By Claire Gordon • 26 January 2022 • 22:43
Credit: Gavin Young
A convoy of Canadian truckers has begun a trip cross-country to protest against the vaccine mandate brought in by their government. The procession has been named the Freedom Convoy and its participants say the mandate will create driver shortages and fuel inflation.
The drivers had raised C$2.7 million ($2.2 million) by Sunday through a gofundme campaign to fight the mandate. The funds raised would be used to help with the costs of fuel, food and lodgings, the gofundme page said. The convoy is expected to reach Ottawa on Saturday 29 January after leaving Vancouver on Sunday 23 January.
More than two-thirds of the $521 billion in goods traded between America and Canada each year travels by road so the trucking industry is vital to ensure that supplies are available on either side of the border. But as many as 32,000, or 20%, of the 160,000 Canadian and American cross-border truck drivers may be taken off the roads due to the mandate, the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) estimates.
However, in a statement released by the CTA on Saturday, it said that it does not support any protests on public roadways or the Freedom Convoy and the only way to cross the border on a commercial truck is by getting vaccinated.
Canada imposed the vaccine mandate for the trucking industry on 15 January, under which unvaccinated Canadian truckers re-entering Canada from the United States must get tested for COVID-19 and quarantine themselves. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau resisted pressure from the trucking industry to delay the vaccine mandate and gave it the all-clear within its original timeframe.
Driver shortages are further expected to fuel red-hot inflation which is running at a three-decade high, industry lobby groups gave said.
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