Borders Heat Up: Freedom Convoys & Human Smuggling

Aerial View of Freedom Convoy protesting in Ottawa, ON
Aerial View of Freedom Convoy protesting in Ottawa, ON

More than two sides are affected by the new border restrictions.

Billions of dollars worth of goods get transported through the borders between Canada and the USA. These borders are key to our Export & Import Industry which supports manufacturers, distributors, consumers and trucking companies. 

The new border requirements as set out by the governments of both Canada and the USA, if you don’t have your vaccination, you cannot cross the borders into Canada or the USA. The ruling northbound into Canada went into affect on January 15, 2022, for the USA borders this ruling went into affect on January 22, 2022. 

While many of us have been working from home during this Covid-19 Pandemic, there is one demographic in the working world that perhaps has been forgotten, Truck Drivers. The essential goods that we take for granted every day are being supplied to us by the essential truck drivers who workday and night on the roads picking up and delivering our essential goods, if we don’t have them, we simply don’t get the goods that we all need such as food, water, fuel and medicine. 

We all are knowledgeable about the Freedom Convoy going on currently which is being led by truck drivers (not trucking companies) all over the Country of Canada and now also in the USA. What is this Freedom Convoy about? Bottom line: everyone is sick and tired of being locked in, being told what to do and not living their lives the way they always have with the freedom of choices and the abilities to spend time with families, friends and “work”, that “norm” has been gone since March 15, 2020; it’s been a very long 2 years for everyone. We all have the freedom of choice as to whether we want to get vaccinated or not, if we don’t we can’t go into restaurants, bars, some stores, travel, but for some people – more specifically – truck drivers, they Must get vaccinated if they cross the borders in and out of Canada/USA, which as a truck driver they do on a daily basis as this is part of their job. For truck drivers – you must get vaccinated or do domestic loads only, hence the large freedom of rights convoy. Truck drivers aren’t out there to cause terror, damage, scarcity, or any harm to anyone, they are out there because they feel that their rights have been taken away when they do not have a choice whether to get vaccinated or not. It is not up to the rest of us to judge them. They went to Ottawa because it’s the nation’s capital and where they felt they would be heard by the Prime Minister.

There are very few goods that are not being affected by these rulings given that truck drivers are being forced to either get their vaccinations or they can no longer cross the borders; this is their job, their way of providing for their families. Now, for health reasons it is obviously recommended that everyone gets the vaccines to prevent them from catching Covid-19. The current vaccines cover the variants that were known at the time of the production of these vaccines however does not cover the new strain called Omicron, the vaccination producers such as Moderna and Pfizer are currently working on a new booster that will also cover this. Viruses like SARS-CoV-2 aka Covid-19, continuously evolve as changes in the genetic code causing what we know as Variants. Those who have been vaccinated will not catch the deadly version of Covid-19 but may catch the omicron variant, however, the symptoms will be very mild in comparison to those who have not been vaccinated (as stated by PHAC & CDC).

The prices of goods are rising and will continue to rise out of control as the trucking industry has been hit largely. There are disruptions of all essential supplies including but not limited to: Foods, feed for animals, water, fuel, building & construction materials, medicines and the list goes on. Of course, there are arguments ongoing for both sides, those who have been vaccinated and those who choose not to be vaccinated for various reasons. The bigger issue is that the governments of both Canada and the USA have made it an absolute requirement now that anyone who wants to cross the borders into Canada and or into the USA Must be vaccinated. According to the PHAC & CDC, in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19, these vaccines are necessary. 

Coutts, Alberta roadblock

The Truckers Freedom Convoy with truckers driving from BC, AB, SK, MB, ON, NB, NS, all the way to Ottawa, ON the nations Capital, while trying to fight for the freedom of choice in Canada; essential goods are now not being carried which is directly affecting the supply chain for both countries. Some borders are being blocked as the truck convoy blocks the highways such as Milk River, Alberta which is located at the Coutts, Alberta/Sweetgrass, Montana crossing. The USA truckers have joined the Canadian truckers on their side of the borders having Freedom Rallies in Buffalo, NY, Washington, DC and in California. There are major border delays across all Canada/USA border points so be prepared if you are going to travel across the borders.

To date it has been reported that 90% of truck drivers have been vaccinated, the 10% who have not, actually represent quite a significant number of drivers; British Columbia for example reported that is about 1,000 truck drivers that they know of are not vaccinated. As for the rest of Canada we are looking at many many thousands more. 

Coutts/Pembina border crossing point
Coutts/Pembina border crossing point
Pressure mounting as borders get blocked in Canada
Pressure mounting as borders get blocked in Canada

What people are not noticing or hearing about in the news is that Border Security is being seriously affected. There is a surge of illegal migration and immigration happening at the borders of Canada/USA. Prime Minister Trudeau called this “Irregular immigration tactics”. This is Human Smuggling and it is now at an all time high with a new demographic being exploited. People from other countries who are desperate to give their families a better life than where they are from such as India, are being held victim to these illegal human smugglers; such a case just happened: On a snow filled field during a recent blizzard, -35C, in Manitoba just 10 meters from the Emerson, Manitoba/Pembina, ND border, a young family was found dead, frozen to death in the elements of blizzard conditions. This family had recently arrived from India landing by plane in Toronto, ON, they had paid a man a significant amount of money, now identified as 47 year old Steve Shand from Florida, who promised them he would get them into the USA through Canada; all they had to do was to follow another man (who abandoned them there) through the snow ridden fields of Manitoba for 11 hours where they would meet Shand at the border point who would then drive them on to a location in the USA. The family, we now know their names were Patel, included a man, woman, teenage girl and their baby. Having just come from India they had no idea what extreme winter weather was like and were unprepared. The man took them through treacherous conditions, endless fields with extensive snow drifts and extreme cold temperatures, including nighttime darkness, they were apparently destined for St. Vincent, Minnesota. The RCMP Integrated Border Enforcement Team received concerning information from the US Customs & Border Protection that they had apprehended a group of 7 individuals from India who had crossed into the US from Canada just south of Emerson, Manitoba. One of the adults was carrying items that were meant for an infant, but no infant was found with this group. This led to the RCMP and CBP officers within 1 minute of receiving this information to launch a search and rescue mission on both sides of the borders to set out to find this infant and any others that could potentially be out there. The conditions were very challenging due to a blizzard, within 4 hours, on snowmobiles through snowy fields in Manitoba, 3 individuals were found, 1 male, 1 female and 1 infant, they continued the search and discovered a teenage girl just a couple of meters away from them, unfortunately, they had all died from severe exposure to extreme weather conditions, they were just 10 meters from the border, had they gone just 10 meters more they might have survived this horrible ordeal. Steve Shand, the 47-year-old Florida resident, who was behind this family’s smuggling attempt, has been arrested for his involvement, he has done this many times before with other people and families as well as was involved with the other 7 individuals who were apprehended at the US border.

Freedom convoy human smuggling of Patel family
Patel Family with respect, rest in peace

Understanding that families like the Patels are wanting a better life for their families and wanting to reconnect with their relatives who are already in either Canada or the USA. The Government of India has proposed to the Canadian Government a very comprehensive migration and mobility partnership agreement to Canada. 


The contents of this article are fact based as I always write. I don’t often write my “opinion”, however, in my opinion this story had to be told and this human smuggling that is obviously tragic and is killing people needs to stop. As for the freedom convoy, while I understand completely the need to get our essential supplies moving again, we do live in a free country, albeit socialist, but we should have the right to decide what is best for ourselves and our families and losing jobs over a vaccine mandate is not freedom, we do live in Canada remember. Also remember that individuals are free to protest but they do not represent the trucking companies themselves who are being hit hard because of the protests. We are not here on earth to judge others. We can only perfect our own world and our own selves, we cannot perfect ourselves as long as we are looking for imperfections in others. The only difference between a flower and a weed is a judgement. 


Stay Safe and Healthy Out There!