In the News
Truckers Do Not Find Their Coherence in Intrigues Fomented by Ruling Circles
Two weeks after the start of the “Freedom Convoy,” the occupation of downtown Ottawa and the blocking of some Canadian border crossings, there are many grey areas that truckers and workers in general have to clarify regarding what is going on. But if there is one thing we can be 100 per cent sure of, it is that the decades-long policies of previous federal governments to integrate Canada into the U.S.-led “Fortress America” have drawn Canada into the vortex of U.S. civil war scenarios.
Media coverage of the “Freedom Convoy” is littered with Canadian flags bearing the convoy’s message: “Freedom, Unity, Peace and Love.” This public image is everywhere in each of the interventions of those promoting the convoy. Is this a way to disguise the fact that there is nothing Canadian about their approach and their political content?
With this “Freedom Convoy,” the Canadian public is experiencing organizing methods typical of what happens in the U.S. We recently learned that former members of the police, the army and the RCMP are involved in the logistics behind the convoy and border blockades. We are also pretty sure that supranational private interests are behind it as well given the letters of support from the likes of Elon Musk, Trump and his entourage and others from abroad. The massive use of fake news is all too reminiscent of U.S. elections and the January 6, 2021 action at the Capitol in Washington, DC. The establishment’s use of social media to disinform the public, inflate the numbers behind a particular cause and create a climate of mob rule have already been exposed by the hearings into how Facebook and others use algorithms to make money. Other groups are promoted front and centre such as the one which calls itself QAnon.
Most noticeable is the extent to which the agencies of the state such as the police are reluctant to implement law and order measures, even after a state of emergency was declared by both the City of Ottawa on February 6 and the province of Ontario on February 11. It is becoming increasingly clear that the government is reduced to ranting against the convoy as it tries to solve the crisis while it desperately tries to find something that “works” to bring matters under control. The leaders of the cartel parties with seats in the House of Commons are impotent when it comes to doing anything except dividing themselves and Canadians into one camp or the other. According to the supporters of the Trudeau government, a liberal left is the alternative to the extreme right. All of it seeks to make sure the people do not think matters through for themselves and speak in their own names.
The brazen lawlessness of the “freedom” protests and the incitement to violence through some of the speech and images is a relatively new phenomenon in Canada. Most of it seems to be imported from south of the border with its adherents in this country. Canadians are called on to join one side or the other — one called the liberal left and the other the extreme right which is identified as being white supremacist, misogynist, violent and warmongering. Must one forget that the policies implemented by the Trudeau government are also all of these things, the liberal veneer notwithstanding? Some people go so far as to say that despite unsavory characters, confederate flags, swastikas, virulent anti-women behaviour and racism, it is all for a greater cause of freedom and that is what matters. And all of it is said to cohabit with a festive crowd with a lot of individual grievances against government, mandates, masks and vaccinations demanding freedom. An obvious question would be freedom to do what? The only answer forthcoming is to depose the obviously corrupt, self-serving, weak and authoritarian Trudeau government. Both sides say theirs is the way of freedom and democracy.
In this way, what Canadian truckers are discovering is that the dominant factions in Canada are fighting an open battle outside of the official institutions said to be democratic. No matter how many Canadian flags and slogans of “freedom, peace and unity” are waved by both sides, the reality is that anarchy and violence reign supreme and that truckers cannot agree with either side.
They have experienced the integration of Canada’s economy with that of the U.S. first-hand in recent years. East-west trade across Canada has long been replaced by north-south trade between Canada and the U.S. This goes back to the very beginning of the free trade agreement signed under the Brian Mulroney government. At that time, truckers fought against this agreement and led several actions across the country to denounce the fact that not only would their working conditions worsen but that truck transport would be radically transformed and would lead to the crisis in transport that we know today.
By defending their working conditions in the early 1990s, truckers were also defending Canadian sovereignty. Unfortunately, the ruling circles have continued with the neo-liberal arrangements since then and Canada is now subject to the demands of the supranational narrow private interests which fight over control of the office of the president of the United States. Canada then mimics this fight, seen in the fact that already the so-called freedom convoy has achieved the aim of getting rid of Erin O’Toole as leader of the Conservative Party to bring in an attack dog they think can get elected. Calls to get rid of Justin Trudeau have just begun with those taking up the narrative of the U.S. Quincy Institute on Statecraft and other U.S. institutions about “sedition,” ‘treachery” and “treason” already trying to work their “magic.”
All Canadian workers, not just truckers, must learn from their experience and not get drawn into the intrigues of the ruling circles. They know that their security lies in defending the rights of all by upholding their own claims to working conditions and wages acceptable to themselves. By so doing, they take care of everyone else as well. This is the true tradition of truckers and the Canadian working class.
(Renewal Update, posted February 14, 2022)