Is There a Legal Limit to the Disruption of Protests?


The 2019/2020 blockades of the Canadian railway lines by certain indigenous occupiers set the precedent for the 2022 truckers’ blockades of Ottawa, the Windsor-Detroit Ambassador Bridge and other trade-sensitive locations in Canada.  With the railway blockades, rather than using whatever police action was necessary to remove them our sympathetic federal government rewarded the indigenous occupiers with secret meetings and a signed secret memorandum of agreement. The hereditary chiefs got what they wanted while the elected chiefs and the band members who elected them, who wanted the pipeline built, were shut out. The message sent by this government response was that if you move some heavy objects like trucks into a critical logistics spot and then claim a noble cause our government becomes paralyzed, and will at least leave you alone if not buy you off.

Obviously, if such illegal conduct is tolerated or rewarded rather than penalized it creates the incentive for more of it. After the current vaccination mandate blockades are eventually removed we can look forward to the next illegal blockades for some other virtuous cause, and the ones after that, unless some lessons are learned by all levels of government from their mistakes.

Who Caused The Current Problem?

The federal government provoked this event with its effective ban on the 10% of Canadian truckers who remain unvaccinated, by imposing a requirement that unvaccinated cross-border truckers quarantine themselves for 14 days after returning from the US (rather than undergoing 15 minutes of testing).  This would limit such truckers to approximately two trips a month, which would be insufficient for most of them to earn a living.  Yet these truckers essentially live in isolation in their trucks on most of their trips. There does not appear to be a lot of evidence, if any, supporting the necessity for this quarantine mandate at this late stage, and no such justification has been given.  And the Prime Minister threw gasoline on the flames he had ignited by smearing all these drivers as racists. 

Unfortunately, now, it will be harder for the federal government, without losing face, to back down and quickly lift its trucker vaccine rule (and any other now unnecessary rules).  

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