Imagine if Canada’s “Freedom Convoy” were a Leftist Protest

On Canada’s Freedom Convoy and the mistreatment of Leftist movements.

Ottawagraphics/Pixabay

For the first time in Canadian history, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau utilized the Emergencies Acts in response to an ongoing “Freedom Convoy.” This group started with a small minority of truckers who were protesting Canada’s vaccine mandates. Yet, it has expanded beyond the trucking industry, as the group is now invoking alt-right imagery, according to Vox.

“Hate symbols — including Nazi swastikas — have appeared, and local residents have reported being harassed and assaulted by protesters,” Anya van Wagtendonk wrote. She is a misinformation reporter for the solutions journalism outlet Grid.

Despite this disruption to life in Ottawa, Canada, it took the Canadian government and police three weeks to respond to the convoy. For the global news outlet The Conversation, Audra Diptée said, “[I]t is clear that the failure of the police to protect the residents of Ottawa by controlling this protest earlier is a part of the legacy of colonialism in Canada.”

“On 5 June, an estimated 20,000 people took part in protest and march in front of Parliament Hill, the United States Embassy, and continued past the Senate of Canada Building, to the Human Rights Monument.” (Credit: Jean Levac/Wikimedia Commons)

She adds that there is a low tolerance for Black protests in Canada, citing demonstrations in 2016 and 2020 that were shut down almost immediately. In Toronto in 2016, a Black Lives Matter action ended with protestors being tear-gassed and beaten. In 2020, protests were stopped within three days and ended with twelve arrests.

Yet, when it came to the Freedom Convoy, they were allowed to occupy Ottawa for three weeks with little governmental interference. As Teen Vogue reported, “During Indigenous Wet’suwet’en protests in 2020, Erin O’Toole…proclaimed that he would make it a criminal offense to participate in public infrastructure blockades. On January 28, he met with protesters on their way to Ottawa, writing that they are ‘our neighbors, our family, and most importantly, they are our fellow Canadians’.”

It is interesting that O’Toole would call the members of the convoy “fellow Canadians” after criminalizing a peaceful Indigenous protest. According to some, this difference in response is a result of white supremacy in Canadian society.

Véronic Gagnon/Wikimedia Commons

Teen Vogue further reports that this protest could be seen as a contributor to the rise in far-right extremism. This rise was evidenced by events such as the January 6, 2021 insurrections in Washington, D.C. Strangely enough, Donald Trump, who incited these insurrections, has also expressed support for the freedom convoy.

Really, this convoy has reached an international stage. In the U.S., there are similar events planned. “One proposed convoy aims to leave from Fresno in California on 2 March, taking the I-10 interstate straight to the capital, where it would arrive on 6 March,” Justin Ling wrote for The Guardian. It has also reached Australia, although a photo boasting millions of supporters was misleading, Politifact noted.

New Zealand and France have too joined the dissent against vaccine mandates and assent into far-right extremism.

This display of white fragility has been referred to as “aggrieved entitlement” by Michael Kimmel. “Aggrieved Entitlement” is a concept where the things that people feel entitled to are taken away from them, and it results in violence. This convoy is an example of aggrieved entitlement because 90% of the truckers in Canada are vaccinated.

After all, this was never just a protest, Slate reports. “The truth is, this group was armed and dangerous from the start,” they state. “Some 400 hate incidents have been reported, and among the Canadian flags on hockey sticks, there’s Nazi imagery and a kaleidoscope of flags associated with extremist movements—including, at times, Confederate flags.”

This display of white fragility has been referred to as “aggrieved entitlement” by Michael Kimmel. “Aggrieved Entitlement” is a concept where the things that people feel entitled to are taken away from them, and it results in violence. This convoy is an example of aggrieved entitlement because 90% of the truckers in Canada are vaccinated.

Ottawagraphics/Pixabay

This 10% “protesting” (if we’ll call it that) is joined by others who are not employed by the trucking industry, which begs the question: what are they really fighting against? This aggrieved entitlement is not limited to Canada, though.

In the U.S., it manifests itself in the protests against critical race theory. In Indiana, there was recently an opt-out option for the Black History Month curriculum. This is important because it comes as culturally competent educators have received death threats, according to Newsweek.

With the ire against critical race theory and leftism, it will be interesting to see if Canada, the U.S., and other countries will take far-right extremism seriously. Is this Red Scare in the 2020s? Potentially. ~ℝ

Author

  • Javanna is the editor of "Rwebel Magazine," the architect behind "Rwebel Radio," and the pioneering force of "Xscape." Through her words, Javanna hopes to inspire creativity, passion, and forward-thinking.

About This Rwebel

Leave a Reply