Canada’s Largest Trucking Group Asks Protesters to Leave Capital City But That’s Not Happening
Ottawa, ON — Canada’s largest trucking group is asking truckers protesting in the nation’s capital to leave the city, but that’s apparently not going to happen any time soon.
In a statement on Saturday, the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) again denounced the unprecedented Freedom Convoy which is being led by thousands of truck drivers and citizens demanding an end to the country’s draconian COVID-19 mandates and restrictions.
“To those in the trucking industry that have chosen to participate in this protest regarding cross border mandates, we ask that you engage in a peaceful demonstration today then leave the City of Ottawa to avoid any issues to the welfare and safety of the citizens of Ottawa,” the CTA said.
The CTA, which represents approximately 4,500 carriers, suppliers and owner-operators — including some of Canada’s largest trucking companies — urged protesters to consider how their actions may impact public sentiment toward the industry as a whole.
“Your behavior today will not only reflect upon you and your family but the 300,000 plus fellow Canadians that, like you, take great pride in our industry. Please remember this important responsibility you bear today in delivering your message responsibly but also the impact your actions will have on the image of the majority of your colleagues from coast-to-coast who do not share your opinion but share your passion for the industry and country,” the group stated.
Additionally, the CTA appealed to the public to “be aware that many of the people you see and hear in media reports do not have a connection to the trucking industry” and “have a separate agenda beyond a disagreement over cross border vaccine requirements.”
The latest denunciation from the CTA comes after the group unsuccessfully lobbied Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and governmental leaders to abandon its cross-border vaccination, testing, and quarantining requirements, which took effect January 15.
Earlier this week, the CTA seemingly waived the white flag in the fight against the new requirements urging cross-border truckers to take the jab.
“The only way to cross the border, in a commercial truck or any other vehicle, is to get vaccinated. As an industry we must adapt and comply with this mandate and the vast majority have,” the group said.
It’s a far cry from what CTA President Stephen Laskowski was saying late last year, warning of serious consequences to the already stressed supply chain if the mandate was imposed.
“Make no mistake, if this mandate moves forward as planned, it would bring significant consequences for the cross-border economy, which will be felt by the Canadian and American public,” he stated at the time.
However, the CTA is now touting the “silver lining” to the mandate is that Canadian truckers are “likely to see their compensation increase significantly,” citing an executive from Canadian mega carrier Bison Transport, which lost 10% of its cross-border workforce when the new restrictions were imposed.
When asked this week about the CTA’s about-face on the cross-border policy, Tamara Lich, a lead organizer of Freedom Convoy, told Transportation Nation Network (TNN) the group is “spineless.”
“CTA is not helping the little companies,” Lich said. “They are there for big businesses. Nobody is coming to stand up for the truckers, so it’s up to the truckers to get it done and that’s what they are doing.”
MORE ON FREEDOM CONVOY
Freedom Convoy organizers have since released a list of demands of Prime Minister Trudeau and governmental leaders.
Lich and other top organizers say they will not leave Ottawa until those demands are met.