One year ago, the Canadian truckers of the Freedom Convoy rolled into Ottawa, Ontario, their swelling ranks cheered on by people all along their cross-country journey. Protesting Canada's draconian COVID-19 restrictions, they were joined in the capital city by supporters from just about any demographic you can think of. Thanks to everyday folks with cell phone cameras, and indefatigable citizen reporters like David Freiheit* (Viva Frei), we observed the event moment-by-moment, live, unscripted, and unedited. The dissonance between the peaceful, joyful, unifying protest that we saw, and the horrific event portrayed on Canada's national media—picked up, of course, by our own major news sources—was staggering.
(As one who grew up with the seemingly-constant threat of Quebec to secede from the country, one of my strongest memories is of the Québécois at the protest, who declared, "We were Separatists, but after this we are no longer!")
As I watched the days unfold, from the hopeful beginnings to Prime Minister Trudeau's extraordinary invocation of the Emergencies Act, I was moved as I haven't been since 1968, which saw the rise and fall of hope and freedom during Czechoslovakia's Prague Spring. It may not have been Russian tanks rolling through Ottawa as they did through Prague, but the intent was much the same. It took Czechoslovakia another twenty years to win their freedom from Russia; is it better or worse for Canada that their oppression comes from within, instead of from an external enemy?
I've grouped my own posts on the subject here under the topic "Freedom Convoy." If you follow that link you'll see them listed in reverse order (scroll down for the oldest). There you can also see for yourself a selection of Viva's on-the-street videos.
Russia's invasion of the Ukraine obscured both the protest and the issues that provoked it, taking the heat off Prime Minister Trudeau. But I will not let the heroic Freedom Convoy be forgotten—at least in my very tiny corner of the Internet. This beautiful 14-minute tribute by JB TwoFour (about whom I know nothing but this) still moves me to tears.
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