Editorial: Let’s choose our battles wisely

What Started as a “Freedom Convoy” of a Small Truck Group Leading to Ottawa protest against the January 15 mandate that Canadian truckers must be vaccinated to cross the US border quickly escalated at a rally in a few weeks in the center of the nation’s capital.

Even before the trucks arrived, the groups were looking for a reason to show contempt for what they thought was a federal government that was out of control. But the demonstrations quickly drew and then were diverted by more than those fed up with federal warrants. COVID-19 public health mandates, but those affiliated with the racist right and those who wanted to overthrow a democratically elected government.

Implementation of a vaccination warrant almost two years after the first federal warrant was ordered and when almost 90% of the country is already vaccinated, it is understandable that many truckers have been outraged. By January 15, they had been portrayed as “unknown” heroes of the pandemic, making sure Canadians had the food and other staples they needed to survive in isolation.

I agree that the mandate seems meaningless and could be argued as useless, as there is no evidence that truck transport has spread COVID-19 across the country or between Canada and the US.

It doesn’t even make financial sense. Inflation is skyrocketing and, according to Sylvain Charlebois, an expert on Canadian food supply chain issues, the cost of transporting trucks from Florida to Canada has risen by 25 to 100 percent in the last month, depending on destination.

The mandate also adds an additional burden to an already fragile supply chain.

As and blocking Canada-US border crossingswhich was the wave effect of Ottawa protest. A few days after Freedom Convoy arrived in Ottawa, separate convoys were organized by groups across the country, heading to the border crossings in Manitoba, Alberta and Ontario and blocking traffic, especially transportation trucks. for many hours and even longer – earlier this month. , crossing Coutts, Alta. left trucks and passengers stranded for several days.

No matter what your personal feelings about vaccines or other public health measures that the provincial and federal governments ask us to do in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, these protests are unlikely to achieve their goals.

In fact, for the agri-food industry, they have only exacerbated the problems of the supply chain and the movement of goods, animals and feed ingredients.

It was disappointing to see so many farmers joining the protests across the country. Not because they have no right to be upset about vaccination warrants and other restrictions, but because, like truckers, they were seen as heroes during the pandemic. Food is essential for life – and farmers have still been able to produce food for a very grateful audience.

Why stick with a movement that has paralyzed cross-border trade and could hinder your work and affect your livelihoods and public confidence? When consumers face rare or empty shelves, after food costs have risen by almost 10% in the last year, protesters will receive little sympathy and support.

It’s a matter of optics and credibility. Agriculture is facing a lot of criticism, so let’s choose our battles wisely. Editorial: Let’s choose our battles wisely

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