Support and resources for those impacted by the “Freedom Convoy”

February 18, 2022
Content warning: This blog includes information around white supremacy, racism, and violence

A so-called “freedom convoy” of protestors have gathered in Ottawa since late January, and as we write this post, more are gathering across Canada. While it’s being framed as a protest against vaccine mandates – in response to the government announcing that the exemption for long-haul truckers is ending – let’s be clear; this is about white supremacy and fascism.

On February 14, Justin Trudeau announced that for the first time in Canadian history that he would invoke The Emergencies Act, which would give the federal government sweeping powers to limit civic rights to assemble across the country. Let’s be clear: more policing and a greater clamp down on civil liberties is not the answer. Instead, we need to see the government provide real supports to people who’ve been struggling through the pandemic, including workers whose incomes have been impacted.

The past few years have been exhausting, we’re tired and angry too. But it’s important we hold the right people responsible; the rich and powerful. While workers across the country have been struggling to make ends meet, billionaires have used the pandemic to line their pockets at the expense of the rest of us.

Black communities, Indigenous communities, poor communities and communities of colour have been targeted throughout these occupations. News articles and first-hand testimonies have been documenting disturbing assaults and harassment escalating on the streets of Ottawa, and around the country. And beyond the physical harassment, hateful symbols have been publicly on display in a way that is deeply traumatizing for many communities of colour and Jewish people in particular. At the core, this is fundamentally about the rise and normalization of white nationalism and fascism. This isn’t just limited to Canada though, hatred isn’t limited to the confines of borders. Funding for the convoy has been supported by hate groups in the United States and Europe, and is proof that challenging this violence means challenging the roots of inequality, racism and supremacy around the world.

We can’t let this stand – we must come together and call on people to stop normalizing and spreading hate.

However you feel about vaccines, this is not about vaccine mandates – 90% of truckers are vaccinated, with industry groups increasingly distancing themselves from the convoy. This is however, the way the far right is mobilizing and growing power in Canada. And that is a reality we need to heed and out-organize on the left.

This pandemic has let so many of us fall through the cracks, and laid systemic injustice bare. But we can use it as our chance to build the kinds of solidarity and community care that allow all of us to have what we need to survive and thrive.

If you want to stand against this divisiveness and violence, here are some resources as a starting point:

If you have experienced or witnessed any form of violence:

If you want to make a donation in solidarity with people and communities most impacted by this occupation:

  • Assembly of Seven Generations: Indigenous owned and youth-led, non-profit organization offering cultural support, emergency support, meals and transportation for Indigenous youth.
  • Shepherds of Good Hope: Works to provide permanent housing for the unhoused community, crisis support services and innovative harm reduction programs. Convoy members harassed staff and assaulted a service user at the downtown shelter.
  • Ottawa Black Diaspora Coalition: Volunteer-run social justice organization that works to combat all forms of anti-Black systemic racism and stand in solidarity with marginalized and oppressed communities.
  • Naujawan Support Network (NSN): A group of international students and young workers who want to stop the mistreatment and exploitation they face in Canada. Currently fundraising for legal defense regarding wage theft. *You can donate via this link*

Resources to read and listen to: