Oh god, oh god…. I shouldn’t be writing about this topic, my calm and reasonable friends. But today and yesterday I can think of little else. The damned anti-Covid-mandate protests. They make my blood boil. Our city (or part of it at any rate) is under siege. It has been occupied by big honking (literally) lines of trucks. Blocking streets, and intersections. Forcing businesses and restaurants to close. Intimidating residents who live downtown. And while many of the protestors are “peaceful,” they are still noisy, and their trucks are spewing fumes from, as one news story puts it, the “hundreds of vehicles [which] are parked and idling.” And they have taken over our downtown.

It’s the first time, since I moved here in 1979, that I (almost) wish I did NOT live in the nation’s capital. And I thought the stay-at-home order, and various lock-downs over the past two years created a siege mentality. Pah.

Downtown Ottawa under siege.
Seriously, I’d not want to walk through this mess. source

I am not going to get into the wishes of the protest organizers. Or the fact that they have been well funded, in part from south of the border. Or that Trump has labelled the protestors heroes and freedom fighters. God. That one made me laugh. I even heard our federal government referred to as “an unlawful government.” Come again? Anyway… I’m not going to argue the issue per se. Although my view is pretty clear. I don’t want to be deluged with comments from trolls. I had enough of that the other night. On Facebook.

I mean, how stupid am I?

My well-informed brother-in-law had posted an article about the protest on his Facebook page, and was trying in a remarkably restrained manner to explain the idea of democracy to someone who, in a comment, supported the protest. While protestors absolutely have the right to march and protest, he explained, they cannot occupy a city illegally. Expecting the government to change laws to suit what has basically become a mob is undemocratic. And would undermine democracy, and take away everyone else’s right to have their government act on their, and everyone’s, behalf.

Then I stupidly waded in. Eventually, the commenter accused me of not “taking the time to do my research” and being biased (my word… because d’uh, we’re all biased.) It was clear, he said, that I had based my opinion only on information from “government sponsored media” and thus not worth having a conversation with because I was so ill-informed.

At which point I shut down the computer. I can’t do that kind of thing. Argue with someone who is flippantly insulting. My blood boils. And then I can’t think straight. Except at three in the morning when I think of what I should have said. And I cannot deal with rhetoric, stock phrases that I have heard before, about freedom, and rights. Especially when people so clearly don’t know how OUR democracy works. That our form of government is different from the forms of government in other countries. Anyway, enough about that. Except to say that as Canadians we should all know how our own country is run.

Cough, cough. source

And you know what gets me? The fact that, as Hubby says, this guy doesn’t know the difference between fact, evidence, and opinion or judgement. And I do because I taught that stuff for years when teaching kids how to write an essay that uses evidence to support a thesis. This guy doesn’t seem to know the difference between fact and anecdotal evidence. Or when an article is an opinion, and when it’s straight objective reporting. Or how to read an article written by someone who clearly has an agenda, and parse out the facts from the hyperbole and emotionally-loaded language.

I taught kids how to use emotional (or connotative) language in their writing; I know it when I see it. Most of us who read widely do. Like calling the convoy protestors, protestors, and the BLM protestors a mob. Or vice versa. Or using anecdotal evidence to prove your own point, and then when the opposition uses it dismissing it by saying these were “isolated incidents.” Angry people don’t necessarily have open minds. That much I know. Because I’m angry now, and I don’t want to hear any more about how our freedoms are being eroded by mask and vaccination mandates.

Convoy protestors enjoy a  hot tub set up in a downtown intersection.
Oh yeah… it’s all one big party in this blocked intersection downtown. source

So yeah. It’s just one big party here in the nation’s capital these days. For some. And it appears as if Ottawa residents are crying foul that our streets have been closed down by big trucks… for weeks.

Residents of Ottawa protest being under siege by truck convoy
Local residents mounting their own anti-anti-mandate march. source

Anyway. I’ve been listening to news reports on several news channels lately. On both sides of the border. Always interesting to see how this situation is viewed from afar. And this morning I did quite a bit of extra reading. From both the “government funded” media (as my FB “friend” calls the CBC) and other sources. Not surprisingly, the non-mainstream media made an awful lot of use of that old connotative language. Ha. Interestingly, A National Observer article includes quotes from trucker organizations and unions calling for the government to put an end to the blockades, and not just the ones at the border. And says even the Conservative party’s initial support for the protest has dried up. But the battle, and the siege, continues. You can read a few articles here, here, here, and here, if you want.

Okay. I’m done. I’ve vented. And, you know, I feel better.

And I want to add that if you support the truckers’ occupation of my city, that’s fine. Everyone has the right to their own opinion. Of course they do. But please don’t lecture me in the comments. Because while this city is as much mine as anybody else’s, this blog is all mine. My little space on the internet. And as such I get to control whose comment gets published and whose doesn’t. If you want to rant against Prime Minister Trudeau, or rail against Covid mandates and equate mask-wearing with loss of freedom … do it in your own cyber territory.

We’re every last one of us tired of the whole pandemic thing. These last couple of weeks have just been the icing on the cake for me. And catapulted me down a siege related rabbit hole. Reading, ranting, reading, ranting. The fact that I waded into that conversation on Facebook the other night is just proof that I am not myself. I never do that because I realize how futile it can be.

And to those of you who are as calm and rational as usual, and when reading this post, have stepped back a little and thought …”Whoa, Susan, calm down.” … I apologize. I don’t usually get political on my blog. Or quite so rant-y. Unless it involves trying to find a perfect pair of jeans. Ha.

My next post I will be back to normal. Or as normal as I ever get. Or at least calmer. I promise.

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72 thoughts on “On Siege Related Rabbit Holes”

  1. I am on the other side of the country and I am livid and disgusted by these occupiers. I am shocked at how ineptly this has been handled by all levels of law enforcement.
    And using children as shields is unconscious able.
    Time to end this. With force if necessary.
    This is OUR capital. Take it back.
    Love your post. I too need to vent obviously!

  2. Susan,
    Rant all you like. As you say, this is your space. And as you’ve so accurately stated, after two years, we’ve all had enough. Arguing with people who will not adequately research the topic before spouting nonsense is futile.
    Just know that your little bit of cyber space and your witty, well-written posts keep some of us in a better place, and is a much-needed distraction from the idiots on Facebook and in our communities.

    Hoping your siege ends soon.
    Kim

  3. Can’t add anything but solidarity. I’ve been raging for weeks as well. When I’m not brought to tears wondering how we got to this. Xo

  4. I’m with you, Sue. Forget about avoiding debates with strangers; I’ve been avoiding topics with family members for two years now, because I’d like to have a family after this is all over. But I can’t help feeling that some relationships have been forever changed.

    Glad you could get this off your chest!

  5. Hi Sue, this siege scares, saddens and infuriates me. Similar, though smaller, sieges are happening in Australia.
    Sending you love and light from here!

  6. I agree so wholeheartedly with your post. And it is gut-wrenching that (some) Canadians are so easily manipulated by the “freedom convoy” leaders.

    Before the pandemic, I went to an excellent panel discussion entitled “Civil Discourse in an Age of Anger” – training every individual, group and community could benefit from if we want to truly talk to each other and find common ground to preserve and protect our fragile democracy.

  7. Glad you got that off your chest. I cannot believe the children that have been taken to this mess and are being taught such lessons. I almost got into it with a restaurant owner at my table this past week about it, and then backed off when I realized how adamant she was that she was right. I just want to scream at these people, but that would just raise my blood pressure. There is no reasoning with stupid. I send you strength to deal with this and hope there is an end soon.

  8. Delurking to say I completely understand how you feel as we are seeing the same here in Wellington, NZ. Appreciate your courage to publicly state your views as the opposite views have had a lot of importance so far. Ironically last year New Delhi in my home country suffered through 12 months of blocked roads by self proclaimed farmers. At that time Justin Trudeau offered support to those fraudulent Indian protestors. How times have changed for him now (Karma maybe)

    1. Sue, these protests upset me so much I cannot bear to watch, read or discuss it anymore. It actually makes me teary and ashamed of our government. I feel it’s an embarrassment and other countries must be shaking their heads that this travesty has been allowed to continue for so long. If all these protesters really believe that Canada has infringed upon their freedom, may I suggest they move to Iran, Afghanistan or somewhere where they can come to appreciate Canada better.

      1. Or Russia! They all seem to be so enamored of Russia! They should go there and see how much that government listens to protesters or how they are treated! I’m talking about the ones here as well.

  9. A faithful reader and rare comment writer here agrees one hundred percent! I am so angry and frustrated with the whole situation, and the utter stupidity that masquerades as freedom fighting. Rant away!

  10. Rant away! Put me down as another who is frustrated and angry with idiots who think that honking a horn in a big truck makes them a “freedom fighter”. So far, I haven’t heard one of these so-called protestors who can actually articulate what the goals are for this occupation. Carrying a sign displaying rude/obscene comments and yelling “freedom” doesn’t seem like much of an explanation.

  11. Totally agree. 95% of our population are vaccinated. We have the same small percentage of “freedom” protestors here in Melbourne Every Saturday they march down the main street and block off the trams, and I and my friends have abused them on occasions when we’ve been in the city for lunch. There is no way to reason with them, as don’t ya know – they have all done their research and the media is always lying blah blah..

  12. I’ve been trying to follow the problems in your city which look to have been exacerbated by funds from extremists in other countries . I find it so depressing that the brilliant scientists of the world produced their life saving vaccine in record time only to have it rejected by a chunk of the world’s population . Yes it’s a personal decision but as members of the human race we have a responsibility to each other to beat this thing . Or should have . I can’t throw any stones at your government in all this . Our UK government would be too busy partying to sort anything out .

    1. I agree with you Wendy but thank goodness for Professor Whitty and his quiet determination to get the science across to the deniers. Here in Wales we have Mark Drakeford taking the flack for being honest, truthful and sober ( not a pun) when making covid related decisions.

      1. Very true Fiona . Thank goodness for Professor Whitty , the voice of gentle reason . And yes , the Welsh & Scottish governments have shown up Boris Johnson & his cronies .

  13. Hi Sue, Important that you ranted. There’s only so much sensible people can take. It sounds like it was part of a group to disrupt governments in various places around the world. Canberra (Australia) & Wellington (New Zealand) had protests too but not on that scale or for so long. Were they conducted just to see how far governments were prepared to go before they acted to force people & trucks to disperse? I personally find it terrifying that these people (not truckers generally) with various beliefs can hold governments to ransom. Is it a precursor to other 6/1/20 events? Somehow I don’t think they’re all anti- vaxxers, but whatever, they are being manipulated by somebody. There is this crazy cashed up political group called the Freedom Party here in Australia led by a millionaire called Clive Palmer trying to manipulate our federal election in May. These international groups mention Freedom in all their rallies I think. Admittedly, lots of people have lost businesses & homes which I can understand makes them angry but also easily manipulated.
    I listened to an interesting podcast today from NYTimes THE DAILY which I can thoroughly recommend. Thanks for reading my rant!

  14. I understand your feelings – the fury, the impotence, the frustration, the despair. Life can be very difficult at the moment and finding a way to live without unending anger is quite a task. FB is somewhere I can fall down that rabbit hole unless I listen to the warning shriek in my head that tells me to read and move on. And that is a polite rendition of the actual shriek in my head. Being sharp-tongued, I have to weigh up whether or not it is worth reading the badly spelled and apostrophe-averse replies that inevitably follow, should I comment.

  15. Hi Sue,
    I totally agree with you. You found the right words for all this twisted thinking people!
    Hope you feel better in the meantime…
    Hugs from Cologne,
    Susa

  16. I have been following the events in your country and I have not been able to understand what it is that these protestors want. “Freedom” isn’t a clearly defined political objective, is it? For people to get so emotional about something so vague there must be a lot of frustration and disappointment around, a fertile ground for all types of manipulators to work with. What frightens me is that such groups susceptible for manipulation can be found in many countries all over the world and the pandemic seems to have stirred them into action everywhere.

  17. Oh Sue. I totally agree. Living just outside Australia’s capital Canberra, we too have had these protests although not on the scale of Ottawa. Bad enough though and for a tolerant circa 98% vaccinated city it has been horrible and people have tried to understand why a rag tag disparate array of people with grievances are gathering here.

    Sadly there is no meeting ground and there are no easy answers.

    And I never thought I’d say this, but I don’t want to understand those grievances because they seem to me to be extraordinarily selfish and life threatening.

  18. I’m with you ,Sue!
    I’m so tired and sad dealing with people here “who are for freedom”
    Yes ,one can have one’s freedom and go live in a dessert or deep woods or on top of mountains,but in an epidemic in a city or a village,one’s freedom and choice could end in death or  consequences for someone we love,our spouses,our parents,our children,our friends….or us……

    I’ve never met someone so far who wanted freedom for me and fighted for my choice of not wearing mask (impossible thing for me,not wearing mask,tbh,never happened) when I’ve operated them or their children

    Dottoressa

  19. People have gone nuts everywhere! I tried venting one time a couple of years ago on FB. did not get far with that. So i gave it up and only vent verbally to my husband who had no other choice but to listen to me or got to the grocery store (which he does alot! he doesn’t play golf!)I gave up. Stupid will be stupid!it is not worth it to get upset. It will not make me any happier,so in my case,retreat is good! I just play on the computer and read blogs!

  20. Well, Sue…obviously you have never lived under a dictatorship! Well, my whole family has, and some have lost their lives to aggression! There are prices to pay for silence and acceptance to domination, and prices to pay for freedom! You choose! Also, the money that has been donated to the truckers has been confiscated by your government. And many more abusive measures have been threatened!
    Freedom is costly…it is precious! These men, who are risking everything, have weighed the price, and have decided to pay it! Freedom can be uncomfortable….painful at times; but when you realize you have lost it to a handful of egomaniacs, you understand their is no other choice!
    Finally, don’t worry about Trump…keep you eyes and ears on your self-made deity, Trudeau!
    Angela Muller

  21. I live in the red zone. I am angry every day at what is happening in my city. I echo your rant Sue. Language does not do justice to the emotion I feel. Thankyou for putting words down on the page that I cannot right now.

  22. Sue – I am SO sorry this is happening to y’all up there, and especially sorry for the $$$s and support coming from the crazies in this country. Rant away, sister – I would be if they were messing up my patch – anymore than they already are down here…And as others have said, you cannot argue with a fool.
    Hope it gets better soon. Hang in there….

  23. I have a simmering rage at the minority who have degraded our quality of life in the name of “freedom.” Thank you for this post. As a former English teacher in the US, I now know I should have spent more time on logic.

  24. I was born in Ontario and spent the first 30 years of my life there before moving south of the border, not by choice but because my husband was transferred. An American friend ‘joked’ that living so close to the US has infected Cnada with the same virus that has infected Americans since the 2016 election – anger, hate & division. In the last two years, I’ve ‘joked’ that I hope someone’s working on an anti-stupidity vaccine but I’m not hopeful. I too am sad about what’s happening in my homeland and for your sake, so close to the eye of the storm, hope for a resolution and soon. I’m sorry that Angela thinks you (and us) have your head in the sand.

  25. Hundreds of kilometres away from Ottawa (but with a son and daughter-in-law there whom we visit regularly), I have felt so upset by this situation that I can hardly bear to read more than the headlines in the news coverage. We have a young neighbour who has been sporting large Canadian flags on his jacked-up pickup truck in support of the demonstrators, and I feel hugely disappointed in him (and aghast at what the Canadian flag has come to symbolize for these yahoos in our nation’s capital). My heart goes out to you, Sue, in your proximity to it all. I hope there’s some small comfort in knowing that the majority of Canadians across the country share your consternation.

  26. You go, girl! It seems to me that the worst virus spreading around the world these days is rank stupidity. Call it ‘conspiratitous.’ A global epidemic.

  27. I completely agree with you and appreciate your post. I can’t believe that we have allowed a certain group to make a difficult situation so much worse than it needs to be. If that money had only been used to work together to fight Covid in the beginning I have no doubt that many lives could have been saved. We were doomed when certain groups decided to follow politics rather than science and now we all suffer. Thank you for this thoughtful post!

  28. As with the majority of commenters, I could not agree more. I thought of you in Ottawa and wondered how you were faring. That whole situation looks awful. I’ve also (once or twice) engaged with people on FB and quickly changed my mind. There is no rational discussion with people who aren’t willing to look at reality.

  29. Im sorry for your experience on FB and having to watch that whole scene from much closer than we who live south of the border. I routinely do not engage in any conversation that is a different viewpoint from my own. Unfortunately, what happened to you is too predictable.
    Have some tea, escape in a good book and avoid going to the scene till it clears.
    Sending hugs from the other side of the border! You are NOT WRONG on this issue.

  30. I was shocked at the number and amount of support/donations to the protest from the U.S. Also shocking is the number of people who continue to consume Kool-Aid here. Astonishingly, the absurdity of our previous administration continues to thrive and is spreading throughout the world. I never look at FB anymore and stopped watching the news after the election. It’s just too distressing. Loved the “rant” and hope things improve soon.

  31. I think only one other commenter here actually is in the ‘red’ zone . We are just at the edge of it but can hear the horns, the fly over helicopters and planes though spared the stench of diesel. Traffic has been redirected and blocked off. People afraid to walk alone as they are harassed. A hospital worker (CHEO) was followed and taunted while they lit firecrackers behind her…Our son works in the midst of it ( Rideau & Sussex)and it has me very worried. He has been harassed on the LRT and on the street for masking. Since the Rideau station is closed he has to walk through the protestors to the next station. He’s a slight man and looks like what he is, a bearded University student who works at a book shop. He said that he just keeps his head down and walks to work or the station. The store in question has been closed to the public but bringing in staff to attend to orders, stock etc. Those on the outside do not realize that a lot of the protestors remaining here no longer care about mandates ( most of which are provincial). They are here to bring the government down. A government people voted for! Those remaining are the most dangerous. Well organized and populated by ex RCMP and ex military…and goons. These people are the worst type of bully.
    Please keep well Sue. It is hard and there is much disagreement going on..a friend of mine is not speaking to her parents who head downtown weekends to ‘support the cause’…I have unfriended those who rabidly support the occupier’s ESPECIALLY if they do not live here!

  32. There is so much I could write in answer to your post but most of it would just be echoing what every one else has said. This “privilege convoy” has saddened me beyond words. I have cut way back on my news consumption because it has begun to bother me so much. Hopefully it will end soon and we can get back to the Canada we all know and love!

  33. Bravo, Sue – very clearly and beautifully expressed, of course. I’m so sorry for the negative influences to the south, which seem to be victimizing your city.

    ceci

  34. Sue…

    Sometimes a rant is vital for mental health. Sometimes, as during a pandemic, an online rant is the best option, to feel someone can hear/read the message. Sitting in a small rural town in Texas, I hadn’t thought of all the negative consequences caused by the big trucks and their drivers to people living in the city. Thank you for a wider perspective, and I agree with your viewpoint.

    On a lighter note, if there can be one, I also would like to thank you for teaching me something new. Without your rant, the word connative and its meaning would have passed me by.

  35. Rant away Sue!!
    I’m mad and frustrated too!!!!
    Freedom? … it’s always been there. It never left.
    We’ve had restrictions … only to protect us from a deadly virus. We’re so close to the finish line … now this.
    I hope we can heal from this as a country … or will we be divided? Like the pandemic, this will take time. 🙁

    I rant with family … luckily we are all on the same page since the beginning of Covid.

  36. I so agree with you, Sue, and the few comments I read from people like us who do not argue with the ones who spout their constitutional “freedom” to not get the series of vaxes. At an outside summer party with a club we belong to, one woman at our table started in with how “people should NOT HAVE to get the vax to keep their jobs”. I just said, ” We are not going to agree or change each others’ minds so there
    is no point in discussing it”….and she shut up. I was so very proud of myself for handling it correctly. And I still choose to love my middle aged kids, even if I do not agree with their choices.

  37. I agree that what the truckers are doing is wrong. Blocking the border and local streets in your Capital is awful. I didn’t even think of all the fumes from the trucks running to keep the truckers warm. They’ve made their point & got their media coverage. They are going about it the wrong way!! Our world protests over everything these days! Until this trucker protest I didn’t know Canada had any vaccine mandates. It’s interesting how your government is handling the virus compared to the U.S. You are right, the vaccine mandate for anyone traveling in and out of Canada is required. I wish the U.S had that mandate!! It’s a crazy world we’re living in, and not for the better!

  38. Thank-you so much everyone for wading in on my rant. I don’t claim to be unbiased, but I do know that I have read a ton of stuff about this issue, both for and against the “protest.” And I also know that our government has not “confiscated” the funds raised to support this action, but merely stopped them from funding illegal activity. And that the Emergency Measures Act is not some new and nefarious plot by our PM to erode our freedoms and set up a dictatorship. That is laughable. The act was actually brought into law in 1988 under Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, giving the government powers to act in various emergencies, including “public order emergencies.” Of which this situation is one!
    Anyway. I didn’t intend to rant any more. And I won’t be able to answer all your comments individually. So I hope you accept my general thanks. I published this just as Hubby and I went out last night to a friend’s house for dinner. And when I awoke this morning I couldn’t believe all the comments and support. Felt as if I was getting a big virtual hug from on-line friends. I even teared up. xox

  39. No apologies necessary Sue. Having spent my high school years in Ottawa, it saddens me to see what the trucker ‘occupation’ has done to our beautiful Nations Capital. As Stompin’ Tom Connors sang “If you don’t believe your Country should come before yourself, you can better serve your Country by living somewhere else”.

  40. Brava Sue! I could not have said it better myself. I will just add that I’m truly thankful that we don’t have “open carry” laws in this country. Sending you hugs from Vancouver Island.❤️

  41. I admit, I’m a pretty independent thinker and look at most political happenings in a more “how fascinating” sort of way. I tend to not have an opinion either way and am more curious of the why portion of unrest. They had huge occupation situations in Portland, OR and Washington State in the US and the right side were outraged then the Washington D.C. fiasco and this situation and now the left are outraged. It’s fascinating how we are able to make ourselves for one or the other somehow. I do not mind these situations because the people believing in them wholeheartedly usually have good emotional reasons and I feel like it sometimes takes a big blowout to really get our attention. Of course, I live a very rural life. I pay my taxes. I get vaccinated if my doctor recommends it. Yada Yada. I guess my point in all this is that we must remind ourselves that no one ever has a perfect solution that will always benefit every single person and it takes quite a bit of friction for us humans to find our way. Sorry for your frustrations. I hope we can all keep our heads during such trying times and I hope we can remember that we can never truly understand someone else’s thinking unless we have walked a mile in their shoes. Hoping your city finds peace soon.

  42. I have had to live in the US during that dumbass’ presidency and all the lies he spews. It is so maddening and now this at the border is making my blood boil and with a temp of below zero today it takes a lot! If people are sick and/or die, that does not help the economy! As a woman who has to regularly follow laws and rules made by white men it so, so angers me they seem to be the majority bitching about basic healthcare rules to protect us all. Suck it up, wear a mask, get a vaccination and do something to help others instead of pitching a fit and impacting others trying to just get by and live during a pandemic.

  43. Oh Sue, I’m right there with you – disgusted and exhausted. Repulsed, actually. As if any of these freedom fighters have ever followed their wishes for liberation from our tyrannical yet democratically-elected government to their logical conclusion: Anarchy. An end to life as we know it. An open door to every nut-job wannabe dictator out there. So much for freedom.

  44. I am so with you. I lost it on one of my LIVES. I think someone complained so Instagram will not upload it. I’m vaccinated and boosted and thankful for it. I wear masks and I’m careful. Maybe we should buy some trucks.

  45. What I enjoy the most about my job (as a h.s. teacher) is that the skills you discussed, Sue – essentially, examining the elements of an argument, and critical thinking skills) – are what guide most of my workplace conversations with my colleagues. Many of us have spent a lot of time examining the ‘trucker protest’ issue: reading, watching, analyzing, and discussing it at lunch. We have good conversations about it, debating issues and sharing opinions. I’ve never had to deal with the nastiness that you and your readers have experienced with FB.

    Here’s what we’ve discussed: we are confused as to how law enforcement knew the protest was coming, yet did nothing to contain the truckers. We were not surprized that some people feel so frustrated by vaccine mandates that they have ‘nothing to lose’ and therefore can hang out in freezing downtown Ottawa for weeks (if you don’t have work to do, you have the time!). We aren’t surprized that there is, um, ‘support’ from other countries and various other groups have joined the protest. And we are all disgusted that this ‘protest’ has created more problems and more stress than Covid restrictions have caused in the first place for the people who live downtown.

    I can’t help but wonder if our Prime Minister had crafted his words a bit better when he finally addressed the protest, perhaps he could have calmed the protesters and worked on ending the occupation: this is the power of effective language. Instead of generalizing they they were all fringe groups, he could have shown a bit of empathy. I’m not suggesting he hand out coffee and donuts (locals will understand this reference!), but rather, he could have had a less insulting approach. Agree with them or not, the fact that so many people joined the initial protest, or cheered for them as they drove into the city, or still drive around the city with flags and messages on their vehicles, and so on, well, it means something. A tentative plan for a return to normal (a timeline, the conditions that need to be met, etc.) may have given some of these people hope, and reduced their anger and sent them home. I know I’d like to have some information about how hospitals will be improved for the future, and if boosters will be made available to vulnerable people, and how we can protect vulnerable people without closing down schools again, and so forth.

    As you can see, I am not ranting about this topic. I am too tired and weary to be angry about it. I’m reflective about it, I guess, because I don’t live downtown and it’s just something abstract – something in the news – and not something that affects me right now. What affects me are the devastating consequences to the educational system and the damage that’s been done to children for almost two years, so that’s where I put my anger and energy! I hope I don’t seem insensitive to the people living and working downtown, but we have to pick and choose our battles!

    On a final note – and I know this isn’t a popular opinion – I am not comfortable with vaccine mandates. At all. I wish people got vaccinated because it was the right choice to make to protect other people, not because they were basically left without a choice. Thus, I do actually understand the core issue with the protesters, who do not want to be forced to get vaccinated – they lost their jobs if they refused. Perhaps it’s because I relate to this issue: my husband and I would have lost our jobs if we weren’t fully vaccinated. The irony is that the kids we teach have not had to get vaccinated, so it’s a bit of a double-standard for me. (Disclaimer: everyone in my family and extended family across Canada is vaccinated!)

    Anyhow, fellow Canadians, hopefully the ‘protest’ will be over soon. The Canadian way is to sit around complaining about stuff but not doing much about it, so I hope we get back to that soon. Here’s to the future in which the too hot/too cold weather is our main concern!

  46. Hi Sue,
    I’m one of those folks from south of the border who often said I would move to Canada if things here got any worse. Friends often jokingly ask me if I’ve started packing yet. What’s happening in Ottawa is putting a spanner into my escape fantasies. It seems that the whole world has gone mad. The only thing that gives me hope is the recent news surrounding Trump and his legal and financial difficulties.
    But whatever happens, please feel free to rant. It’s your blog and I love it!!!

  47. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    So refreshing to hear my very thoughts from someone else!
    Please continue to share common sense….it keeps us sane!
    Faith Mattison

  48. Suzette Fernandez

    On behave of the people who have remained rational and science- based in the US, I apologize that United States Crazy had gone global! We had such high hopes for 2021. We had such high hopes for 2022. I don’t have much hope for common sense being common anytime soon. Hang in there, it looks like it will continue to be a bumpy ride. Again, apologies!

  49. Honestly, it’s been a long couple of years in terms of the mask/vaccine issue, even longer in terms of other issues. I made the mistake of expressing my opinion once on FB and realized that I should not go there again. I worry for our futures. Whatever happened to the idea of doing something for the greater good?
    I’m sorry that this is happening in your city. I hope that it is over soon.
    (I’m holding back here. I’m trying to stay calm as I respond.)
    Have a good rest of your week and a nice weekend.

  50. With you all the way, Sue. In a democratic society, we do not have the “freedom” to act, or refuse to act, in a way that puts the welfare, much less the lives, of others at risk. Period. We in Canada and the U.S. should all be grateful that there is a vaccine against COVID-19 and that it is available to us.
    Thank you so much for speaking up!

    1. My sentiments in a nutshell. In a health emergency like the pandemic, considerations of personal freedom and convenience must be temporarily overriden for the public good. Of course there are measures that could be handled better. When does any government of whatever persuasion do anything perfectly?
      However there is absolutely no excuse for the angry and disguntled to make other people lives a misery, to put other peoples lives and livelihoods at risk to make their disgruntlement known!

  51. From the beginning of this pandemic, our governor has toted the idea of freedom of choice. No mask mandates, no closures and when the vaccine became available, no urge to get vaccinated. She kept using the word freedom. What about responsibility? Our history tells of thousands of lives sacrificed for freedom. And now the word is threw around like a simple token of choice.
    The pandemic may eventually come under control but the huge division of opinions will not.

  52. I’m appalled that the authorities have been completely and utterly impotent while these anarchists pollute and destroy. Thank you for your affirmation. This is so un-Canadian.

  53. From my spot south of the line, through this entire mess these last two years (really since 2016) I’ve thought if I were younger I’d investigate the thought of moving to Canada. All along I’ve hoped your country’s rational thinking would spill south and we could all get back to “normal”. Alas, it seems to have spilled in the wrong direction and I hate it!
    I just told my husband there will never be a “back to normal” because I no longer trust society to have common decency. No one cares about anyone but themselves. Where is the compassion? I also wonder where common sense and critical thinking has gone. I have friends a relatives who are nurses who are now listening to their pastors for medical guidance rather than doctors and scientist! It’s frustrating and disheartening.
    I’m afraid of where we are heading.

  54. I am tired of all the nonsense that has emerged over the past 2 years. Rudeness and uncivil behavior has become more pervasive and occurs on a much too regular basis. I understand where your rant came from and there is no need to apologize. If we can’t vent, in an appropriate way, it is not good for us. I want to stand up to the nonsense and voice my opinions, in the hopes that someone on the opposite side might change but I am not ready to deal with the backlash that would result. I don’t believe there is much that will change their comments or behavior. I will never understand where they are coming from because they are starting from a place I have never been, and quite frankly where I don’t want to be! I believe the majority of people, in both of our countries, are far more reasonable and thoughtful than is obvious. I think it is important to remember that what is shown in the media or on social media is the worst of the worst. It is my hope that good will prevail.

  55. Honestly, I’ve been checking your blog over the recent week and was surprised there was no mention of the occupation, so thank you for opening up! My heart goes out to you and all reasonable Canadians during this debacle. To retain sanity during COVID, I avoid FaceBook. To witness so many people you think you know well spew so much vitriole and lies on that medium, is overwhelming. The perfect storm of Trump and COVID decimated civility and reason to the point I question normalcy will be restored in the US.

    I am vaccinated and wear an N95 mask every time I go out, which is very rarely as a 69 year old in a state with the highest COVID infection rate currently in the US. It has been 2 years since I dined out or invited/gone into anyone’s home due to their anti-vax status. Less than 40% of my city is vaccinated. Over 100 deaths here this week alone. As a life-long US citizen, I admit to researching moving to Canada, since 2020.

    Your style of venting is welcome, Sue! No need to apologize. Perfectly understandable…

  56. Totally agree with you Sue. Very well said.
    Our crazies here in NZ are camping out in the grounds of parliament protesting anything and everything they feel like. They are being aggressive towards members of the media, students on the way to and from school for wearing their legally mandated masks, locals who live there and anyone who disagrees with whatever they are espousing. They started protesting mask and vaccination mandates but now have flags claiming indigenous rights, foreshore and seabed rights, water care rights and even pro-Trump banners! Go figure!
    Our MPs won’t talk to them and our police are standing back from them. What a shambles.
    After months of lockdowns, not being able to see family this is just the dizzy limit for me.

  57. Oh Sue
    Another Sue who lives near Canberra where we too have had convoys of protesters camp out in our national capital.
    I was horrified to read about the blockade in Ottawa because like most people we admire Canada as a reasonable and fair minded country.
    I went to school at a time when some of my classmates were felled by polio so when the Salk vaccine became available we were all vaccinated and grateful to be protected against this dreadful disease.
    I am over trying to understand anti vaxxers and their selfish and vain take on “freedom ” and doing their “own research” for themselves. In fact they don’t … at all. The cause to them is so black and white that many disparate groups enjoy being under this broad umbrella – let’s not have a nuanced conversation, let’s just enjoy being angry, let’s vent our anger. Nobody likes wearing masks, but we do it for the common good and I don’t want to live in a society where that doesn’t count.
    Thank you Sue for your honest and compelling post.

  58. It’s appalling that this is happening in our country. That our flag has been co-opted by FreeDumb anarchists. That people are getting hurt, insulted and their lives disrupted. That you’re having to deal with this in person. People have the right to protest. They do not have the right to occupy our capital.

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