“Freedom Convoy” set to pass through Regina on trek to Ottawa

A convoy of truckers protesting federally enforced vaccine mandates for cross border trucking is about to roll into Regina, as they make their trek onward to Ottawa.

Branded a “freedom convoy” – the protest is meant to draw attention to a policy that many feel is unfair to truck drivers choosing to not get fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Statistically the Canadian Trucking association says that drivers are for the most part vaccinated, a percentage that is estimated to be close to 90%.

CTA President Stephen Laskowski said the following in a statement released by the Trucking Association. “The Government of Canada and the Unites States have now made being vaccinated a requirement to cross the border. This regulation is not changing, so as an industry, we must adapt and comply with this mandate. The only way to cross the border in a commercial truck or any other vehicle – is to get vaccinated.

A GoFundme campaign has raised more than $3,000,000 for the “freedom convoy”, as worries swirl around the impact that the mandate may have on the supply chain. The GoFundMe campaign was started by an individual named Tamara Lich. Internet searches point to a connection with the Maverick Party of Alberta. A group which is part of the “Wexit” movement which seeks to  separate  Canada’s western provinces from the rest of the country.

The storm around the federal vaccine policy seemed to be brewing a few weeks ago. The mandate was put through, it was then reversed, and then reinstated. Saskatchewan Trucking Associations Susan Ewert was interviewed by CKRM on January 11th, 2022. In the conversation Ewart pointed to the fact that there were a number of factors contributing to supply chain worries.

“Right now across Canada there are about 23,000 vacant positions. It’s expected with the mandate we may lose an additional 16,000 drivers. There is a huge labor shortage as the economy is slowly trying to recover from the pandemic – forcing these issues right now may not be the best way to go.”

Ewart added that an aging workforce nearing retirement may have seen this mandate as the thing that forced their retirement.

Politicians across Canada have been cautious when speaking about the convoy and the mandates – Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe appeared to come out in support of the drivers during a press conference January 24th.

“The federal government policy mandating vaccines for truckers to go back and forth across the border is an unnecessary policy. And one that will have unfortunately, potentially some significant impact on us accessing some essential services, including food that we need in our communities.”

The convoy was expected to come through the city of Regina at 5PM January 24th, was delayed by road conditions just outside of Swift Current.

 

 

 

 

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