Multiple Canadian groups are coordinating efforts to deliver fuel, food, and other resources to the “Freedom Convoy” of truckers lined around the nation’s capital this week, blocking traffic around Parliament Hill to protest the federal government’s vaccine mandate.
The effort, led by the People’s Party of Canada, Take Action Canada, and Taking Back Our Freedoms, among others, comes as the region is expected to get hit with snow and more sub-freezing temperatures this week.
“The big issue is that nobody really understood the magnitude of this movement,” Jim Torma, regional coordinator for the People’s Party of Canada, told Fox News. “Nobody understood how many trucks were actually going to roll into Ottawa. Nobody had a clue. Everybody was hoping to be maybe 100 or 200. Then there are thousands here.”
The Freedom Convoy of truckers left Vancouver for Ottawa on Jan. 23 to protest the federal government’s vaccine mandates for cross-border truckers and is calling for an end to coronavirus restrictions. The convoy reached the capital on Saturday and was joined by thousands of other Canadians protesting the mandates.
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Over the weekend the sounds of honking echoed around Ottawa’s downtown. A convoy of trucks and cars parked around Parliament Hill with some parking on the grounds of the National War Memorial before police asked them to move.
The truckers’ efforts have stoked mixed reactions, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calling them a “fringe minority” and said they reflected the proliferation of “disinformation and misinformation online, conspiracy theorists, about microchips, about God knows what else that go with the tinfoil hats.”
Other figures like former U.S. President Donald Trump and Tesla billionaire Elon Musk have expressed their support.
“We have a situation on the ground right now where people need food, they need fuel for their trucks,” Torma told Fox News on Tuesday. “They need other necessities and toiletries, and they need a place to go to the bathroom. So right now, what we’re doing is we’re working out the logistics for porta-potties. We’re working on the logistics for food.”
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Torma said the People’s Party of Canada is also trying to coordinate ATVs, snowmobiles, snow shovels, and plows ahead of a forecasted blizzard.
Fox News has reached out to Ottawa police and other law enforcement agencies for comment. An Ottawa spokesperson declined to comment on the group’s efforts to help truckers and referred to past comments the department has made.
“Police are aware that many demonstrations have announced their intention to stay in place,” police said on Sunday. “This will continue to cause major traffic, noise and safety issues in the downtown core. We urge all residents to avoid travel to the core.”
A surge of the highly contagious omicron variant has led to record cases and lockdowns in Ontario and Quebec, Canada’s most populous provinces. But restaurants reopened Monday with 50% capacity, and vaccine mandates imposed by the provincial governments remain in place.
Quebec’s premier, Francois Legault, announced Tuesday that he is abandoning his threat to tax the unvaccinated, saying the proposal has divided Quebecers.