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Depending on who you talk to, Convoy for Freedom 2022 is either an inspired vehicle for change or a misguided waste of time.
Yesterday, hundreds of truckers gathered in Vancouver to start driving their big rigs to arrive in Ottawa Jan. 29 to demand the government scrap mandatory vaccinations for truckers crossing the Canada-US border and ease other COVID mandates and restrictions for everyone.
The convoy, which is currently rolling through Saskatchewan, is said to be 20 kilometres long and is expected to only get bigger as more truckers converge and join from every direction.
Such a massive demonstration prompted NowMedia Group to hit the streets of Kelowna to ask whether or not they support Convoy for Freedom.
We received a mixed bag of responses.
Some said they support the truckers wholeheartedly because they speak to the increasing sentiment in Canada to ease mandates and restrictions now that the dominant Omicron variant is weaker and is no worse than a cold or flu for many.
Others feel the convoy is a waste of time and fuel and everyone who qualifies should get vaccinated to protect the public.
Here's who we spoke to on Monday about Convoy for Freedom:
Some of the chat on Convoy for Freedom's Facebook page suggests Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will flee Ottawa before the truckers arrive in order to avoid the issue.
Others say they've heard the government may call in the military to halt the convoy outside of Ottawa.
About 20% of Canadian cross-border truckers are said to be unvaccinated and if they are off the road it could cause additional problems with the supply chain of food and other goods.
Convoy for Freedom's GoFundMe campaign is a runaway success.
As of Monday afternoon, it had far surpassed its goal to raise $1.1 million to sit at $3.5 million.
More than 46,000 donors had contributed amounts ranging from $20 to $10,000.
The $10,000 came from an anonymous supporter.
"Truckers made the economy move forward," said Rylan McDowell, who donated $100.
"This vaccine mandate has been ridiculous on all levels, especially in this country. I hadn't been feeling very patriotic to Canada until the convoy.
Alexander Frangakis pitched in $20.
"Canada will return to being strong and free," he said.
"God bless the truckers and everyone else participating in the Freedom Convoy."
Jodie Chartier gave $50.
"I donated because it is time for tyranny to end and our lives to get back on track," she said.
"Thanks to all the truckers where ever they are from.
The convoy is organized by Canada-Unity.com/bearhug, the coalition of groups that "stand opposed to the current unlawful restrictions and discriminatory SARS-COV2 (and subsequent variants) mandates."
Some of the participating groups are Truckers United, Vaccine Choice Canada and Strong and Free Canada (The Voice of the COVID Counter Narrative).
Andrea Martin, a Kelowna-based efficiency and logistics consultant with Supply Chain Specialists sent a letter to all MPs asking for their support for Convoy for Freedom.
"Canadians are saying enough is enough," she said.
"We are tired of this government trying to make us hate each other. We are tired of this government failing to listen to our concerns or acting in our best interests. And we are especially tired of COVID-19 restrictions that have no basis in science, and which we are not allowed to question."
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