Trucker Convoy to Shut Down Ottawa in Protest of Vaccine Mandates

Hundreds of Canadian truckers plan to descend on the nation's capital of Ottawa on Friday in an attempt to shut down the city in protest of a COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

The mandate, initially enacted by the Canadian federal government and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, went into effect on January 15. The mandate requires any truck driver crossing into Canada from the United States to provide proof of vaccination.

A similar mandate, which went into effect on January 22, requires the same proof of vaccination for truckers driving from Canada into the United States.

Under the mandates, unvaccinated American truck drivers are turned away at the border and not allowed to enter Canada. Unvaccinated Canadian truck drivers are allowed to enter the country but must undergo a 14-day quarantine period.

Approximately 10 percent of cross-border truck drivers—around 16,000 people—were affected by the mandate, according to data from the Canadian Trucking Alliance.

Despite outcry from unvaccinated truck drivers, the Canadian federal government has refused to change its stance on the mandate. In a statement sent to Newsweek in early January, the Canadian Ministry of Transportation did not say that it would make any exceptions for those who had not received the shot.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has posed unprecedented challenges to thproe trucking industry, and our Government recognizes the impact it is having on those working in the commercial vehicle and logistics sectors," a ministry spokesperson stated. "The dedication and commitment of these workers has ensured the continued movement of goods and the ongoing delivery of essential services to Canadians across the country, and they have helped maintained access to essential goods and the economy during this difficult time."

"Our Government is committed to continuing to work collaboratively to find solutions to logistical challenges that have emerged since the onset of the pandemic," the statement continued.

Canadian Truck Drivers
A large gathering of truck drivers are planning to descend on the Canadian capital of Ottawa in order to protest a COVID-19 vaccine mandate that was enacted by the federal government. While the protesters have stated that they plan to be peaceful, law enforcement is still preparing for potential clashes to occur. Here, supporters of the truck drivers follow a convoy of trucks on their way to the Ottawa protest. Cole Burston/Getty

However, as the mandate continues, Reuters reported that "hundreds of truckers" are currently heading toward Ottawa to protest the government's decision. However, police officials have stated that there could be anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 total people participating.

This protest will involve parking trucks on the city's Parliament Hill, which will likely cause a chokehold in traffic across Ottawa's downtown area.

The truckers will reportedly converge in the capital city on Friday. While the protesters have stated that they plan to keep the demonstration peaceful, law enforcement in Ottawa was not taking any chances.

Without specifying, the Ottawa Police Service tweeted that they were aware of "inappropriate and threatening language on social media related to this event." They also stated that the protesters would likely cause "significant impacts on traffic throughout the area" for the upcoming weekend.

"There will be consequences for persons engaging in criminal conduct [and] violence," the police force continued.

As the protesters drew closer to Ottawa, a number of parties on social media weighed in on their actions. This includes perhaps an unlikely individual: Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and the world's wealthiest person.

Musk tweeted Thursday that "Canadian truckers rule" in support of the truckers. The tech mogul has been outspoken in the past about his anti-vaccine views related to COVID.

However, one person that did not share Musk's opinion was Justin Trudeau.

In Trudeau's response to the protesters, a transcript of which his press office sent to Newsweek, the prime minister stated that "we know the way through this pandemic is by getting everyone vaccinated, and the overwhelming majority, close to 90% of Canadians have done exactly that."

Trudeau added that "the small fringe minority of people who are on their way to Ottawa, who are holding unacceptable views that they're expressing, do not represent the views of Canadians who have been there for each other, who know that following the science and stepping up to protect each other is the best way to continue to ensure our freedoms, our rights, our values as a country."