As Quebec prepares for trucker protest convoys, Legault calls for order


Quebec City is bracing for trouble as convoys of trucks similar to those in Ottawa aim to blockade the city, which is about to hold its annual winter carnival. The tension is growing.

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QUEBEC CITY — As tensions mounted in Quebec City over the prospect of a disruptive convoy of truckers, politicians and police teamed up on Wednesday to press for order despite the uncertainty in the air.


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“I trust the police,” Premier Francois Legault said as he headed to daily question period at the National Assembly on Wednesday. “I am thinking of the police of Quebec (City), of the mayor of Quebec, perhaps with the help of the SQ (Sûreté du Québec).

“Rules have to be obeyed.”

“It’s normal for people to want to demonstrate, it’s a legitimate right,” added the mayor of Quebec, Bruno Marchand. “But I expect respect. It is possible to demand things without disturbing everyone.

The pair were reacting to news that a Quebec version of the Freedom Convoy, which paralyzed downtown Ottawa for days, was heading for the provincial capital.

The truckers say they want to stand in solidarity with those in Ottawa and are also fed up with the pandemic measures imposed on the population by the federal and provincial governments.


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Late Wednesday, reports on social media pointed to convoys being formed in the Beauce, Rouyn, Gaspésie and Saguenay regions, with plans to join one organized by the Rive union leader -North of the FTQ, Bernard (Rambo) Gauthier in Quebec.

Kevin Bilodeau, the organizer of the Beauceron convoy, posted a video in which he says that he and his group intend to disrupt life in Quebec.

“We’re going to confuse Quebec,” Bilodeau said. “It’s to put pressure everywhere. There are people who could not go to Ottawa.

The first convoys are expected as early as Thursday, likely peaking on Saturday, police said. There is no way of knowing how people will gather, but hundreds of people on social media have indicated their intention to attend.


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News of the convoy caused panic in the capital, where the annual Quebec Carnival starts Friday. Local hoteliers and restaurateurs, desperate to do business after the long pandemic, are counting on the winter festival to boost their business.

The legislature is expected to be the magnet of the convoy. It is right in front of the main Carnival site, including Man carnival Magical Ice Palace. Hundreds of Quebec City residents and tourists are expected for this annual event.

On Wednesday, the Carnival’s Facebook site was filled with messages from citizens asking if the festivities were going ahead given the threat of disorder.

To the journalists of the assembly, Mélanie Raymond, director general of the Carnival, insisted that the show continue, a remark supported by André Turcotte, deputy prefect of the police of Quebec, who also moved to reassure the citizens.


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“The lines of communication (with the convoy organizers) are open and we have a very good collaboration with these people,” said Turcotte.

He said protesters will be asked to park their trucks in areas identified by police. Unlike Ottawa, no one will be allowed before Parliament.

Indeed, the two main arteries, Boulevard Honoré-Mercier, which crosses the facade of the Legislative Assembly, and Grande Allée, which runs along the side, were already planned to be pedestrian only on weekends.

“We talk to these people and we have their cooperation, but at the same time, if the cooperation disappears and the situation changes, we have other plans ready,” Turcotte said.

He said the police would not tolerate any form of vandalism, violence or Criminal Code violations. They think the trucks will all leave on Sunday.


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The National Assembly being in the middle of a winter session, the convoys put the Legault government on alert. During a press conference, the Minister of Public Security, Geneviève Guilbault, also responsible for the Quebec region, indicated that the SQ is working with the local police to ensure the safety of the deputies.

“I want to believe that everyone will behave properly,” Guilbault said. “Legitimate and peaceful protests are a relief valve for people under pressure.

“But if there is excess, if there are people looking for a confrontation or trying to intimidate other citizens or the police… well, the police will intervene. We will be ready.

Earlier, Quebec Tourism Minister Caroline Proulx had made her own pitch for the convoy to spare Carnival.

“It’s been so difficult for these festivals for two years, please, please allow Quebecers, citizens of Quebec, to attend this extremely important festival,” Mr. Proulx told reporters. .


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“Everyone at Carnival has worked so hard to put together this very special edition, please do it. Let them organize this event.

Quebec politicians have also called for respect and calm.

“It’s one thing if Rambo Gauthier’s goal is to come to Quebec and demonstrate peacefully,” Liberal leader Dominique Anglade told reporters. “If his goal is to clog Quebec City, to prevent restaurants and small businesses from operating, I invite him to stay at home.

“There is a right to be heard, a freedom of expression that makes demonstrations something normal, something wanted in a democracy,” added the leader of the Parti Québécois, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon. “But that’s not the same as blockading a city, making a besieged city dysfunctional. It’s not acceptable.

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  1. Protest signs are attached to the main gate of Parliament Hill, as demonstrations by truckers and their supporters against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination mandates continue, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada , January 31, 2022. REUTERS/Blair Gable

    Not ‘intimidated’ by protesters: Trudeau says he won’t meet truck convoy organizers

  2. Truckers from the 'Freedom Convoy' of truckers head east on the Trans-Canada Highway east of Calgary on Monday January 24, 2022.

    The truckers’ freedom convoy crosses Quebec

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