes, they are that dumb. In addition, when they are convicted of a criminal offense, they won’t be able to cross the border anyways. Vaccine mandates come and vaccine mandates go but a criminal conviction is usually there forever. Right wing nonsense indeed.

  10. jrkrideau says

    @ Mano
    I would not have a lot of confidence in US reporting. Or most other nationalities, reporting or even Canadian though CBC and CTV seem relatively accurate. It is a messy situation.

    I was “impressed” by the reports of a protestor being kicked by an RCMP horse. No confirmation in the Canadian press that anyone was hurt and the Mounted Unit are Toronto Police Service not RCMP. This level of accuracy is not reassuring.

    It was reported that someone did throw a bicycle or trike at a horse. This seems likely to be true. The horse was not hurt, AFAIK.

  11. davebot says

    @9 It’s even sillier than that. One of their fig leaf claims (reality is the organizers are a bunch of far right, white nationalists that are anti union) is that they can’t work because of the mandate, so they shut down the border crossings which prevented hundreds of truckers from working. So they’re inflicting the exact pain on truckers their protest is supposed to remedy. The whole thing is a grift, at best, a right-wing extremist recruiting tool, at worst.

  12. jrkrideau says

    @ 14 rojmiller
    Thanks. So far I remain dubious of the horse incident but it is possible. OTOH the SIU must investigate.

    Tear gas seems unlikely but a lot of pepper spray is. As a veteran protestor pointed out to me today it looks like most of the occupiers have never attended a demo in their lives so pepper spray == tear gas is a possible explanation.

  13. Rob Grigjanis says

    A scene from yesterday. A woman walks up to a CBC reporter and says “they pepper-sprayed me, and took my husband!”. She then says something like “I’m not telling you any more”, walks a short distance away and tells someone else “they turned the mike off on me!”.

  14. jrkrideau says

    @ Rob Grigjanis
    I saw the horse action on CBC. A broken clavicle sounds likely. Suggestion to demonstrators: Do not do that unless you have a company of Swiss pikes in the first line.

    @ 17
    I thought the funniest and most naive was her saying she did not know where her husband was. Duh, check the paddy wagon lady.

  15. rojmiller says

    The broken clavicle indeed! I saw an interview shortly after with what appeared to me to be that woman, in a wheelchair but still at the demonstration, saying that they had broken her hip with the horse knocking her over! Instant self-diagnosis it appears, or is that just called lying? I was suspicious because there was no way she could have been taken for treatment and then brought back to the demonstration in a wheelchair!

    And, she needed a wheelchair for a broken shoulder? I guess I should have been in a wheelchair for the last 6 weeks with my broken arm! Setup to claim police brutality, obviously. I don’t believe a word from any of those protesters based on what I’ve seen. Gone full Trump, as if saying anything makes it true or believable.

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