Free country – still

Everyone has a story to tell. Some are true, some are fictitious.

When the lines blur it becomes a case of make believe. Such is the case this week as one letter writer laments our editorial last week mirrored the narrative of the prime minister. Granted, to reach that conclusion one would have to go through some fairly large contortions lifting words and phrases, and eliminate context to come up with that. Free to make believe. Free country – still.

As noted last week, the rally started as a protest by truckers that turned into something far different from its origins out west. While the right to protest is fundamental, a distinction needs to be drawn between a peaceful protest to make a point and an occupation.

How was it that farmers and truckers were able to peacefully make their way into Toronto and Quebec City, make their point and go home peacefully? Those interviewed live on TV did so passionately and told their story in their own way. There was plenty of free speech on hand that day. And as those spoke, so did others – against the protestors. Free country – still.

Does Ottawa and its residents not deserve the same? That quest for freedom should not come at the expense of others, whether that be business owners, residents in the areas affected or employees wanting to make a living. That was the irony and the hypocrisy of which we wrote.

Since then, the Ottawa occupation has dragged on, although muted now by a court order directing horns to be silenced.

Other protests have gained steam elsewhere, closing access to the Ambassador Bridge, limiting access on the Alberta border along with other locations. Blockades don’t qualify as peaceful protests and much like the innocent residents of Ottawa trying to get by, factory workers and businesses reliant on “just-in-time” shipments across the border will now be held up. Fellow truckers hoping to deliver their goods are held up as well. Does that sound fair on any level – denying people work?

Suffice to say, Canadians are plenty tired of the pandemic and eager for a safe return to normalcy. What that looks like and when is anyone’s guess, but the vast majority are inclined to approach the problem patiently and respectfully.