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'Event we're looking at this weekend is not what it appears:' Ottawa city councillor issues statement on trucker convoy

Somerset Ward's Catherine McKenney says while they believe protesting is a legitimate part of our democratic process, several members of this group are connected to militant racist, sexist, and homophobic groups.
2018-12-12 catherine mckenney mv1
Ottawa City Councillor Catherine McKenney, December 2018. Mike Vlasveld/ CityNews

Ottawa City Councillor Catherine McKenney has issued a statement regarding a convoy of unvaccinated truckers, making its way to Ottawa to protest the federal government's cross-border travel vaccine mandate. 

The Somerset Ward representative says, while they believe protesting is a legitimate part of our democratic process, the event planned for this weekend is not what it appears. 

Their statement reads:

"This week, a group of anti-public health protestors have stated that they will come to Ottawa and disrupt the legal commercial and transportation activities of our city.

As the Capital of Canada, Ottawa is used to protests. We usually see them on Parliament Hill, sometimes at City Hall or the Human Rights Monument or marching from one to another. I believe strongly that protest is a legitimate part of our democratic process and I support it and I have taken part in several.

I am encouraged by the 90 per cent of commercial truck drivers in Canada who have been vaccinated, and who have worked tirelessly to provide Canadians with food and goods throughout the pandemic. I am also proud of the Canadian Trucking Alliance who have opposed this protest.

But the event we're looking at this weekend is not what it appears. Several members of this group are connected to militant racist, sexist, and homophobic groups. Their statements and placards promote xenophobia. They are not here to only raise voices against vaccination mandates, but to also fuel hatred against the very fabric of our society.

I believe I speak for most Somerset Ward residents and others across our city when I say to these protestors: You are not welcome here. You have the right to protest. You have the right to disagree. You do not have the right to damage our infrastructure, to threaten violence, or to spew your statements of hatred, xenophobia, and racism to those who disagree with you.

Come peacefully. Come respectfully. Or do not come.

Catherine McKenney                    
Somerset Ward 14"

The "freedom" convoy set out from Vancouver on Sunday, January 22 and is scheduled to arrive in Ottawa on Saturday, January 29. 

The group does not have the support of the Canadian Trucking Alliance, which argues this type of demonstration isn't a safe or effective way of resisting the federal policy, which as of January 15, requires Canadian truckers to be fully vaccinated if they want to avoid a 14-day quarantine when they cross the border from the United States.

The alliance says the vast majority of truckers are vaccinated and that it strongly disapproves of any protests on public roadways, highways, and bridges. 

-With files from the Canadian Press 

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