By Ryan King
Community News Reporter
PORT AUX BASQUES – Truckers have formed convoys across the country, using it as a way to raise awareness about issues within the trucking industry, like job security, as well as their opposition to COVID-19 vaccine mandates. The convoy members see it as a violation of their individual freedom. The convoys are also declaring support for all Canadians who have been impacted by vaccine mandates.
The convoys come on the heels of a mandate set down by the Federal government that truckers must be fully vaccinated when entering from the United States in order to avoid a 14-day quarantine. Convoys have since reached Ottawa.
Closer to home, a convoy drove through Port aux Basques last Tuesday, Jan. 25. They were met by supporters who parked adjacent to the highway at the Tourism Chalet.
Ryan Moss is a commercial trucker who was involved with the convoy in Newfoundland and Labrador and also with the Facebook page that helped organize public support. He has just recently moved back to the island from northern Ontario.
“I was mostly involved here on the island. Unfortunately I could not make the trip to Ottawa. Myself and Alanna Nicole have been administrating a Newfoundland support page out of Corner Brook.”
Moss explained that the convoy is not just about truckers getting the vaccine.
“Many people seem to think this convoy is just about vaccinations and truckers. That couldn’t be further from the truth. This movement is about the rights and freedoms of Canadians being taken away. It’s about regaining our freedom of choice and our rights to things such as employment, which has been stripped from many Canadians during this time.”
He said that the convoy hopes to enact change from the Federal government.
“We are standing together as a country to tell the powers that be enough is enough! This is for each and every Canadian who has been affected by these mandates.”
While Ross did not personally drive to Port aux Basques, he travelled in his personal vehicle and left the convoy in Corner Brook.
“At that point I believe there was a couple trucks and a few personal vehicles, probably about 10 total I believe. The convoy wasn’t really large crossing the island. People joined in areas and then departed the pack. We also had some trucks on the mainland side waiting to join as well, from what I am told.”
Ross said that the support for the convoy has been impressive.
“The response from the public across the island was amazing and very humbling. It is a great feeling when so many people come together to support a cause of this magnitude. Made me very proud as both a Canadian and Newfoundlander.”
Jess Ashford took video of the convoy passing through Port aux Basques.
“It hits home big time,” said Ashford. “I feel the convoy is a huge deal. It makes me happy and proud to be a Canadian because I feel everyone deserves to have a voice and to be heard. Nobody should be forced to do anything they don’t wanna do. Shout out to all these truckers.”
Kelly Jo Pickett is originally from Dover and now lives in Carleton Place, Ontario. She watched the trucks as they boarded the Marine Atlantic ferry.
“I had chills watching them load on the ferry last night. It was incredible.”
While not a part of the convoy, Pickett is following the developments as the convoys travel the country.
“I am just trying to follow along with everything they are doing from the East coast to the West coast. I live near Ottawa and plan to attend the meet up on Friday (Jan. 28) in Arnprior to show my support for the cause.”
Kailyn-ann Kish has family involved in the trucking industry.
“My dad is a trucker. He works very long hours. My papa had his own trucking company before he passed. Express courier. Very long days. Not much time to spend with family, but supplying for others.”
Kish was impressed with the support the convoy received.
“The amount of support we got here in Newfoundland was outstanding. I hope that people start to take this serious and make a change because the truckers are our main supply here and we would have nothing without them. This is about freedom, not a vaccine.”
She says the convoy supports human rights.
“It is about freedom – choice of displaying your vaccinations. It was supposed to be a choice not mandatory. Everyone should have a choice. Especially those who take time out of their day, and time away from their families to supply other families with their needs. It’s human rights. It never should have become mandatory.”