It is now the 14th day of an occupation by the Freedom 2022 Convoy in downtown Ottawa. Elsewhere demonstrators have blocked and closed three border crossings to the U.S., including the Ambassador Bridge, the busiest border crossing in North America. Many wonder where is our leadership when we need it most? In the meantime, the nation waits.
Many of these events of the Freedom 2022 Convoy have damaged our economy, disrupted our supply chain, closed down factories, and hurt many Canadian citizens financially, psychologically, and perhaps more.
Yes, we all have a right to demonstrate in this country. The Freedom 2022 Convoy used that right. Now it seems they are abusing it. Finally, what is going on in Ottawa and at the border has been acknowledged as illegal.
Many are in fear and do not know what they can do about what is happening. There is anger brewing across the country. Much of this anger is because it appears as if nothing is happening to resolve the situation.
In Ottawa, trucks were allowed to pour into the core and park on one of the city’s main streets in front of parliament. If it were my vehicle, it would be towed away within the hour. That street is a no-stopping zone, let alone a no parking zone. The arrival of the Convoy was known well in advance. Yet it seems that the plan that Ottawa Police had for that arrival, was no plan.
The Convoy was untested as it made constant loud noise at all times of the day or night while idling and polluting as they parked and blocked city streets. Then they were allowed to build temporary buildings on government land and shuttle fuel back and forth to trucks. Topping it all was, the Convoy didn’t even have a city permit to demonstrate.
By now, demonstrators must feel they can act with fearless impunity as far as the Ottawa Police are concerned. As an Ottawa citizen, it feels like we welcomed the Convoy with open arms into our city and then let them get away with all sorts of bylaws and traffic offenses.
The City of Ottawa has done nothing else to expedite the Convoy’s departure. It took a private citizen, with more initiative and spunk than Ottawa officials, to obtain a court injunction halting the incessant horn blowing.
Provincial Premier Doug Ford seems to have disappeared and has not been visible for a week now in media, at least from this vantage point in Ottawa. Perhaps if the events were unfolding in his beloved Toronto, the story might be different.
The OPP and the RCMP are supposed to beef up Ottawa Police and their efforts, but the trucks still maintain their vigil across from Parliament.
The most important events are at the three closed U.S. border crossings.
Food, manufactured goods, health products, auto supplies, you name it are going back and forth at these crossings. Factory production lines are closing due to a lack of supply. In winter, Canada imports large amounts of fruit and vegetables and other fresh foods. They will rot inside a stopped truck. They are not arriving on Canadian tables.
An already injured supply does not need any more interruptions. Our economy depends on cross-border trade. Lives, careers, and peoples’ collective well-being are dependent and at risk.
The world is watching what unfolds here. Are they snickering at the politeness and kindness we offer those conducting so-called illegal activities?
This so-called demonstration turned into an insurrection is now of national and international concern. Where are our elected officials to speak out? Where is our leadership to lead us?
When the dust settles on the events surrounding the Freedom 2022 Convoy, there will be political lives that come to an end at all levels of government.
Meanwhile, the trucks sit idle, the border remains closed, and a nation waits. Waits for leadership to lead.