Covid 19 started towards the end of 2019 in China and quickly spread worldwide. This virus has caused huge losses to the world’s economy and human lives. The rapid development of this virus caused governments to take steps for the security and safety of the general public and their economy. Many countries imposed strong restrictions to ensure the safety of their citizens.
For two years Canada has required citizens to wear masks and adhere to social distancing. Every year the rules are adapted and changed, causing stress and uncertainty. The number of people allowed at gatherings is constantly changed or reduced causing confusion. Many sports clubs, small businesses and entertainment venues have closed due to reduced numbers and additional covid cleaning costs. Despite these losses and concerns these laws were accepted and followed by the majority of the population.
The government secured vaccines and required proof of vaccination to be shown for entry into restaurants and other places. In Canada, the majority of people became vaccinated due to a fear of the effects of the disease. There have been growing numbers that are concerned about the effectiveness of these vaccines as well as their right to choose. These people have completely refused to receive any doses. This conflict for the “freedom” to choose came to a head when the Canadian government required truck drivers to be fully vaccinated in order to cross into the USA. A great wave of anger led to protests. On January 29th, 2022, thousands of truck drivers and protesters rallied in Ottawa in front of Parliament to protest the government’s imposition of the vaccine. The Ontario police are investigating illegal and harmful acts caused by some protesters. The Prime Minister described these acts as a kind of sabotage, fanaticism and encouragement of hatred. The effects of the protest have affected USA, Canada relations as well. Even with so many concerns, the demonstrations are still continuing. Prince George has seen demonstrations with trucks driving city roads as well as a group gathering at the CN Center to express their anger about the vaccination procedures and wearing masks imposed by the government. One person stated “I cannot take the vaccine without health evidence that makes me feel safe. Wearing a mask has become a major inconvenience.” Some vaccinated people were frustrated to have to wear masks even though they were completely vaccinated. It’s frustrating for everyone.
This is the first time in many years that a protest of this magnitude came with an accompanying wave of anger against government actions in Canada. Solutions must be found to avoid further division in our country between average citizens and a further decline in our economy across Canada as well as our international relations. Vaccinations, masks and social distancing help many people feel safe and secure while allowing the economy to recover while others believe their rights and freedoms are being threatened. A compromise needs to be found before more damage is done.