Trucker convoy from Vancouver to Ottawa raises millions as vaccine-hesitant supporters flock to cause
A group of truckers has garnered millions in fundraising dollars from droves of supporters as it drives across the country to protest vaccine mandates, despite the vast majority of big-riggers having been jabbed.
Setting off from Vancouver on Sunday, the “Freedom Convoy” had raised more than $3.5 million from some 46,500 donors - about $75 per donor on average - by Monday afternoon in support of truck drivers poised to converge on Ottawa this weekend, according to the campaign's GoFundMe page.
The fledgling fleet is demonstrating against the federal requirement that essential workers - truckers included - be vaccinated if they want to avoid a 14-day quarantine after crossing the border from the United States. The rule came into effect Jan. 15.
Harwil Farms Mobile Feeds, whose 12 drivers deliver feed to farms and livestock to slaughterhouses in southern Ontario, donated $5,000 to the convoy, making it among the top contributors.
Owner Wendy Metcalfe said she believes vaccination is unnecessary.
“It doesn't seem to be working very well, does it? You've got people that are double, triple vaxxed, and they're still getting the Omicron,” she said.
“I'm definitely against the mandates, and I'm way more than skeptical.”
Research from studies in the U.S., Germany, South Africa and the United Kingdom indicate vaccines are less effective against the Omicron variant than earlier strains of the virus, but also that booster shots beef up antibodies to reduce the chance of symptomatic infection, severe illness or death. A third dose is also at least 90 per cent effective at preventing hospitalization for COVID-19, including for Omicron, according to a study released Friday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
Despite the money and effort invested into the convoy, Metcalfe expects Ottawa to stick with the mandate for cross-border truckers, as well as an upcoming requirement that all federally regulated workers get vaccinated. A deadline has not yet been set.
She insisted the convoy's fundraising figure may well be necessary, estimating the cost of diesel for a single tractor heading from Vancouver to Ottawa would range up to $5,000.
A slew of semis rolled through Calgary early Monday morning, though many may not be bound for Ottawa as some truckers sought to show solidarity for a few hours rather than 3,500 kilometres. Other groups such as a Montreal contingent are slated to leave the West Island on Saturday at 7 a.m. for a 200-kilometre trip - at far lower cost in food and fuel.
Regina police said Monday they expected about 400 trucks to pass through the city at around 5 p.m., with another 800 agreeing to swing around the provincial capital via a highway bypass.
The organizer is listed as Tamara Lich, a secretary on the board of the Maverick Party. Formerly known as Wexit Canada, the fledgling party advocates for the independence of Western Canada or constitutional changes that would benefit the West.
Reese Evans, general manager of Evans Trucking, said 14 of his 36 drivers who typically haul lumber across the Alberta-Montana border are unvaccinated - and largely out of commission following the vaccine mandate. His outfit donated $5,000 to the campaign.
“We as a company don't believe that the government - that it's their right to tell people what they should or shouldn't be doing with their bodies,” he said. “That should always be an autonomous decision for each individual person.”
Evans said the new rule, in conjunction with the U.S. decision to bar unvaccinated Canadian truckers from entering the country as of last Saturday - Canada has the same policy toward American drivers - would only exacerbate supply shortages and price hikes.
The funding support for the convoy suggests broad popular support, he said, though public opinion polls since August show a vast majority of Canadians back vaccine mandates for essential workers.
On Saturday the Canadian Trucking Alliance condemned protests on roads and highways. But Evans said planned demonstrations near border crossing points across the country this weekend are safe and legal.
“Nobody is stopping on the highway with their vehicles and crossing the roads,” he said. Rather the protest convoys will see semis “just moving very, very slowly in a big circle parade-style.”
Vashty Dansereau, a kinesiologist who lives outside Calgary, woke up early Monday to see the truckers off at 7 a.m. - part of a wave of sign-wielding supporters who turned out in several cities along the route.
“I think the goal is just to be heard, because what I'm finding is that there's only one side of information out there,” said Dansereau, who said she donated to the convoy because she is “skeptical” of the vaccines.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2022.
Vancouver Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
The decision by police to wait before confronting the gunman at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde was a failure with catastrophic consequences, experts say. When it was all over 19 students and two teachers were dead.
A Dene filmmaker based in Vancouver says he was "disappointed" and "close to tears" when security at the Cannes Film Festival blocked him from walking the red carpet while dressed in a pair of moccasins.
Justice Minister David Lametti is defending the federal government's authority to challenge provincial laws that they believe infringe on the rights of Canadians, after Quebec said Ottawa's reaction to Bills 21 and 96 lacked 'respect.'
As Russia asserted progress in its goal of seizing the entirety of contested eastern Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin tried Saturday to shake European resolve to punish his country with sanctions and to keep supplying weapons that have supported Ukraine's defence.
Around a hundred people gathered at noon Saturday at the empty Vancouver home where Chelsea Poorman’s remains were found late last month to show their support for her family's call for answers and justice.
Canada and Finland won semifinal games Saturday to set up a third straight gold-medal showdown between the teams at the IIHF world hockey championship.
Riot police fired tear gas and pepper spray at Liverpool supporters forced to endure lengthy waits to get into the Champions League final amid logistical chaos and an attempt by UEFA and French authorities to blame overcrowding at turnstiles on people trying to access the stadium with fake tickets on Saturday.
One week after a severe wind and thunderstorm swept through Ontario and Quebec, just over 48,000 homes in the two provinces were still without power on Saturday.
The devastating storm in southern Ontario and Quebec last weekend damaged thousands of hydro poles across the two provinces. CTVNews.ca gives a rundown of where utility companies get their hydro poles from, as well as the climate challenges in the grid infrastructure.
The fire at the vacant Pioneer Square Mall in Mill Bay that shut down Highway 1 for several hours on Friday is considered suspicious, Mounties say.
The British Columbia government wants First Nations to reach consensus before logging is deferred in old-growth forests on shared Indigenous territories.
After losing his wife Jackie when she was just 31, Adam is now completing a cross-Canada journey to raise money and awareness for research into the genetic heart condition that killed her
A spark on special teams gave the Calgary Stampeders the momentum they needed to beat the B.C. Lions 41-6 on Saturday.
Back on the track: Calgary high school athletes compete in city championships for first time since pandemic
More than 600 athletes from 29 schools competed Saturday in the first Calgary high school city championship competition since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
A group of volunteers spent their Saturday morning outfitting a Calgary home with new appliances, furniture and food for a family in need.
An emotional rally outside City Hall Saturday afternoon called for more permanent solutions to help keep Edmonton's Chinatown a vibrant community.
A slo pitch league in St. Albert is helping seniors stay active and have fun on the field.
A street in north Edmonton will bear the name of a Ukrainian dance company to honour their more than 50 years worth of contributions to the local arts and culture scene.
Toronto police are announcing the arrest of three men in a more than six-month human trafficking investigation that involved an 18-year-old girl.
Police say a coyote bit a child in a west end Toronto park on Saturday afternoon.
A person is dead after a fire erupted in an apartment in the city’s east end Saturday morning.
Quebec announced special financial assistance to cover food losses suffered by those using social assistance programs following power outages.
The CAQ wants to promote the idea that they are proud people; proud of themselves, proud to be Quebecers. It is the main message the party is choosing to deliver to the population four months before the election.
Is it unconstitutional to make someone pay to get a legal document translated into French? One of Montreal's top lawyers thinks so, and pointed out two other things from Bill 96 that he thinks the courts would most easily find fault with.
A building located on Mayfair Avenue is being declared a complete loss after a fire broke out Saturday morning.
In Manitoba, the average home price in April 2022 was around $372,000, which is up from April 2021, when the average price was around $328,000, according to Manitoba Real Estate Association.
It’s been nearly four months since the historic Kirkwood Block caught fire and was left in ruins, but it is now starting to be taken down.
A major fire ripped through a three-story Saskatoon apartment building in the 300 block of 108th Street W overnight on Friday.
The Prince Albert Police Service is investigating a homicide after a man was shot in the early hours of Saturday morning.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders along with other football teams in the province have declared a weekend in September as “Football Weekend” in the province.
High school students from the Prairie Valley School Division gathered in Lumsden to build and support the LGBTQ2S+ community with the third annual Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) Student Summit.
Environment Canada released a rainfall warning Saturday afternoon predicting 30-50mm of rainfall for the southeast corner of the province.
Rough road to recovery for N.B. duty-free shop – still holding out hope border traffic will increase
A N.B. duty-free shop owner at the U.S.-Canada border says high fuel costs and lingering requirements at the border are hurting business.
Two special prosecutors tasked with taking on Nova Scotia's human trafficking cases are sharing some insight into what's currently happening in the province's courts.
Vinyl lovers packed a community centre in Riverview, N.B., Saturday in search of a hidden gem or the missing piece to their collection at the bi-annual Moncton Record Expo.
St. Aidan’s Anglican Church unveiled a new art installation Saturday, in anticipation for pride month
As the provincial election campaign winds down the bid to secure critical votes heats up, with two party leaders, Doug Ford and Andrea Horwath, making a stop in London on Sunday.
The Glen Cairn community and Glen Cairn School collected over 1300 boxes of mac and cheese to create a domino line that would then be donated to the London Food Bank
A small but passionate group gathered Saturday to protest the Ford government and autism therapy wait times outside PC MPP candidate Vic Fedeli's campaign office on McKeown Avenue.
The Sudbury Defeat Depression Walk/Run returned to Bell Park on Saturday, as the COVID-19 pandemic eases and normal events resume.
A long line of cars wrapped around the Humane Society's parking lot in North Bay Saturday morning as dozens of cats and dogs got microchipped.
The Kitchener-Waterloo Dixieland Jazz Club held a rumpus New Orleans-style wake on Saturday, in remembrance of its long-time director Nancy Pauli. Pauli passed away in February at the age of 81.
No driver's license was needed for a group of high-schoolers driving their own electric vehicles through the University of Waterloo campus on Saturday.
From crayons to corks, car seats, bicycles and batteries, the second semi-annual Re: Purpose Fest took place in Guelph Saturday afternoon.