The Ottawa Freedom Convoy may have been ‘de-occupied’ in February 2022 but in spirit it has not actually stopped. In fact, I think the method of disbanding and the aggressive nature of government only multiplied the resolve of many who attached themselves directly or even indirectly to the Convoy. So, instead of having one location with a lot of noise, there ends up being a lot of locations, each with their own voice.
Flags are waving from half tons and cars all across our country, more than ever before in Canada. They aren’t having an early celebration of July 1st; they are showing their support to a movement; they are associating with the Freedom Convoy. The sheer volume of flags hanging from vehicles since January is staggering. No, it’s not universal, but it is more pride instilling than any other national affection Canada has had in our generation. The protests and convoys have not stopped either, though admittedly, the media has blacked out nearly all of them. Even so, a media blackout is not as bad as one may assume as less and less, news and information is being sent or adsorbed by classical methods. Though social media does spread much of the planning information, it seems that jurisdictions have even settled into groups or families of participants, congregating around workplace parking lots, water coolers, malls, sporting, and leisure groups. It seems that once the Freedom Convoy opened a conversation, like-minded people eventually found each other and simply bonded socially… and then kept right on bonding. These groups find ways to meet, associate and gather further support. It’s truly a grass roots movement that turned the banished participants into popular martyrs and celebrities. The camper with hundreds/thousands of signatures that was parked in Ottawa is traveling around to various shows, gaining even more publicity and popularity.
Last week my best friend went to Vancouver to visit his brother. While there he attended a convoy rally that went through the regions of lower BC. There were thousands attending, speckled all through the area. As he walked through the crowds, he spoke to those attending. It wasn’t long before it became known that he had attended the Ottawa Freedom Convoy in January. One by one people began asking him about it and a small crowd gathered. In its own way he became a local celebrity. The amazing thing was how unifying and bonding the January Convoy was to ‘non-truckers’ in Canada. There have been many spin-off demonstrations, each having its own galvanizing effect. They are not always of the exact focus that January had. There was even one rally called “Bill Gates Isn’t Invited Rally”, a hilarious title no matter how you look at it. I’m not sure who thought of it, but some are saying that associating with negative cohorts seems to be a new ‘thing’. I disagree, it’s not a new thing. My high school years were filled with ‘Robert isn’t invited parties’.
Regardless of the media’s blackout, the movement has not slowed in its support. Oppressive situations from various perspectives are being lumped together as some sort of collective and united front. There is a growing national mistrust for all forms of government and leadership. Mistrust is also being assigned to the medical field and even the educational systems. There is a widening divide between those who use government systems and those who manage them.
I have even occasionally found an eagerness by individual government employees to ‘dull’ the authority they usually impose. I’m not talking Sr. Managers but individual government employees. Front line workers have even made snide comments under their breath that they ‘hate’ the imposition they are forced to impose. I think it comes from the good hearts of ordinary people to have compassion on their fellow citizens. In my 35+ years of working with CRA, I have found that 95% of them are fine people, just doing their jobs and getting back to their family at the end of the day. It’s only about 2%-3%-5% of the government workers who habitually instigate abuse (though they certainly don’t call it that, they usually refer to it as ‘justice’ or ‘equity’ or ‘the law’). Working within the CRA system provides good methods to circumvent the abusers (appeals). However, many other government systems don’t allow the public many options or even debate (such as the medical system, ie. my personal Doctor).
I’m not sure, but I don’t think the 2-5% of government have thought about what it would take to stamp out a grass roots movement, or for sure a movement that has gained heroic international attention. The Freedom Convoy, to the rest of the world may live in infamy, no matter what the spin by media is. I think it’s time for government departments to do what they need to do to soften the public’s descent. Oppressing the GOOD hearts of people is a PR nightmare that is rarely won without brutal force, and that is only temporarily.
I believe in the incredibly compassionate and strong hearts of Canadian people. I do not believe we are divided as a country unless you refer to the division between those who divide and the rest of us. In the end, I don’t think government can censure TRUE compassion and unity.