Mehl: Some didn’t support the occupation/protest
I am a Canadian who read with interest the story “We ignited a fire, Feb. 25”.
This is a complicated issue and an emotional one for many Canadians. At the very least, the so-called Freedom Convoy occupation/protest in Ottawa proves that one person’s party is another person’s nightmare.
The writer quoted chuckwagon driver and farmer Troy Flad as saying, “It was like pulling into Las Vegas, you can’t wait to get to the show…energy…love…respect for everyone.” No doubt that was Flad’s experience. I wonder how the 50,000 citizens who live in downtown Ottawa would describe the protest/occupation. While Mr. Flad and his fellow protestors were “partying”, many downtown Ottawa restaurants and shops were effectively shut down, putting hundreds of people out of work–people who wanted their own freedom to go to work. Buses could not run. The noise level of honking horns often fell between 80-100 decibels (the equivalent of having a lawn mower running in your living room.) People affiliated with the Freedom Convoy flooded Ottawa’s 911 with false claims, paralyzing the city’s emergency response line. Ottawa city councilors received death threats. Fires were started inside apartment buildings. I am sure that Troy Flad (well respected here in Alberta) did not take part in any of this illegal behavior, but someone did.
I also noted the phrase “convoy leaders jailed without bail.” It remains difficult for many Canadians to understand who all the leaders are and the various factions they represent. Some were arrested and in fact did get bail. Self-proclaimed leader Pat King is one who did not receive bail. Perhaps because he has a previous criminal record; perhaps because he is on record saying, “the only way this is going to be solved is with bullets.” In addition, at his bail hearing, he could not show the court he had a surety bond in place.
Noticeably absent from the story are remarks from agricultural groups like the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, Canadian Meat Council, Canadian Horticultural Council, and the National Cattle Feeders Association (all opposed to border blockades, offshoots of the Freedom Convoy movement). (Editor’s note: A few weeks ago, I researched the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association website in search of comments on the convoy and found none.)
Ms. Nelson-Licking writes that protestors were beaten, sprayed with pepper spray and dragged out at gunpoint. Who is she quoting for this report, or was she there? She is right in saying that some of the parked trucks had their windows smashed. In part, this is because many protestors brought their children and their pets to “the party” for weeks on end. Police had no way of knowing who or what was left in these locked vehicles.
Many of the protestors drove to Ottawa with good intentions. Hundreds went out of frustration. Many wanted to protest loss of freedom or perceived loss of freedom. Some went with the intention of overthrowing the government, or demanding, (as stated in a Memo of Understanding presented by leader Tamara Lich) that the Governor General and the Senate dissolve parliament. This isn’t how we do things in Canada, nor is it even possible under the Canadian constitution.
I write this letter as someone in support of lifting restrictions.
Black Diamond, Aberta Canada T0L 0H0
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