Sunday 13 February 2022

Canadians: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

You might have heard or read about the so-called Freedom Convoy that has commandeered various locations in Canada over the past couple of weeks.

Its organizers supposedly began the convoy to the city of Ottawa, the seat of our federal government, as a way to protest the vaccine requirements for truckers who drive from Canada to the US and back. It quickly devolved into a hodge-podge of groups which are all demanding different things but which can be summed up as trying to force an end to all vaccine mandates and public health measures. The number of actual truckers involved is very small compared to the total of truckers in Canada. The movement has attracted all kinds of dissatisfied people with no clear leader or spokespeople.

They have occupied streets around the Canadian parliament buildings, honking horns day and night (including the air horns on transport trucks) and affecting the movement of healthcare and other workers and ordinary citizens, making their commutes to work difficult and preventing sleep. And they have occupied a bridge, the main conduit between Canada and the US, with dozens of transport trucks, bringing traffic to a standstill and affecting manufacturing industries both north and south of the border.

They don't seem to understand that it is the provincial governments, not the federal government, which set most of the mandates to which they object. There is also the irony that many of those protesting claim that vaccines and public health measures implemented over the past two years are destroying the economy, while their protest has added enormously to the country's economic problems in just a few days.

When the province of Ontario, where most of this is happening, declared a state of emergency, with the potential for penalties of up to $100,000 and one year in prison, protesters interviewed for the news invoked everything from "Bring it - we don't care" to "God will judge those who dare to intervene in our protests". The protesters have financial support from mostly anonymous donors, many of which have been traced to the US right, and this support provides food and fuel so they don't need to leave the area where they are set up. Those who are driving transport trucks are living in them, as they typically have self-contained units with beds and toilets, and a good number of them have young children with them. Others are living in hastily built shacks on public property. They are mostly maskless, and are hostile and aggressive.

The protests come at a time when the numbers of those hospitalized in the latest wave of the pandemic are just starting to recede to levels at which healthcare facilities are no longer stretched beyond their limit. I don't know if the protesters have thought of how healthcare workers are feeling at this point in the pandemic, having worked so hard to keep people alive for two years. If they did stop to think about it, they might have a light bulb moment and empathize with those workers. Or they might realize they themselves may need hospital care, sooner rather than later due to their determination to mingle closely, without masks, with hundreds of strangers.

They are tired of pandemic restrictions. Aren't we all? But the rest of us are valiantly slogging along, continuing to follow the advice of our top health advisors and medical science, in an effort to avoid crashing the healthcare system and to progress to a point where we actually can resume some kind of normalcy in our lives. The rest of us are aware that we need to work together to protect everyone in our society and are willing to give up some of our individual freedoms for the common good. 

Yes, our citizens have the right to peaceful protest. But with the 24-hour blaring of horns, the blocking of other citizens' movements as they go about their daily lives, and the shut-down of a major economic corridor that has already idled plants on both sides of the border, this is not a peaceful protest. It is blackmail. And it's ugly.

Thankfully, the protesters represent only a tiny percentage of the Canadian population, which has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world. 

Unfortunately, this tiny percentage is highly vocal, armed with vehicles huge enough to act both as barriers and weapons, and appears to have not the slightest idea how vaccines are developed, tested, or approved. Their actions are self-centred, childish, uninformed, and thoughtless.

If or when you see them on the news in your area, please remember that although they are (mostly) Canadians, they don't represent the views of the vast majority of Canadians. They are just a noisy minority using bully tactics to push around their fellow citizens and the governments fairly elected by them.



Rant over. Mostly.

I'm not going to let the news keep me from looking for the humour to share with you.



Here ya go, my friends. There is a theme today, and that theme is ANARCHY. (Props to the many YouTube videos which are compilations of memes with a theme. I have started taking screen shots of the individual memes, which is a shamelessly lazy way to harvest them.)

Definition of anarchy:  a state of disorder due to absence or nonrecognition of authority. (source)


In case it's too faint to read, the green screen says "Cash Only".

Wishing you all a good week, with a minimum of stupidity of all kinds. Is that too much to ask?




Anonymous said...

Same here in Australia, we have about 95% vaccinated, yet with a tiny but vocal anti vax protestors. The states make the rules but yesterday they were all in the federal capital Canberra protesting about freedoms

Mike said...

111, 666, 222, 333 - Impossible to be wrong!

Elephant's Child said...

We have a similar convoy in my city at the moment. Himself had a run-in with two of them and police involvement was required. Hiss and spit.
And thank you (so much) for the anarchy funnies.

Infidel753 said...

affecting the movement of healthcare and other workers and ordinary citizens, making their commutes to work difficult and preventing sleep

The government has been really remiss in allowing this harassment of ordinary citizens to drag on for so long.

dinthebeast said...

As that irascible old Englishman once said in a song called "Sheep":
What do you get for pretending the danger's not real?
Somewhere around 90% of all Canadian truck drivers are vaccinated.
Paul Krugman is trying to do the math and ascertain whether millions of BLM protesters last year were more costly to the economy than a few hundred propagandized truck drivers stopping commerce on the most highly traveled commercial crossing between the US and Canada for days.
As someone who drove a delivery truck for my living for a decade or so, one does not normally get away with such obstruction in a large vehicle. The authorities take a dim view of it, even in the "liberal" Bay Area.
Perhaps the seagull can't read English?

-Doug in Sugar Pine

Anonymous said...

I supposed to not be blogging and commenting while I am on holidays. I've succeeded in the first but this is irresistible. I love the memes, especially 'Do not print labels unnecessarily', and 'Yes'.

I expect our and your Covid vax figures are distorted by the recent inclusion of younger people, in our case now down to five years old. Pretty close to 95 percent of Australians over 18 are double vaccinated and near 50 percent of such are triple vaccinated.

We are told to not be too harsh towards those who fall for conspiracy theories. I am normally a kind and charitable person, but I cannot consider your lot of protestors or our own here as anything beyond very stupid who don't believe in science, medicine, statistics and history. To me they are stupid scum and thankfully I don't know any.

kylie said...

let me just reassure you, nobody thought all Canadians were that silly!

the memes are good as usual. Dogs only, no seagulls is my favourite. who does these things?

e said...

Now, you have a small idea of what it is often like in the US. Your descriptions and overall characterization are apt.

Sandi said...

Dogs only
No seagulls


Thank you for your perspective. It's hard to tell from the news what the truth is there. But... "and are hostile and aggressive"....why do you say this? I have seen a few of the videos and they don't seem hostile at all. They seem to me like normal people.

Marie Smith said...

Like everyone, I am tired of all of the pandemic and have no patience for the protests and the protesters. Everyone has a right to protest but when your protests supersede the rights to of others, that where law enforcement must step in. We lack leadership in this matter.

Red said...

You get a first prize for this rant. Our police are hindering the solution rather than helping. Yesterday people did the right thing and got out an opposition to the protesters.

jenny_o said...

Anon/J: A knowledge of the responsibilities of different levels of government should be required of all young people before they get to voting age.

Mike: Sneaky kid!

Elephant's Child: That's troubling - I hope he is okay, and I'm glad the police were able to intervene.

Infidel: Reading somewhat between the lines, I think the problem with lack of pushback has been because there are not enough officers available to safely do so. Currently they're waiting for reinforcements. The amount of fuel in canisters, the size of the trucks, the belligerence of a number of protesters - it all adds up to power in the hands of the wrong people.

Doug: Apparently the cost in just a few days is in millions of dollars ... plus plants have been forced to shut down or work at greatly reduced capacity, which means people aren't getting paid. The disheartening part of this is really that societal norms which have always been part of our culture have suddenly been discarded by a very vocal minority. It does not bode well.

Andrew: Yes, it's difficult to make comparisons of vaccination rates in some cases due to different ways of reporting. The figures for Canada that I have seen quoted vary depending on who's included or not, but in general they indicate a high rate of uptake.

kylie: Just thought I'd make sure :)

e: It's eerie to see the same things happening here as in the US. I guess it was just a matter of time, because after all the border is just an invisible line and our population is no more immune to human frailties than any other. It's depressing, though.

Sandi: I'm thinking of the reports of protesters harassing people who are wearing masks (which are still legally required), swarming a food table set up for homeless residents and demanding to be fed, harassing by-law officers as they do their job, as well as the general blocking of citizen movement to jobs and daily life and the continued disruption of sleep. Not all hostility is overt. Even the refusal to wear masks, when we know how transmissible this virus is, is an act of aggression. It's exposing others to possible infection in a deliberate manner. Smiling while doing so doesn't make it less hostile.

Marie: Yes, individual rights end where others' rights begin. It can be hard to see where the line falls, but public health and safety has historically been one area where reasonable people accept some loss of freedom for the good of all. I understand the issue with lack of enforcement has to do with not having enough officers to contain the potential threats, and reinforcements taking a while to arrive. The various levels of government have a communication gap in this regard.

jenny_o said...

Red: Yes, counter-protesters are beginning to be heard. I think that we will see police action when their numbers are high enough to do so safely. Thank you for the Red stamp of approval. Your posts are balanced and reasonable and I aspire to write the same way.

Jackie McGuinness said...

Thank you for summing this up as it is! I am in Ontario, and it is a disgrace as to what is going on.

Charlotte (MotherOwl) said...

I'm afraid that a week with a minimum of stupidity of all kinds is too much to ask. We have our share of vocal anti-vaxers in Denmark, thank God they're only loud-mouthing, not doing anything. "normal" Danes have also taken their shots, and we're now slowly returning to normalcy, thanks to shots and omikron.

Susan said...

I can't begin to describe how frustrated I am with the protesters. I am a retired nurse, my husband a scientist. I see the people in my profession worn down to the bone, my husband has to see his colleagues branded as liars. Thank goodness you dredged up some funnies, we sorely need them at the moment.

Joanne Noragon said...

Seagulls need water, too. Imagine a few of them lying about, toes up.

messymimi said...

There are ways to get a point across that do not include this kind of behavior, and i know that most Canadians support using those better ways.

Thanks for the laughs, i'll take a peanut.

River said...

I agree, it is very ugly blackmail. I've seen it on our news recently and actually swore at them. Silly buggers.
I like the man going out to harvest a new crop of memes :) and I love the free bottle of water with a $1 peanut in a shell.

Diane Henders said...

I respect everyone's right to express their views, and as long as the convoy was a "convoy" (as in 'a bunch of trucks rolling down the road'), it was fine. If they had arrived at their destination, stated their views, and peacefully dispersed, it would have still been fine. It would have even been fine if they'd staged multiple short demonstrations. That is their right, and hearing everyone's views is an important part of our democracy. But that's not what they did.

...and I just deleted the rest of my long rant. Don't get me started.

I loved the $1 peanut - just goes to show there are still some truly creative thinkers out there! :-)

jenny_o said...

Jackie: At least there is some relief starting now! I feel badly for citizens caught in the cross-fire of this debacle.

Charlotte: I've been keeping an eye on Denmark's progress; you've done very well!

Susan: I can't believe how the expertise of healthcare people and scientists is being ignored by so many people. They really don't understand the concept of knowledge and how it's acquired when they choose to follow their own "feelings" instead of science.

jenny_o said...

Joanne: They sure do! Although I've never yet seen a seagull who would care about anyone's rules anyhow :)

Mimi: You've said it, in a nutshell. A peanut shell, perhaps? :)

River: I've started swearing at the news, too. lol

Diane: Exactly what you've said. There are acceptable ways to protest and then there's the way this was done. Have another water - I mean, another peanut :D

Steve Reed said...

Thanks for your perspective on this. It seems that every country has a very noisy extreme-right faction stirring the pot. (And there's a lot of coordination among far-right political leaders and groups and fundraisers, which is somewhat alarming.)

jenny_o said...

Steve: All true, and they are not welcome at all here by the majority of the population.

Diane Stringam Tolley said...

Best rant ever! I'm with you 💯%
Those memes! I laughed till I cried!

baili said...

that sounds terrible dear Jenny

i can only imagine the stress it might have caused in the minds of innocent citizens .

being from under developed country makes me think that there is hardly any possibility that people from such advanced part of the land can behave in such irresponsible way ,it leaves me sad and wondering how and why ?

it is hard to believe that it is not well thought crime by some selfish people ,because whenever go behind the scene facts reveal that politics is involved somehow some way .

hubby reads lot about such stuff and shares that no matter what happens in any state reality is always opposite and totally different than drama we common people see in plain sight ,it is always some kind of blackmailing and certain targets that politicians do against each other ,dirty game of politics indeed .
blessings to you precious friend!