Lawrie McFarlane: Is the “freedom convoy” a nascent political movement?

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As loud and sometimes obnoxious as trucker protests are, there is something new here. Many of the rallies we have seen in the past two years have been organized by centre-left groups with somewhat sparse agendas.

As loud and sometimes obnoxious as trucker protests are, there is something new here. Many of the rallies we have seen in the past two years have been organized by centre-left groups with somewhat sparse agendas.

There have also been protests from ethnic minorities, particularly First Nations groups.

But the truckers’ uprising looks different in ways that should concern our country’s politicians. They are mostly blue collar, working class men and women that you don’t usually find on the streets.

Although some media outlets alleged violent and disrespectful behavior, the vast majority of protesters were peaceful. Their trucks are draped in patriotic symbols. Maple leaf flags are everywhere.

Yes, a clown fitted his half-ton with an ear-busting locomotive siren. And yes, stopping traffic in the nation’s capital for days is unacceptable. Isn’t that why we have a police force?

So why should our politicians worry? Last week, after the most smug provincial throne speech in recent history, we were assured that all was well and that British Columbia was leading the country in bringing people together.

Times Colonist Columnist Les Leyne chose to disagree: “If Premier John Horgan thinks BC has avoided polarization and division, he wasn’t trying to travel on weekends. Anyone in government who thinks this place is more harmonious than elsewhere when it comes to pandemic polarization is mistaken about the situation.

And indeed, opinion polls show that a growing majority of Canadians are fed up with COVID-related restrictions and want to get on with their lives. This is, in essence, the subject of the truckers’ demonstration.

But there is a deeper problem here. In 2009, an American populist movement known as the Tea Party arose. He laid the groundwork for Donald Trump’s surprise victory in 2016.

Yet when it first emerged, this movement was widely decried and derided by the talkative classes as a bunch of misinformed yahoos taking action. The same charge has been leveled against Trump’s rise to power.

We have seen a similar form of condescending and dismissive treatment of the Brexit campaign in Britain.

In each of these cases, usually silent voices have risen and found an audience.

To everyone’s surprise, their message resonated far beyond the borders of the original movement.

The message from truckers? That COVID policies were imposed in a way that seemed increasingly arbitrary and brutal. More importantly, these restrictions disproportionately affected low-income employees who could not work from home.

And most relevant is that the political class on both sides of the aisle either ignored them or tried to silence them.

Here is Justin Trudeau in this outfit: “The small minority of people who are heading to Ottawa, who have unacceptable opinions that they express, do not represent the opinions of Canadians … who know that following the science and stepping up to protect each other is the best way to guarantee our rights, our freedoms, our values ​​as a country.

Trudeau followed this by invoking the Emergencies Act (which replaced the War Measures Act).

This is the Prime Minister trying to fix bridges with a cattle prod.

We’ll see where that leads. A straw fire, perhaps? Or a budding political movement with momentum on its side.

If our political leaders have convinced themselves that this is a purely temporary surge, soon to be subdued by majority opinion, the image of Donald Trump should focus their opinions.

Trudeau followed this up by invoking the Emergencies Act (aka the War Measures Act).

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