Convoy rolls into Regina in support of vaccine mandate protest in Ottawa

South Regina was brought close to a standstill Saturday as a convoy of truckers and supporters moved through the city in solidarity with the protest in Ottawa.

Earlier this week, a convoy of truckers moved through the province on its way to Parliament Hill to protest ongoing COVID vaccine mandates.

Rallies were held in cities across Canada in support Saturday, with a convoy of trucks numbering in the dozens travelling from various places in Saskatchewan to end up at the Legislative Building in Regina. When the rally started, roughly 1,000 people were in attendance.

A group of people parked near a business just south of Ring Road to wave at and cheer for the oncoming convoy as it entered the city.

Les Watch was one of them, and he was left emotional by the sight in front of his eyes.

“At the start of it, when I first started watching it going on in B.C. and all of that … I’m a big guy, right? I cried,” he said.

He thinks COVID and the restrictions have torn people apart, and he sees these protests as a positive step.

“For me, it’s more about Canadians together. The divisiveness, and the separation of people and the warfare between factions, it doesn’t work for me. I’d rather see everybody together,” he said.

He thinks the large numbers of protesters prove that wanting to lift COVID rules isn’t something niche or fringe.

“We need to sit down and talk. We’re not a fringe (minority) … We’re not a group that we’re going to put against each other. Let’s just sit down and talk as Canadians. We’re nice people. We’re not rude, we’re not mean (or) we’re not vindictive,” he continued.

At one point of the convoy, the line of trucks snaked its way along south Albert Street, with numerous people pulling over to honk and wave flags.

Trent Hoover came from Swift Current. He was also floored by the gathering.

“It’s unreal. It makes (me) proud. Going down the highway, seeing everybody waving and honking … everybody’s united,” he said.

So after almost two years of COVID restrictions, why now?

Matthew Binnie joined the rally at the Legislative Building, and he believes many people are just fed up.

“I think they felt it (in their hearts). Freedom is like love. It feels like love. People were tearing up, and that’s what they needed. As soon as the truckers started (their convoy) … people resonated with that,” he said.

Premier Scott Moe tweeted out his support for the truckers on Saturday, saying in a statement that while he supports vaccination against COVID, the federal government’s cross-border vaccine mandate “makes no sense.”

Moe also reiterated comments he made exclusively on Gormley earlier this week about ending some public health measures. In the statement he issued Saturday, he said the proof of vaccination/proof of a negative test system currently in place in Saskatchewan will be removed in the “not-too-distant future.”

Parliament Hill protest

The thousands of truckers and their supporters who gathered on Parliament Hill on Saturday were largely peaceful but certainly not quiet.

“There is a lot of noise happening, the horns are very loud and they are pretty much non-stop,” Global News reporter Rachel Gilmore told the Roy Green Show.

“But it’s also for now fairly peaceful. People have big smiles on (and there are) lots of signs slamming (Prime Minister Justin) Trudeau. I don’t think a lot of these folks are fans of Trudeau and there are a lot of signs opposing vaccines as well. There are families here, though, and it is calm.”

Gilmore described police officers patrolling around along with parliamentary protection officers. Paramedics were present in a large group to keep tabs on things.

She said the message from the majority of protesters was one opposing vaccine mandates and supporting freedom, but when they were asked what freedom refers to, that was where the message got confusing.

“Some folks say they are completely anti-vaccine (and) some insist they are pro-vaccine but they are anti-mandate and don’t want to see anyone forced to be vaccinated in their place of work,” Gilmore explained.

Tim Coderre is one of the truckers who helped to organize the portion of the convoy from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

“We ask Canadians to support the truckers,” he told Green. “Trudeau may think that they’re fringe, but everything that he has done or has in his house came to him by a trucker.

“We want peace, we want sensibility, we want to be able to keep our jobs and have things the way they used to be. We want to retain that sensibility here as Canadians but we have been put honestly in a position where we don’t have a lot of choice.”

The protest on Parliament Hill was expected to grow in number as the day went on.

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