Truckers Provide Facts to Counter "Freedom Convoy" Disinformation

Across the country, the more rumours circulated about "a convoy of truckers" organized across the country to converge on Ottawa and other cities, the more truckers dissociated themselves from it and provided evidence of fake news. The convoy was allegedly demanding an end to public health measures for cross-border trucking and an end to vaccinations mandates. All the information was available for official media to access if their owners and handlers had a mind to seek truth from facts as the Workers' Centre of CPC(M-L) did.

Factual reporting would have gone a long way to helping Canadians and the youth understand what this was about, but this coverage was simply non-existent. The outlook of the official media is always to blame the people for state-organized anarchy and violence. The more social media networks got carried away and tons of fake news flooded truckers' networks countrywide and into the United States and other countries, the more hysterical media reports became, also getting carried away.

It started with a video said to be of a line of trucks on a highway in Alberta which were part of the convoy headed to Ottawa. Manipulated algorithms got the video to "go viral." The truth was that the so-called convoy in question had not even started. Sources said the video was of an accident that happened on a highway in Manitoba two years ago. There have been many photos of this sort posted. Another video was of trucks lined up to cross over the Ambassador Bridge which connects Windsor and Detroit. This is one of the busiest border crossings in the country with the largest quantity of goods moving both ways every day. Truckers immediately spoke out against the fake news. Such videos are now untraceable because they did not correspond to anything real.

Apart from videos and photos, the main source of fake news was verbal or in written form. Posts that "went viral" and were shared by many users or by digital robots and algorithms spoke of more than 170,000 trucks that were anticipated to participate in the convoy. In the light of reason, this figure then went down to 50,000 and later the organizers spoke of 36,000 trucks. According to the figures released by the end of the week there were 2,000 to 3,000 trucks from all places that took part in the convoy to Ottawa.

The ridiculous figure of 170,000 trucks was given despite the fact that there are between 250,000 and 300,000 truckers in Canada. The vast majority of them are drivers working for transport companies who do not own their own rigs, while many others work on deliveries for various outlets. It is impossible for them to hijack these trucks to drive across the country. The independent truckers represent approximately one-fifth of the Canadian fleet, or between 30,000 and 50,000 trucks. This means that only if all the independents participated in the convoy, which is known not to be the case, would the figure be 50,000. The figure of 50,000 trucks is given to impress, panic and all round disinform the public. Shame on the official media for such shoddy work!

Social media post purporting to show truckers in Ottawa with Toronto's CN Tower visible in the background.

Another fake news that was widely promoted was in a Facebook post that spoke of a line of trucks over 490 kilometres long. That is practically the distance from Montreal to Toronto. This was then "corrected" to 100 kilometres. It was written that the convoy was going to beat the world record held by a convoy in Egypt that was 7.5 kilometres long and registered in the Guinness Book of World Records. None of it happened.

Any day of the week, there are convoys of trucks on any major highway and pictures then declare they are headed for Ottawa, or Toronto, or Quebec City. In Quebec the exaggerated figure was clearly aimed at inflaming passions and when the so-called convoy departed the number of rigs could be counted on one hand.

This is not to say that long lines of convoy supporters waving Canadian and U.S. flags and even a few confederate flags, did not travel to Ottawa. Available videos show there were more small pick-ups, SUVs and cars than heavy trucks. According to sources to date, there was a six kilometre-long convoy of vehicles at one point headed for Ottawa from Kingston and other towns in the region of eastern Ontario -- a far cry from 480 kilometres and 170,000 trucks.

Screenshot of an online post in the British publication the Daily Mail, January 27, 2022.

This kind of hysteria carried on throughout the week. People are well-served to not pursue the social media networks which carry all this fake news on the organization and size of the so-called freedom convoy. They could easily lose their minds.

What is of significance that truckers are talking about is their living and working conditions and how decisions are taken which seriously affect their lives with no regard for them whatsoever.

According to information provided by truckers and some officials in the transportation industry, various scenarios are emerging. For some time now, even before the implementation of the federal decree mandating all truckers who cross the border be vaccinated, about which there had been rumours since last November, the fact is that many transport companies doing business in the U.S. have only been recruiting vaccinated truckers. This means that non-vaccinated truckers are forced to work only in Canada, in inter-provincial or inter-regional and local sectors. According to some sources, transportation companies will give preference to vaccinated truckers within their companies to cross the border and keep those who are unvaccinated in Canada. This is the type of change in operations that will be considered.

Another scenario is the loss of lucrative contracts for non-vaccinated independent brokers in favour of those who are vaccinated. Some say this will advantage the more vulnerable truckers who usually only get the low-end contracts. These contracts in the transport of minerals, in construction, infrastructure transport, energy, etc. are key sectors of the economy and cannot suffer any disruption in supply. There is likely to be a major upheaval in this area. Some also predict that the largest transportation companies are the ones that will benefit. Many things remain to be seen.

According to government figures, between 10 and 15 thousand drivers are not adequately vaccinated and will be forced to re-position themselves. Even though the need for transportation is currently on the rise, it can already be seen that all truckers are going to be affected by the federal decree one way or another. Far from considering all truckers dangerous and reactionary as the media is prone to suggest, with its "blame the truckers" mantra for everything from empty shelves to high prices, violence and uncouth dangerous behaviour, it is important to listen to what they have to say about their living, working and driving conditions.

This article was published in

Volume 52 Number 2 - February 6, 2022

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