Trucking Company Owners Weigh In On Freedom Convoy: ‘Should Not Have Messed With Truckers’
Reinfeld, MB — Canadian trucking company owners are weighing in on the unprecedented convoy en route to the nation’s capital city to protest.
The Freedom Convoy, a protest to Canada’s COVID-19-related mandates and restrictions, is being led by the trucking community and is currently making its way through the country seemingly gaining steam with each passing moment.
Having already raised over C$3.5 million in about a week, organizers tell Transportation Nation Network (TNN) they estimate 50,000 trucks and 500,000 people will be in Ottawa on January 29, to make their voices heard.
Ben Peters, owner of ADT Transport in Leamington, ON, will be there and so will some of his drivers.
Peters is a 47-year-old who runs a successful small fleet of 13 trucks hauling injection molds on flatbeds for the automobile industry.
Much of ADT’s business is cross-border and Peters tells TNN his company has been “affected greatly” by new vaccination, testing and quarantining restrictions.
Many of ADT’s drivers have chosen not to take the jab and are now losing their livelihood as a result.
“I believe people are waking up,” Peters told TNN. “The government has been telling us for two years to flatten the curve, but instead of flattening the curve they have increased it.”
Rick Wall is the owner of Richland Transport in Reinfeld, MB, and he is also pushing for the restrictions to be lifted.
“Everybody’s tired of our rights and freedoms being taken away from us,” Wall told TNN. “We feel it’s our time to stand up.”
The 41-year-old married father of three young children describes himself as a “God-fearing man” who is a proud Canadian, but he can no longer sit by and do nothing about what he sees happening all around him.
“Everything they have done to this point has been a complete failure and yet they keep pushing their narrative and it’s affecting the truck driving community,” Wall said.
He began his company in 2012 and manages a fleet of 30 trucks, mostly owner-operators, hauling open decks cross-border throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Wall told TNN the mandates are having a “tremendously negative” impact on his company as many of his leased operators do not want to take the jab and now he has a “number of trucks sitting loaded in our yard with nowhere to go.”
Amid high demand already, Wall predicts cross-border freight rates will soon “skyrocket.”
“Customers will pay anything to get it done,” he said.
While some truckers will certainly seize on the opportunity to cash in, Peters said his company will not, arguing it will only make matters worse for fellow Canadians who are already struggling to make ends meet.
“If we keep increasing our rates we are causing an inflation,” Peters explained.
Last week, Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra defended the mandates for the trucking community calling COVID-19 the “biggest threat to our supply chain.”
In a social media post, Alghabra claimed “almost 90%” of Canadian truckers are already jabbed.
Wall pushed back on Alghabra’s assertion saying he believes as many as 50% of Canadian truckers are unvaxxed.
“Our government is lying,” Wall responded. “They underestimate to try to keep the general public to not be on edge.”
Despite the enormous enthusiasm and energy surrounding the Freedom Convoy, the question still remains, will protesters succeed in pressuring Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Federal Government to end the mandates?
Organizers tell TNN they intend to remain in Ottawa until governmental leaders acquiesce to their demands.
Both Wall and Peters are optimistic.
“I honestly feel the government will retract and end all mandates not just for the truck drivers,” Wall told TNN. “The trucking industry is the last line of defense for Canadians to get our freedoms back. If we stop, the world stops. They should have known better than to mess with the trucking industry.”
Stay with TransportationNation.com for the latest developments.