A federal vaccine requirement for cross-border travel for truck drivers has sparked the creation of the Freedom Convoy 2022.
The convoy has spread all across the country, and thousands of truckers have united, and are making their way from all parts of Canada en route to Ottawa to stand up against the vaccine mandate, and government control.
The convoy left British Columbia on Saturday, and Sunday (January 22, 23, 2022) is scheduled to roll into Kenora at around 7:00 p.m. Their destination once arrived in Kenora is the Husky gas station (420 Lakeview Drive).
The convoy is expected to depart Kenora at around 9:00 a.m. Wednesday morning (January 26, 2022) on their way to Thunder Bay, before making it to Ottawa by January 29, 2022.
The Kenora Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) has been in contact with the convoy and has confirmed approximately 200 to 300 vehicles will be coming through Kenora.
Kenora OPP Provincial Constable, Jason Canfield said they had a meeting earlier on Tuesday to come up with a plan for the traffic.
“Our plan is to be present for traffic control in a number of areas around town just to help the flow continue to move. If we weren’t there the traffic could be backed up, lights could be blocked, and it could be bad for everyone else trying to move,” Canfield said.
Canfield wants to advise residents who are out on the road Tuesday night they could experience delays due to the high traffic.
The federal mandate came into effect on January 15 in Canada, and January 22 in the U.S. for all truckers to be fully vaccinated to cross the border. The mandatory vaccines aim to avoid a 14-day quarantine when truckers cross the border.
Benita Pedersen, a promoter for the Freedom Convoy 2022 said this movement is not just about the vaccine mandate.
“This convoy is uniting Canadians coast to coast it is building spirit and it is building hope. There are many Canadian who are opposed to the [COVID] restrictions,” Pedersen said.
“Now the truckers are affected by the [vaccine] mandates, and they are ready to take their stand. What’s interesting about Freedom Convoy 2022 is that this isn’t just about truckers, this is about doctors, nurses, law enforcement officers, teachers, and so much more,” Pedersen added.
Pedersen explained that once the convoy reaches its destination in Ottawa, the group wants to open lines of communications and change minds within the federal government.
“The goal is to meet with one or more federal representatives and discuss these mandates, and bring these mandates to an end. It’s all the mandates, not just the vaxpass, it’s the mask-wearing, the social distancing rules, the capacity rules, and so much more.”
Sources told Pedersen that some moments of the convoy have consisted of over 70 kilometres of vehicles.
As per the Freedom Convoy 2022 Facebook page, around 10,000 American drivers are making their way north from various states to participate in the convoy.
Up to 26,000 of the 160,000 drivers who make regular trips across the Canada-U.S. border would likely be sidelined as a result of the vaccine mandate in both countries, according to the Canadian Trucking Alliance and the American Trucking Associations.
Some 30,000 trucks roll across the border each day hauling nearly $850 million in freight, according to 2020 figures from the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
The federal government says over two-thirds of the goods traded between Canada and the United States travel by roadways. The total value of traded goods between the two countries is listed at around $650 billion.