Published February 14, 2022
Canada’s “Freedom Convoy” has exasperated Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and drawn much denigration. But while the truckers’ sentiments remain a minority sentiment in Canada, their views are gaining support there and spawning imitators around the globe.
The truckers’ demands boil down to a simple plea: Don’t force us to do your bidding and deprive us of our livelihood when requirements will do little to fight the coronavirus. Truckers sit for hours alone and rarely come in close contact with anyone during their working hours. For them, vaccine requirements to cross the U.S.-Canada border are extreme and unnecessary. They also have broader demands to remove masking and vaccine passport requirements imposed by most Canadian provinces, which resonates with many U.S. conservatives.
That doesn’t mean truckers represent majority opinion. A recent Leger poll found that only 32 percent of Canadians want to remove all covid-19 restrictions. Another poll found that nearly two-thirds of Canadians believe the truckers are a “small minority” who are “selfishly thinking only of themselves.” Sixty-four percent of Canadians in yet another poll thought the protest threatens Canadian democracy while only 33 percent said the truckers had a right to protest and should be left alone. Support for the truckers rose to 44 percent when respondents were given an option to say whether they backed their views, but not how they were protesting; that still meant that 56 percent did not support the truckers at all.
Henry Olsen is a Washington Post columnist and a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
Henry Olsen, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, studies and provides commentary on American politics. His work focuses on how America’s political order is being upended by populist challenges, from the left and the right. He also studies populism’s impact in other democracies in the developed world.