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Notes #65

Tuesday, January 25. I was in Portage la Prairie for lunch with an old friend who lives in Brandon; we kinda met halfway. On the way back to Winnipeg I began to see a few trucks, cars, and vans all parked alongside the highway. Many of the vehicles had Canadian flags draped over them and a few "freedom" signs plastered to the sides of their vehicles. I was puzzled at first but then I remembered something about a truck convoy coming from the west. The anti-vaxxers were demonstrating against truckers having to be vaccinated to cross the border.

The trucker protest was against the federal ruling that says, "unvaccinated or partially vaccinated Canadian truck drivers entering the country (Canada) must get a PCR modular test within 72 hours planned entry, get tested when they arrive and then self-test on the eighth day of a mandatory 14 day quarantine period (same as every other Canadian citizen)  Shannon Sampert, Winnipeg Free Press

The Canadian Trucking Alliance does not support the protest. They have stated that the vast majority of persons working in the trucking industry have been vaccinated.

It seems that many of the individuals and groups who support and promote this protest have their roots in extremist groups that are using the anti-vaccination movement to further their own agenda. As for the anti-vaxxers themselves, I am sick of their whining about their feeling unheard, disrespected and marginalized because of their stance. Perhaps it is those patiently waiting to receive word, after multiple cancellations, that their surgery is once again cancelled, who need to speak up. Apparently in Manitoba alone there are 150,000 surgeries/medical procedures on hold because of COVID patients taking up the beds, of which 70% are not vaccinated. Perhaps it is the non vaccinated patients who need to wait at home for a bed and let the surgeries happen.

Back to my trip home from Brandon. I'm not quite sure why, but I don't ever recall feeling more ashamed or disappointed to be Canadian. Using our Canadian flag to symbolize their self-centred campaign of anti-vaccination, anti-mask or whatever their true motive is. I saw many of their faces up close as I had to slow down near the weigh scale entering Headingley and some were smiling like they were at some kind of club meeting, while others were angry and contorted and reminded me of some of the images we saw a year ago when the US Capitol building was being stormed. There was even one person standing on top of a huge mound of snow waving a large Canadian flag and shouting at the top of his lungs something about freedom. Yes he had found his gang, his tribe, his people-- who think, or think very little--like he does.

The thousands that lined the highway had a purpose - to show the rest of Manitoba, Canada perhaps, that they had a right not to get vaccinated or not to wear a mask and nobody was going to tell them they had to be socially responsible and save their family or neighbours' lives. The information they received was better than what the doctors and scientists of the day had provided and their misled beliefs were killing people and strangling the economy. But who cares, "I don't need to listen to you because I have the right not to care. I live in a free country which means I have absolutely no social responsibility at all to my friends, family, neighbours and fellow Canadians." And our provincial government is so afraid of what their vote count might look like in the next election, that they are turtling.

I don't want to fight with my fellow Canadians who don't believe in vaccinations and masks and instead choose to believe extremist rhetoric, but during that short 45 minute drive I didn't really feel like I was in my Canada and I was enraged.

Joan Bryden, had some interesting things to say in last Saturday's Free Press.
Far right extremists and white nationalists have latched on to the trucker protest with some calling for "bullets" or a "massive revolution" or a riot akin to the insurrectionists who stormed the U.S. Capitol a year ago.

Canadians are not represented by this very troubling, small but very vocal minority of Canadians who are lashing out at science, at government, at society, at mandates and public health advice.'s typical of 'conspiracy theories' that spread ' misinformation and disinformation' about the pandemic and how democratic governments work. They do a very good job of seeming reasonable or sounding legitimate by using fake experts and pseudo-legalistic language... People get roped in by their terrible misinformation.

Our Prime Minister noted that the protesters use the appealing rally cry of "freedom". "The most important freedom is freedom for Canadians who were doing the right things to be able to get through and beyond this pandemic, freedom to see their loved ones, freedom to be able to know that their kids are safe as they go to school, that our businesses are going to be able to get through this pandemic."

I think it's time we stopped hoping people will change their mind and get vaccinated. Let's stop trying to educate them on the science that shows quite clearly the advantages of the vaccine and begin a more no-nonsense approach to defeating this world wide pandemic that is taking literally millions of lives on this planet and thousands in our own province. Getting vaccinated is the socially responsible thing to do and our government and an extremely high percentage of the population see it as the rule of the land. So if you choose not to abide by this rule there will be a price, just as there is a price if you choose to drive too fast-- you get a fine; or choose not to pay your water bill--they cut you off. So if you choose to go against the majority of Canadian citizens and our health experts, then I say:
     No Vax-No Shop (pick up only, not allowed in stores).
     No Vax-No Hospital (or reduced hospital beds so elective and life-saving surgery can happen-something needs to be done to protect the integrity of the hospital system-why burn out people  on those who don't care enough about others to acquire and believe what is just common sense and true ).
     No Vax-pay for your own hospital stay-don't ask us tax payers to pay when your behaviour is literally killing us and the economy.

                   I won't do it and you can't make me-

                    sounds like a three year old doesn't it?