In northern news, Ottawa’s protests and blockades have broken out over covid-19 restrictions. It has led to a state of emergency in the capital city, as right-wingers are increasingly showing up to support what amounts to an attempt to bring Canadian life to a halt over restrictions that, at their core, protect human life. Last Saturday and Sunday, protesters were reported to have fired fireworks, roadblocks, driving on sidewalks, and non-stop horns. Other reports by police show that the so-called Freedom convoy members threw eggs and nails along the streets. There are also reports of arson involving two unidentified men in the red zone of the convoy, though it is not confirmed if they were committing these acts are their own or were part of the convoy itself.
It should be noted that there is a certain element of far-right and Trumpist influence that is in the protest and has been there from the beginning. Former Trump advisor Paul Alexander was spotted at the protest, and numerous other right-wing activists and racist actors have been spotted there. Alexander has appeared alongside the People’s Party’s leader Maxime Bernier. But more than just Trump allies, far-right and secessionist parties have been at the core of organizing the protests.
One of the loudest supporters of the protests and one of the people parroting its arguments is Pat King, a well-established racist who has said that the only way to get rid of government protests is with bullets and has claimed that the government is going to depopulate the caucasian race because they want to get rid of the one with the strongest bloodline. It is also worth noting that the People’s Party, the conservative party for Canada, has also been deeply associated with far-right organizations and figures even before they promoted this event. The riding director for the People’s Party is Shane Marshall, who, according to the Canadian anti-hate campaign, has posed with and supported white nationalists. Another example is Chelsea Hillier, who has also used white supremacist symbols and propaganda on her Instagram, promoting avowed white nationalists Nick Fuentes and Tyler Russel.
It is not the first time these protests have been organized or popped up due to the far-right. In 2019, there was a protest called the “United We Roll Protest.” The Yellow Vest Canada movement organized the protest and was heavily associated with Islamophobes and racists such as Faith Goldie, who has been associated with and has participated in a neo-nazi podcast hosted on the Daily Stormer. Far from being unrelated, the Freedom Convoy’s members have sometimes promoted the work of the Yellow vests of Canada.
My goal in bringing this up isn’t just to point to the far-right in this movement, though that is certainly an important part of the story. Instead, I want to call out what is just…a disgusting attempt by Americans on the right to use this protest to emphasize our understanding of freedom onto the Canadian political system.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has supported the protest and announced an investigation against GoFundMe to remove the convoy from its site, calling it “ an anti-mandate, pro-liberty movement.” The fact of the matter is that the American right is polluting the politics in Canada, and they already have enough problems on their end when it comes to far-right politics. It also doesn’t help that the American right is largely consumed by its conspiracism and disregard for basic facts. Paxton’s treatment of GoFundMe is a perfect example of this. What he won’t mention is that the Canadian police were investigating alleged criminal activity by supporters of the convoy, and thus, GoFundMe didn’t want to be associated with such a messed-up movement. It’s also worth noting that nearly 85 to 90 percent of the truckers in Canada are vaccinated, so if anyone is using this movement to say that it represents the working class, they are lying.