British Columbia truckers take part in ‘freedom convoy’ across country to protest vaccine mandate

The Canadian Trucking Alliance estimates that the federal vaccine requirement could take 10 to 15% — about 12,000 to 16,000 — of truckers off the road.

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Hundreds of truckers are expected to leave Metro Vancouver on Sunday in a convoy across the country to the nation’s capital to protest a federal vaccination mandate for truckers.


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Large rigs have left northern British Columbia heading south, where they will gather at the Nordel scale in Delta early Sunday before traveling to Ottawa, the destination of the so-called Convoy for Freedom 2022 .

“We’ll all be in radio contact – the trucks leave first, everyone else second,” said Sean Tiessen, a Grand Forks truck driver. “There will be lots of honking, lots of support, lots of noise and spreading the love.”

Tiessen, who has been driving rigs for 23 years, will be driving his own vehicle as he was unable to start his winter job hauling wood across the border due to the requirement for vaccines.

“I can work somewhere else in the industry that doesn’t involve crossing the border, but I’m not taking it anymore,” he said.


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Tiessen said he knows many truckers who have been sidelined due to the restriction, and believes taking them off the road at a time when there is a shortage of drivers will exacerbate the chain’s existing problems. supply. “This will have a negative impact on inflation and the availability of goods.”

His goal, he said, is to get Ottawa to get rid of vaccination mandates, not just for truckers, but also for nurses and other workers who have to get shot to keep their jobs.

“Let’s get everyone back to work and get rid of this discriminatory and divisive rhetoric,” Tiessen said.

The federal mandate for truckers, which took effect Jan. 15, requires Canadian drivers returning to Canada to be vaccinated to avoid quarantine. Unvaccinated US truckers will not be permitted entry. The United States is expected to apply similar rules from Saturday.


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Prior to last week’s mandate, Canada had deemed truckers an essential service and granted them an exemption from border restrictions.

The Liberal government stands firm in this policy, which it says is intended to protect truckers and the Canada-US supply chain.

“One of the biggest threats to our supply chain is indeed the pandemic and the best tool to end the fight against this virus is vaccination,” Transport Minister Omar Alghabra told the National Post last week .

Tiessen estimates that about 500 trucks from British Columbia will join the rally, which is due to meet in Ottawa on Jan. 29. .


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A GoFundMe page set up to help drivers cover expenses such as fuel, food and accommodation while on the trip has raised over $1.6 million.

According to the Canadian Trucking Alliance, vaccination rates in the industry are around 83-87%. The vaccine requirement could take 10 to 15 per cent – ​​around 12,000 to 16,000 – of truckers off the road, he warned.

On Saturday, the industry group said it did not support protests that would block or disrupt roads and highways or interfere with public safety.

The Canadian and U.S. governments already have their policies in place, President Stephen Laskowski said in a statement. “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.

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