Convoy of the deluded

As Yogi Berra once said: “It’s like déjà vu all over again.”

Here we go again with another truck convoy to Ottawa by the misguided fuzzy-thinkers.

Three years ago, it was the “yellow vest” movement that inspired a convoy of trucks to leave Edmonton and head for Ottawa.

image: Pinterest

I spoke to one yellow vest protestor back then who had brought her vest to Mexico and intended to wear it on the beach as a symbol of solidarity against PM Trudeau and immigration. Wearing it would have been puzzling to the Mexican tourists, who were in the greatest numbers by far. She never did.

In 2019, the “Stand Up Canada Yellow Vest Pipeline Rally” began a truck convoy that was supposedly inspired by the French yellow vest protests. But much was lost in the translation.

Other than the wearing of yellow vests, named after the fluorescent garments that French motorists must carry in case of emergency, the Canadian version was a mishmash of slogans and vague anger.

Unlike its unclear Canadian counterpart, the French yellow vest movement was actually about something.  In France, on Nov. 17, 2018, hundreds of thousands of people occupied roads and tollbooths, blocking traffic around the country to protest a fuel tax hike. They vented anger at the broader economic policies pursued by centrist President Emmanuel Macron, who is seen as favouring the rich.

The Canadian yellow vest movement raised about $100,000. According to the group’s gofundme page, its cause was:

“Our goal is to put Western Canada’s oil field workers back to work, end the useless and redundant carbon tax, end the dependency on foreign oil and stop shipments from Saudi Arabia, see pipelines constructed to tidal water.”

However, the cause was muddled elsewhere. Yellow vest protestors in Calgary carried signs reading “Quebec please separate,” “Build pipelines” and “The UN is a scam.”  The protest against Canada’s acceptance of immigrants referred to a move by the United Nations to deal with the migration crisis out of Syria which was on a scale not seen since the Second World War.

Then Conservative leader Andrew Scheer said that signing of the UN motion would mean that “foreign entities” would be able to dictate Canadian immigration policies.  Scheer’s characterization of the pact’s legal authority was later dismissed as “factually incorrect” by a former Conservative immigration minister, Chris Alexander.

Fast forward three years and here we go again with an ill-defined “freedom convoy.”

Now Andrew Scheer tweets that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is “the biggest threat to freedom in Canada.”

Some Conservatives are falsely claiming that vaccine mandates are leading to empty grocery store shelves.

Protesters are carrying “F–k Trudeau” flags, harassing journalists and staff a homeless shelter, and desecrating national monuments.

And straight out of Trump’s la-la land, convoy organizers have written a “memorandum of understanding” calling on the Senate and the Governor General, to repeal all vaccine-related restrictions.

In shades of the January 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol a year ago, one organizer called Trudeau a “criminal” and said the goal of the convoy is to “compel the government to dissolve government.”

Like groundhogs, Canadian dark-web dwellers emerge every few years. Blinking and confused in the bright daylight, they regurgitate the slogans and vitriol seething inside them. They jump on whatever bandwagon is passing by.