What is the convoy of Quebec truckers protesting?
Quebec construction workers working near hospitals must be double vaccinated since October 15. Truckers crossing the border must also be vaccinated. Unvaccinated Canadian truckers must otherwise follow quarantine rules when entering Canada and will be denied entry to the United States
This has led some anti-vax construction workers and truckers to take a stand against what protest organizer Kevin “Big” Grenier called “vaccine racism.”
While some convoy organizers have made clear their contempt for the press, they have been extremely vocal on social media. In a livestream on Feb. 1, Grenier outlined the band’s plans.
“We are here for the future of our children, to abolish QR codes, to abolish the obligation to be vaccinated […] We are for free choice,” he said in the video.
What is their goal?
A convoy departed from the North Shore and headed south towards Quebec on February 3. A second convoy from the East, leaving from Gaspésie, joined the group in the capital on February 3, and a third from Beauce left on February 5.
Grenier organized the Côte-Nord convoy alongside Bernard “Rambo” Gauthier, a trade unionist with the FTQ-Construction. His politically charged Facebook posts received so much attention that Premier Legault had to dispel suggestions that Gauthier’s videos influenced his decision to abolish the unvaxxed tax.
The motivations of the protesters seem to vary. While the convoy’s official Facebook group promises it will be a show of “peace, joy, love and ABOVE ALL RESPECT,” Grenier in his February 1 livestream said the group intends to “bring down ” the government. Keven Bilodeau, the organizer of a convoy from Beauce, never ceases to denounce Legault and Trudeau at the end of his videos, while affirming that the demonstrations will be family and friendly.
The Ottawa protest, which Quebec protesters are trying to amplify, has now infamously led to disorderly conduct, including the defacing of the statue of Terry Fox and the alleged desecration of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
At a Feb. 4 press conference, Legault said the Quebec City convoy was “nothing like” the Ottawa protests and that he planned to deal with the illegally placed trucks with “lots of tow trucks.”
“We made sure with Mayor Bruno Marchand and the police [that] we have plenty of tow trucks ready if needed to eventually remove the trucks. We will not tolerate at all that trucks prevent citizens from circulating, ”said Legault.
On 98.5 FM Wednesday morning, Mayor Marchand indicated that the convoy might have difficulty reaching Parliament Hill. Although it is possible for trucks to legally cross Quebec City to get to Parliament, the building will be flanked to the east, west and south by Carnival festivities.
It remains to be seen how the convoy will affect the Quebec Winter Carnival this weekend. According to Grenier in the livestream, protesters will protest against wearing masks; earlier in the day on February 1, he said the protest was not intended to disrupt Carnival.
Asked on 98.5 FM about the possibility of a blockade of Parliament Hill, Mayor Marchand said: “I don’t think democracy can allow a siege. I think people can decide to take a building, a city, hostage. This is unacceptable. The police will respond.”
The Sûreté du Québec said officers will be present to protect the parliament building and ensure a peaceful protest.
The convoy’s Facebook group currently has 13,542 members. According to Grenier, the convoy raised $26,911.33 in small donations for gas and food.