Ottawa protests

By: Abi Hernandez Castillo & Thalia Pliego

The people of Canada have been demanding to put an end to the COVID-19 vaccine mandates. These protests have been going on since late January of this year. According to ‘Fortune’, Canadas “Freedom Convoy” began when the protestors, many of which were truckers, drove from the west coast of Canada to the national capital of Ottawa. They are protesting the COVID-19 mandate for truckers.

Besides truckers, ordinary Canadians were also fed up with the restrictions that the pandemic has placed upon them. Some claim that the mandates cost them their jobs and have affected their families, and because of their frustration, they have also joined the protests. These protesters were spreading to the border crossing between Canada and the United States and interrupting trade. 

Because of these protests, truckers have cost half of a billion dollars worth of daily trade with the United States. Since the protestors have left Ottawa paralyzed, the mayor has declared a state of emergency. The mayor of Windsor, Ontario, where the protesters have closed down the Ambassador Bridge border that crosses to the United States, said that the police were preparing to physically remove any protesters if it was necessary. Even with this subtle warning, the protesters did not let that stop them. According to ‘Fortune’, they continued to fight until officials decided to remove all COVID restrictions nationwide. 

How do these protests in another country affect us here in the United States? According to ‘Deseret News’, Jeff Schuster, president of the LMC Automotive consulting firm in Troy, Michigan said, “We’re dealing with part shortages in general and supply chain issues. This is just another wrench in the industry that we’re dealing with right now.” Schuster mentions the lack of parts and this is not just him experiencing it. Any business in the United States that relies on Canadian trade is being impacted at a high level right now.

According to ‘Newsweek’, the Ottowa City Council has voted to “redo” Valentine’s Day on March 14th, 2022 because as a result of the protest, restaurants, and businesses that would usually be open on Valentine’s Day and get more sales were forced to close. The city council and development staff would work with local businesses to promote shopping and dining on March 14th, 2022.  Susan Murray told CTV News, “I think it’s great that the city has thought about small businesses and what impact the last February 14th might have had on them”. Many businesses are losing money due to the protests and having to close down. The Rideau Center, which is a shopping mall, lost approximately $20 million CAD in the week of these protests.

The very few police officers, that were seen, were swallowed up by the enormous crowds of people. Scott Spenser, 36, said in the ‘New York Times’, “They don’t have an easy job, hopefully, this all ends peacefully and they lift the mandates and we all get back to living.”

Many who supported the protests wanted the “Freedom Convoy” to continue until vaccine mandates and other COVID-19 measures in the country were dissolved. The police said that they may arrest anyone who is blocking the streets or helping anyone else do it. They also mentioned that anyone going into Ottawa to join the protests may have their vehicles seized, face fines, or have their licenses suspended. 

According to ‘ABC News’, A judge has denied bail to one of the leading organizers behind the Ottawa protests on Tuesday. Ottawa police have made 196 arrests, with over 100 facing more than one charge. 115 vehicles were also towed that were connected to the protest.

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