Over the years, many people defined 'freedom' in many ways. Janis Joplin once sang, "Freedom is just another word for nothin' left to lose". Neil Young produced a solid album called "Freedom". On that particular album was a song called 'Hanging by a Limb", which has been symbolic of my life in love to date. Of course, I am looking for a change, having someone to walk beside me instead of behind me. As I age, I need somebody to grow alongside me, love me for who I am and meet my needs. That is freedom for me. Then comes the 'free speech' crowd, the ones that believe in absolute free speech. Maybe not crying 'fire' in the back of a crowded theatre, but pretty close. But nothing destroyed my perception of the word 'freedom' more than the tirade shown by the members of so-called Freedom Convoy 2022. This also turned me off our Canadian flag, which before this, was also a great source of pride. I used to *love* Canada Day, as this was my favourite time of the year.
Last winter, big rigs, pick up trucks and others drove from all over Canada to gather on the grounds of Ottawa, and in accordance to one of the groups leading this "convoy", they were not going to leave until every last vaccine mandate is lifted and/or the present (elected) government resigns. In essence, this group had both exercised and abused the very same freedoms they were accusing our country of not having by doing this very thing. If this same group were in Russia doing the very same thing, they would likely be spending a long time in a prison work camp in Siberia. Those in Ukraine are currently fighting for their lives as a result of Russian's thoughts of "expansionism".
But for me, these people HAVE their freedoms. There is a certain degree of freedom to be able to drive a vehicle many miles to the capitol of Canada to join with others for weeks and weeks away from one's job, obviously because these people are not financially hurting. To me, the crowd looked able-bodied and although not completely, but still mostly white. Some journalist attempted to write about this being the angst of the working class. Yet these people were not working class. They were fundraising to the tunes of millions of dollars, including several hundred thousand in crypto-currency. Being involved in crypto-currency requires money and the right kind of resources.
In the meantime, at the other side of the country, or this planet, given the apparent distance these people think from their fellow citizens, Canada is facing a housing crisis. How come not a single word about that was said at Ottawa? One could only assume this crazy business of house prices does not concern this "freedom seeking" crowd, or perhaps they seek the kind of freedom being houseless provides. The housing crisis particularly crunches the lower income, the elderly, the disabled, as well as young people. Disproportionately, members of these groups do not even get to enjoy the freedoms the members of the Truckers Convoy got to enjoy. Many cannot drive due to medical problems, or they do not have the funds to access or modify a vehicle. The extent of their "freedoms" is how far they can walk around their block, if they can walk at all. The homeless never cared about the "convoy's" fight either. They could not care less if they had to wear masks, take a vaccination, or otherwise. They still remain homeless.
Others did not like the force by which this brigade was attempting to bring down the government. Nobody denies one's freedom of expression, or even freedom to gather with like-minded individuals. To some extent, I blame the media for their plight. Why did we hear about nothing else other than this three or four week temper tantrum going on in Ottawa? Other newsworthy events took place, but media coverage of convoy dominated. Protesters said they would go away only if Trudeau and other leaders would come out to talk to them. I say not when there were thousands of flags bearing the PM's name in profane nomenclature. There were rumours of plans to break inside the Parliament, kidnap somebody in an act of symbolism, as to who is taking their "freedoms" away. The sad thing is too many governmental authorities lifted their mandates just like that, telling the world that for now on, we will just have to live with COVID. Living with COVID means something very different between somebody who is young, strong and healthy, and for somebody else who may be immune compromised. Those angry at the concerns of the immune compromised tell them they can "stay home".
I found this whole discourse to be banally ableist in the extreme. Those who were free, who could drive big trucks, can travel all over for weeks at a time not having to punch a card for their employer, who were angry because they were not able to go to their local Burger King without a mask, vis a vis somebody who is immune compromised, or who lives with somebody who is, will now have to fear going out, as the public no longer deems it necessary to ensure those more vulnerable are protected. There is no freedom for the weak, the poor, the elderly, the disabled. This is an about face. At one time, we were all in this together, now it is every person for themselves.
In the meantime, some of these convoy people take up cities waving their upside down Canadian flags and their "don't tread on me" flags with their F*ck Trudeau flags. They travel through the smaller cities. They travel to various places across Ontario, in such large numbers as though to make an impression how much their views are the majority, when they mainly represent a privileged but very loud minority. They do not sway me one bit. If the City of Ottawa had enough balls to begin with, they could have prevented these people from making the streets of Ottawa their home for so long. That they would prefer to have a leader from the far right to govern this country makes me sick as a Canadian. These people are willingly to wipe out years of progress, put hate speech and crimes back into the community, permit slander against us minorities, etc.
Pierre Poilievre is the one singularly supporting this convoy, now cris-crossing the country promising to NEVER implement any mandates whatsoever ever again. Okay, say we get another strain of this coronavirus, or even something more serious and deadly, he will do just that - nothing. Just let everybody die. Are his supporters naïve? Throughout the pandemic, I did not like him. He did not stand up for MY freedom. MY freedom to travel MY freedom to earn a good living. MY freedom to live with equal marriage. Today, he would not even state his position on abortion. Like most of those on the far right, "my body, my choice" means THEIR body, THEIR choice, but never about a woman's right to reproductive choice. Maybe, it was a good thing this draft decision from the US Supreme Court slipped out, because many Canadians now have to make stark choices, now realizing our own politicians can take so much away from us all; all in the name of "freedom".