Let them Truckers Roll - if they can afford the gas prices they can drive all day

By Ray Rivers

February 2nd, 2022



It was 10 pm on December 3, 1973 when a 37 year old trucker from Kansas, with the CB handle ‘River Rat’, was on a regular meat products haul but found himself running out of diesel fuel. So he stopped his vehicle on Pennsylvania I-80, picked up his mic and told the world that he’d had enough with high fuel prices, limited/rationed supply and a 55 mph speed limit.

Having stopped the traffic on that highway, it wasn’t long till truckers everywhere in America joined his protest. Then came the song (see link below) and then a movie. This was a movement and these truckers were folk heroes. So the organizers of today’s Freedom Convoy would very much like to re-channel that sentiment. After all, America had been stuck in an energy crisis which was, in some ways, not unlike the public health crisis we’re facing today.

The truckers have absolutely no idea what this woman does: She is the Governor General of Canada – a wise person doing what is a ceremonial role for the most part.

But that is where the similarity ends. That 70’s convoy was a spontaneous act of civil disobedience. The convoy sitting in Ottawa is a premeditated act of attempted sedition. They are threatening to somehow get the Governor General (GG) and head of the Senate to sign a Memorandum of Understanding which will dissolve Parliament and wipe out an entire suite of federal and provincial laws and regulations. They would replace an elected government with the appointed Senate and GG and themselves – Canada Unity.

Canada Unity, the primary organization responsible, is a rebranding of United We Roll, also called Canada’s yellow vests. In 2019 they rolled into Ottawa to demand more oil pipelines for Alberta. Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, perhaps at the urging of his campaign manager, a former Rebel magazine executive, met with them. And even back then they were a pretty unsavoury group.

Supporting organizations today include Soldiers of Odin, the Diagolon network and the Plaid Army. The web site ‘antihate,ca’ identifies some of these associates as neo-Nazis, holocaust deniers, and just plain good old racists. Somewhere in the mix are the western separatists and a lot of folk who don’t actually drive trucks.

The pretence for the convoy idea makes no sense. It wouldn’t matter if Canada waived its border vaccine mandate, since the US has the same requirement. And, seriously, since 90% of truckers are already vaccinated and their very own truckers associations disapprove of this protest, it’s hard to believe that the vaccine mandate is anything but a false flag. Clearly something else is driving this movement.

It is unclear how Canada Unity assumes they can get the Governor-General and leader of the Senate to sign this memorandum of understanding without applying some kind of coercion. At least one of their crowd has hinted at doing what happened at the Capital Building in Washington last year. So the RCMP are on alert.

Prime Minister Trudeau is isolating following contact with someone testing positive for COVID. And that is a convenient cover for what we’d normally call hiding. He is no doubt sequestered by the Mounties much as the legislators in DC ended up in January a year ago. But Erin O’Toole is promising to meet with this anti crowd.

O’Toole has little choice. He is under attack for caving in on the carbon tax and flip flopping on so much else during the last election, and needs to show that he too can cater to the right wing extremists. As a former military officer, it is hard to believe he relishes the meeting, however.

Pierre Poilievre, the current pretender to the Conservative throne,

Pierre Poilievre, the current pretender to the throne, is nipping at his ankles, trying to impress the rightwing zealots in the Conservative caucus that he’s the heir apparent. He does indeed have an incredible talent when it comes to stringing together meaningless phrases like ‘vaccination vendetta.’

And Poilievre is also really good at promoting alternate facts, such as the fake images of empty grocery shelves his cabal of radicals posted on social media, despite the photos originating somewhere in Britain. Barely two weeks into the vaccine mandate, he posts…“Trudeau’s vaccine vendetta is emptying grocery shelves and ballooning food prices.”

Poilievre either doesn’t know the real reasons that have dogged the supply chains or he is being dishonest. Has he forgotten that we first ran out of toilet paper in March 2020? That was almost two years before the trucker’s vaccine mandate came into effect.

Metro stores president and CEO Eric La Flèche said the biggest problem has been absenteeism, with workers throughout the supply chain falling sick with COVID-19 or having to self-isolate. Further, it was noted that almost 100,000 trucks crossed the border the week after the mandate came into effect – about the same as usual for that time of year.

There was a time when the biggest reason to vote for a candidate was their honesty. Clearly times have changed. What do we call someone who is prepared to peddle misinformation and cavort with potential terrorists just to get headlines? One can only hope it’s not ‘prime minister’.

One of the convoy leaders, Mr. Steenburg is a real trucker. And he is proud of his TikTok page which is filled with videos promoting conspiracy theories about COVID-19 vaccines, pandemic denialism and videos promoting fictional war-crimes trials for those responsible for vaccine mandates. But he claims he’s keeping an eye out for trouble makers.

Steenburg claims that this movement has raised $7.5 million in donations collected through GoFundMe. Clearly that didn’t all come from NDP leader Jagmeet Singh’s family, though his brother-in-law was a big donor. Mr. Singh has condemned the protest. And it is unclear whether all that money has yet been released to pay the protesters for fuel, food and accommodation, and those monstrous Canada flags.

Parliament is not in session, the prime minister is not in Ottawa and MPs have been told to stay away. So nothing exciting may take place, and with a bit of luck they’ll go home in peace.

Peaceful protesting is part of our democratic tradition, but did they really have to bring those humongous trucks? This convoy driving from BC to Ottawa and idling their engines all night, just to keep warm through the coldest nights of the year, may have single handedly generated enough carbon to keep Canada from meeting it’s Paris climate targets. Why didn’t they just take the train?

There may be a song and movie about the Freedom Convoy, but probably only if the leaders of this protest really do go ahead with their attempt at a coup d’état. They haven’t come to Ottawa just for the drive. But Parliament is not in session, the prime minister is not in Ottawa and MPs have been told to stay away. So nothing exciting may take place, and with a bit of luck they’ll go home in peace.

In a tweet Mr. O’Toole said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberals want to “smear and demonize” truckers. It appears the convoy leaders have already done that to themselves and to the Conservative party members who support them.

Ray Rivers, a Gazette Contributing Editor,  writes regularly applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was once a candidate for provincial office in Burlington.  He was the founder of the Burlington citizen committee on sustainability at a time when climate warming was a hotly debated subject.   Ray has a post graduate degree in economics that he earned at the University of Ottawa.  Tweet @rayzrivers



Background links:

Trump Jr. –

Convoy Song’73 Convoy –     BS on Supply

Poilievre Tweet –   Tories Promote Convoy –

Convoy More Dangerous –

Trucker HateEmpty Shelves Story –    Fake Photo of Empty Shelves

Canada Unity –    ANTIHATE.ca

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22 comments to Let them Truckers Roll – if they can afford the gas prices they can drive all day

  • Lisa Cooper

    Have any of the respondents been to Ottawa during this national protest? My husband and I were both there the first weekend. I have never felt so much pride to be Canadian. They are fighting for all of Canadians freedom with all the obstacles they are being placed on them and us. Where is our PM (hiding under a rock in Tofino is what I heard)The only violence that has been reported is someone plowed into protesters in Winnipeg(the left). Our PM is in hiding and the world thinks him a clown. I hope all you politcians that supported the lockdown and mandates go down this year,

    Editor’s note: Ms Cooper ran as a candidate in ward 3 during the last municipal election – she lost – it was her4th or 5th loss

    • Mary Hill

      Ms Cooper. That rabble bunch of anarchists are not fighting for me, do not represent me, have never sought my opinion. Trying to impose their thoughts and will upon the entire population without being elected is just plain wrong. They don’t even represent their own trucking association let alone anyone else.

      They want the Federal govt to withdraw the trans border vaccine mandate, right? Let’s say the Feds agree and do withdraw it. What then? I ask that because there is the same vaccine requirement in place by the USA Federal govt to enter the USA. So the unvaccinated truckers would still be excluded. Stupid truckers!

      With such a lack of understanding of, or support for the democratic process, and in supportng a group that is trampling on the freedoms and rights of other citizens, no wonder Cooper has lost at the polls so many times.

  • Ted Gamble

    Crazy conservatives Carol? That’s up there with the PM’s incredibly divisive “fringe minority with unacceptable views””.

    I understand there were 1000 citizens at Guelph line cheering on the convoy. Are they crazy too and the tens of thousands and likely (millions) that support a plan to remove all mandates. Although the feds would like to see a booster mandated and that’s their narrative it will never happen provincially other than perhaps Quebec. Then there is the border piece. It will never happen in the USA. We need to learn how to live with this virus like any other.

    The reason Canadians are not stepping up. If you visit the federal web site today you will find that only 40.5% of eligible Canadians are boosted and only 16% of children between the ages of 5 & 11 have received their second dose. That’s a large minority…..

    If you believe this is Americanization creeping in you are misguided. I have lived and worked in eight provinces, This is polarization largely fostered in Canada by politicians seeking power. Trudeau is a master at this, west/east, French/English, rural/urban, race, religion. I didn’t think he had another card until Covid appeared and voila.

    I am vaxed, boosted and belong to no political party. The boost was my last. I am 100% supportive of what to this point is perhaps the most peaceful demonstration I have seen in my 68 years. The FLQ crisis I lived through was certainly not. Lets all hope it stays that way and there is no provocation as it expands to Toronto, Quebec City, and Winnipeg.

  • Carol Victor

    Had no idea that almost everyone writing here are such crazy Conservatives…thanks Ray may you continue to write your opinion pieces that in this case dove tail with my take on things…Trudeau is rightly letting the democratic process play out…if and when things escalate is the time for the feds to get involved. So much of what is is truly anti – Canadian values…caring about what happens to our fellow citizens . Freedom is now the buzzword for lack of responsibilty. I can’t help but feel that there is too much Americanism infiltrating our country…a real pity..

    • Bob

      Not everyone who disagrees with your opinion has to be a Conservative. Not that there is anything wrong with not being a Liberal, seeing how the current crew in Ottawa were elected with only 33% of the popular vote. That would make you and Ray in the minority

  • Ted Gamble


    I am new to this online Gazette and missed the obvious title that it is an opinion piece. That said in the short time I have been reading the Gazette I have seen little balance in what I have read to date.

    Hopefully that will change however opinion or not all media should strive to achieve balance and in my view this is routinely missing from Canadian media today. The coverage of the Ottawa protest being a good example.

    I am politically agnostic and bringing up trust in government was a reach on my part. That said my trust is at an all time low with the continued (mis) handling of Covid by all levels against the back drop of chronically underfunded health care system. Perhaps it was Ray’s apparent long term allegiance to liberal Kool aid that drew me in.

    I strive to do better!

  • Gary

    No, you didn’t say wing nuts or fringe, which was exactly what was wrong with your column and what I complained about. You cherry-picked some extremists and coated the whole convoy with those views. And, no, you did not cite the SPLC, but you did refer to the website antihate.ca which does note to its affiliation with the SPLC. You are known by the company you keep.

    I wouldn’t want those people to be the PM either, but I am not very pleased with the cowardice displayed by the current holder of that office. I watched a British news/opinion show today and he was branded as the worst example of world leader in a democratic country because of his reaction to this truck protest. A national embarrassment.

    • Maggie Riley

      Gary, is not the management and law enforcement of the protests in Ontario and Alberta not the responsibility of the Provincial and municipal governments, not the Federal government?

  • Ray Rivers

    Thank you for your comments. This article was sent in Saturday at which time those details, such as the Parliament not being in session, were accurate. I had no control over the delayed publication date and I apologize for any confusion. And indeed, monstrous also means huge. I never used the terms wing nuts or fringe, and the Southern Poverty Law Centre was not a source of information.

    The discussion about misinformation was sourced from major media including the Globe, Star and CBC. It is my opinion that someone who peddles misinformation and embraces the organizers of a convoy whose express purpose is to overthrow our government, would not be my choice for PM. I appreciate that not everyone will agree with me.

    • Bob

      Again with the false narratives. The organizers of this convoy do not have the express purpose to overthrow our government! There are agitators and extremists that have latched onto the protest but you can’t paint the whole group on the ideals of a few.
      Otherwise I would be able to say all Liberals grab womens butts and see things differently and they all wear blackface etc etc and it would have as much truth to it no?

  • Ted Gamble

    Mr. Rivers articles are examples of why many Canadians no longer trust government or media in Canada. It is a shame that the Burlington Post permits him to serve up liberal party propaganda regularly in this local Burlington on line forum. He and many others are completely detached from reality and what is really going on in Canada.

    Editor’s note: You are confusing the Gazette with the Post – the two are very different newspapers. Also River’s writes an OPINION column/ Those are his opinions and he is clearly identified as a Liberal. You don’t have to agree with him. Quite why you are so fussed with what Rivers has to say suggests you don’t understand media’s role.

    We do appreciate your reading us though

    • Bruce Leigh

      I’m not sure why you conclude the appearance of an opinion (labeled as an opinion) written with a Liberal bias, reduces trust in government or media. I would have thought it should strengthen one’s trust in both. You have the ability, and you clearly use it here, to argue for or against Rivers’ opinion or the opinions of others that are published here, whether as an opinion piece or as a reader’s comment. That Bob is freedom of speech. If an opinion piece covering the same topic was to be published, but written with a strong PC bias, would that also test your trust in government and the media?

      If you were unable to voice your opinions either via the media or in public (demonstration) then distrusting government and media would be a reasonable position.

      • Bob

        Bob never said he distrusted government, nor the media.
        What I said, and it is still there if you care to read it again is that I find Mr Rivers’s writing was incomprehensible with his false facts and poor writing.

        • Bruce Leigh

          My apologies, Bob. I meant Ted on that point.

          But I do disagree with you as respects your characterization of Mr Rivers and his writings. There is no doubt the demonstration has been hijacked by even more unsavory people than ot’s “leaders”. The initial organizers have a right to protest but not hold a city or a major transportation route hostage, or demand our democratically elected govt bow to their demands.

          • Bob

            Is that not the point of any protest?
            Be it a mask mandate, Ferry Creek wanting a stop to logging?
            Caledonia? Oka, etc etc
            It’s what protesting is for, people trying to change government policy through peaceful demonstration. A fundamental pillar of a democratic government

            Just because I disagree with their cause doesn’t make me waver in my support for their right to protest.

  • Gary

    Wow! Talk about smearing. You don’t just use abroad brush; you use a high pressure paint gun. There are estimated to be 10,000 protestors. At one point the convoy was stated to be 45 miles long. Surely, you are not implying that all these people are illegitimate as being wing-nut, fringe elements.

    As for Mr. Trudeau, he went into hiding before he allegedly and conveniently caught Covid. I remember the scathing comments you levelled at Stephen Harper who hid in a closet from an attack from a gunman who actually shot someone and penetrated the Parliament buildings. Mr. Trudeau, on the other hand, fears the words of the truckers. Poor wimpish lad. The apple really has fallen far from the tree. How well I recall his father who was pelted in Quebec by protestors and defiantly stood his ground and dared them to do their worst.

    As to your sources? An organization run by the likes of the entrapment specialist, Richard Warman and the hopeless Bernie Farber: associated with the disgraced and disgraceful Southern Poverty Law Center.

    Altogether, this is the worst column you have written. I would be ashamed to have my name associated with it.

  • Denise

    Wow, really, wow. I thought this was only going to be a nonsensical attempt to smear the Conservatives. I have really underestimated it.

    “monstrous Canada flags”
    Hope he means “monstrously large…”, but from the article, I can’t be certain.

  • Ted Gamble

    Bob is correct. Mr Rivers continues to reinforce a widely held belief today of the lack of credibility that the main stream media has often termed as fake news. It is unfortunate that this kind of propaganda is reinforced in a local news feed. Perhaps so called journalists should be licensed.

    Editor’s note: Licensing is not a good idea. Being credentialed is what is normally done. WE are members of the National News Media Council. They are a body run by experienced journalists to whom we are accountable.

  • Ray Rivers

    Thanks Bob – this piece was written and submitted as the convoy was arriving in Ottawa – but was late getting published.

  • Bob

    Parliament IS in session
    Trudeau IS in the Ottawa region at Harrington Cottage
    Steenburgs claim that their GoFundMe has raised $7.5 million is easily researched on the GoFundMe itself.

    The problems with Mr Rivers articles is they aren’t based on fact and are unreadable because even as an op Ed piece they are so poorly written
    There are fringe elements in this protest, as there are in all protests, be it BLM, or Indigenous protests. The Ferry Creek protests in BC have no indigenous people all radicals etc etc