Alberta truckers protest vaccine mandate, join ‘freedom convoy’ across Canada

Truckers from across Canada are heading to the nation’s capital in protest of a federal vaccine mandate.

The convoy began its trip Sunday on Highway 1 and will be joined by truckers from other provinces as it crosses provincial borders.

Monday morning, the convoy made its way into Alberta, with several truckers from Calgary joining the “Freedom Convoy 2022.”

The truckers are planning to be in the nation’s capital by Saturday, when a rally is set to take place.

According to safety rules posted by “Freedom Convoy” organizers, truck drivers are asked to stay between 60 and 100 kilometres per hour, and to stay behind the convoy of trucks.

The truck drivers are also getting some help to pay for their trek, with an online fundraiser raising more than $3 million.

However, despite many truck drivers taking part in the “Freedom Convoy,” the move has not received the support of the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA).

In a statement, the CTA says it “strongly disapproves of any protests on public roadways, highways, and bridges.”

The organization says this type of demonstration isn’t a safe or effective way of resisting the vaccine policy, adding drivers must adapt and comply with cross-border vaccination rules.

“CTA believes such actions – especially those that interfere with public safety – are not how disagreements with government policies should be expressed,” the statement reads, adding members who want to publicly show how they feel can instead “choose to hold an organized, lawful event on Parliament Hill or contact their local MP.”

The CTA adds the vast majority of truckers are vaccinated, and that about 10 per cent of the 120,000 Canadian drivers who cross the border are unable to work those routes because they haven’t received their shots.

“What is not acceptable is disrupting the motoring public on highways and commerce at the border,” the CTA writes.

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The Canadian and American governments have both made vaccines mandatory for commercial truck drivers to be able to cross each country’s respective borders.

On Jan. 15, the federal government mandated unvaccinated or single dosed Canadian truckers to quarantine when entering Canada based on pre-entry, arrival, and day-8 testing.

American truckers are also turned away at the border unless they’ve been fully vaccinated.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney weighed in, saying he understands the idea of a vaccine mandate, but enforcing a vaccine mandate on those who transport goods may not be the best course of action.

“We have done that ourselves, and Alberta Health Services and Alberta Public Service with an option for regular rapid antigen testing. But, I think we need to apply these policies with a heavy dose of common sense,” Kenney said.

Kenney says we can’t afford to lose any more truckers transporting goods across the border at a time when the supply chain is increasingly fragile.

– With files from The Canadian Press

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