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Jacobin - February 5, 2022

... a closer look at key “Freedom Convoy” participants reveals that many of the concerns of the protesters have little to do with workers’ rights or labor issues within Canada’s trucking industry. In fact, Convoy organizers have previously harassed workers on the picket line and ignored calls for support from racialized truckers fighting against wage theft.

The so-called “Freedom Convoy” of truckers currently occupying Canada’s capital city claims to be a broad people’s movement concerned with the plight of workers — specifically truckers — who have suffered throughout the pandemic. The convoy has received plaudits from the likes of Elon Musk and Jordan Peterson, sympathetic coverage from conservative media, and acclaim from some Canadian members of parliament. The Freedom Convoy’s GoFundMe has thus far raised $10 million in donations. Despite this wide recognition and support, the convoy presents itself as a scrappy coalition of working people who, fed up with the hardship they have undergone, are now speaking truth to power. But a closer look at key “Freedom Convoy” participants reveals that many of the concerns of the protesters have little to do with workers’ rights or labor issues within Canada’s trucking industry. In fact, Convoy organizers have previously harassed workers on the picket line and ignored calls for support from racialized truckers fighting against wage theft.

Union-Busting History

What motivated the Freedom Convoy to protest was a new piece of federal regulation that requires unvaccinated Canadian truckers to isolate for fourteen days upon returning to Canada from the United States. Unvaccinated foreign truckers, however, are not allowed into the country. Despite 90 percent of Canadian truckers being vaccinated, this policy galvanized a vocal minority on the Right whose anger had been brewing long before the pandemic. Freedom Convoy organizer and Canada Unity founder James Bauder’s allegiances are to the far right — he certainly didn’t emerge from the labor movement. Two years ago, Bauder participated in another convoy called United We Roll which had connections to far right elements in Canada’s Yellow Vests movement and other white nationalist hate groups. United We Roll toured the country in opposition to Canada’s federal carbon tax and the UN migration pact, garnering support from Conservative politicians across the country. ...
Read full report at Jacobin