Truck drivers and other members of the so-called “Freedom Convoy” blocked traffic at border crossings in response to Canadian and U.S. laws requiring truckers to be fully vaccinated. Members of the Convoy appeared to conflate the vaccines with authoritarianism, a common belief among individuals opposed to vaccines and vaccine mandates.
The Convoy first blocked the Ambassador Bridge (between Detroit and Ontario), prompting concerns about how the event would affect the supply chain and stability of the country. In response, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used a law which gave the government “emergency powers to end blockades.” Since then, the local government in Ontario encouraged protestors to amicably disperse from their blockade. They will continue their protests at another designated area.
On the whole, this is a fairly dramatic response to… well, a fairly dramatic event. Canada, the U.S.’s second-largest trading partner, will now use the law to clear any other blockades and restore some sense of normalcy.
However, stateside supporters of the Convoy have taken note — some have sent financial support to the Canadian truckers using cryptocurrency and dollars. Once Trudeau issues his Emergency Act declaration though, those funds are at risk of being frozen or reported to financial regulators — namely on the basis of the country’s anti-money laundering laws.
The Convoy is important because it could encourage “copycat” events in the States. Ultimately, the takeaway is that people protesting were having a meaningful impact on the flow of free trade, prompting other truckers to find alternate routes, and causing delays to make a political point. We’ll be watching this development (and what stems from it) as it has ramifications for the economies of North America.