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We got us a convoy

BY Will Nicholls Feb 16, 2022

Before OnStar and cellphones many drivers in the past had Citizen Band radios. They were two-way communications devices that allowed drivers to talk to each other. Hailed as a safety need, they also became a way for drivers to warn each other about speed traps by letting each other know where the police were. The biggest customers were truckers, and that produced a popular song (and movie) in the 1970s called “Convoy”.

The lyrics included:

‘Cause we got a great big convoy

Rockin’ through the night

Yeah, we got a great big convoy

Ain’t she a beautiful sight?

Come and join our convoy

Ain’t nothing gonna get in our way

One could guess that the trucker protestors in Ottawa may have heard this song more than once. The protest looked massive, protesters acted massive and didn’t give a damn for reality. It’s understandable that so many people supported them in a GoFundMe campaign to the tune of $10 million. Two years of restrictions, lockdowns, closed businesses, not being able to see loved ones, people dying alone, mental health problems, rising alcoholism and drug abuse – all that and more has taken its toll on all of us. 

SohHere was an outlet for that anger.

Unfortunately, many politicians – mostly Conservatives – played into that fear and anger.

But the stated purpose of the convoy was flawed from the start. Even if Canada would have given in and allowed unvaccinated truckers to cross the border it wouldn’t matter. The US has the same restrictions that forbid unvaccinated truckers to enter their country. Thus, the protest is meaningless.

Freedom for all Canadians is a great idea but what does that mean? Having truck horns blaring all night does not give residents in the Ottawa downtown the freedom to have a good night’s sleep. It did not give homeless people the freedom to enjoy a meal when protestors stormed a meal centre and stole their food. The Freedom Convoy prevented elderly people from being able to go to pharmacies to get their medication. Does freedom mean it’s okay to urinate and defecate on peoples’ lawns? Or threaten youth at fast-food restaurants because they legally asked them to wear a mask?

Neither is dancing and urinating on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier consistent with the freedom concept. Many Canadians lost their lives fighting for freedom. Such disrespect needs to be addressed. The use of the Terry Fox monument to send a political message angered more than just his family.

So, everyone is starting to wonder about the convoy and the support they have. While Canadians have helped to fund the effort because of frustration there are others who have used this for their own purposes. The GoFundMe site has frozen donations to allow Canadians to take back their money after the people behind it were revealed to have ties to racist organizations.

I believe in fighting for your rights and freedoms but there is no right to endanger another person in pursuit of those rights.

And in the end, how many Indigenous actions have we seen the police exercise the restraint we saw in Ottawa? Did the unmarked graves of Indigenous children, murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls or unsafe drinking water in First Nations communities receive the same response? Not for years.

Apparently white privilege has it benefits even while carrying a Nazi or Confederate flag, and inappropriately wearing the yellow Star of David that Jewish people had to wear under the Nazis. Yes, there were people who believed in what they were doing but the message got lost somewhere. Let’s all hope we can find what the Canadian people really want to say rather than those who usurp the banner of freedom for their own purposes.

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Will Nicholls is a Cree from Mistissini. He started his career off in radio and is still one of the youngest radio DJ’s in Canadian history, having a regular show on CFS Moosonee at the age of 12. Will was one of the founding members of the Nation, and has been its only Editor-in-Chief.