One of the top 5 events of my life was being in Ottawa from January 28th to Feb 3rd. My opinions, hopefully, on the Freedom Convoy 2022, are not political but observational.
Though my wife and I used to drive truck for many years, I’m not a huge fan of traveling. I’m a home body. Additionally, I am not a fan of large crowds. In fact, I get rather claustrophobic rubbing shoulder to shoulder with too many people. I could probably get over this but I’m too cheap to pay for therapy. I also tend to be a general cynic about everyone, thinking people always have an ulterior motive. I’m also a slow decision maker and I try to have my ducks in a row before I do any quacking. I’m also a busy guy and I didn’t want to open a new can of worms… I have several cans of worms still unorganized on my desk. It’s hard to tell sometimes which worm came from which can (have I used enough analogies?). That said, I believe that being a cynic is generally a good muscle to exercise.
Simply put, when I heard about the Freedom Convoy, I did not want to go to Ottawa – I wanted to stay at home. I had too many things unfinished and too little time to be ‘curious’ about what might happen politically. On Tuesday, January 25th I gathered a team around me for an emergency meeting. After stating that I didn’t want to go to Ottawa, I made the error of asking the team (by a show of hands) who thought that I should attend. Seven out of seven said I should go. Even though I’m the President, I didn’t feel comfortable saying “it’s my way or the highway” … I’m not a Prime Minister; I’m only an owner and President. So, my close friend and I left for Ottawa early Thursday morning (January 27th).
By the time the convoy passed Winnipeg (January 26th), it had gathered considerable momentum. A shirtless guy stood out of the top of his moving SUV, holding a freedom sign (his girlfriend driving). Now at 30 below zero, that’s PASSION. The enthusiasm had only begun. Sault Ste. Marie was lined with thousands of supporters at 10 pm, blasting horns and sirens and then again at 6 am the next morning with the temperature at 32 degrees below zero. This passion continued all the way to Ottawa; people showing up at (all the) small towns and at hundreds of roads/streets along HWY 17. The flags, signs and honking never stopped.
To best describe in a few short words the Freedom Convoy and what was happening in Ottawa, there is a stark difference between what the media portrayed the event as… and what it really was/is. I have never seen or been in, such a diverse and crowded place and yet felt so accepted and safe (and I was at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary with Eddie the Eagle and the Jamaican bobsled team). I have never mistrusted the traditional media as much as I do now. If a newspaper now says the sky is blue and the grass is green, and I need to know what color they are, I will take a pad of paper with a pencil, go outside, look up (at a blue sky), then look down at my feet (green grass) and write it down. Their opinion now means nothing to me. To depict the convoy as violent, racist, or even irritated is delusional or more probable, flat-out fraud. I have never seen so many smiling faces and helping hands as I did at the Freedom Convoy. I felt more pride for our country than at any other time in my life. Pride in my fellow citizen; shame in our leadership. The longer it goes, the more convinced I am that it is unstoppable. The hope has now spread beyond our country’s borders. My wife has relatives in Australia, and we saw/heard of 100’s of thousands of hopeful united Australians. This is just one country of dozens who have been inspired by the truckers in our industry. A very peaceful flame of hope for a world struggling against all forms of fear.
I suggest two things: go and see for yourself the atmosphere of those on the street (don’t believe the media), and don’t think/assume the protest is only truckers (I met more non-truckers than truckers). A small group of truckers may have started it; may have secured it to a non-violent foundation but the protest is about personal freedom and Liberté. It’s about a restoration of our Canadian heritage of goodwill, national trust of our neighbor and restricting the restrictors. It’s an event equal to the felling of the Berlin wall and Gandhi’s Salt March or Salt Satyagraha (March/April 1930). Make no mistake; people will be telling their children and grandchildren they were a part of this event.
Testing the temperature of the locals in my area (and others), the enthusiasm is not dying; it is growing organically. It is financed by hundreds of individuals independently and not just a central fund. It has 22 months of fear and frustration fueling anti-authoritarianism. It is a highly disciplined movement that has no overt leader other than the united opposition to all restrictions. I would say it’s nearly impossible to ‘control’ independent people except through noble values such as honesty, compassion, inclusion, and reason. A deep sense of honor and nobility is guiding them all.
I have said this a hundred times to my friends and family. We are in historic times. History books will write about us and where we stood. Now is the time to protect our good name and reputation. Will we do our part to tear down a brick wall? Will we stand up to oppression? Who do we want to be known as: a British soldier stopping the ‘illegal’ salt makers or a salt maker ‘defying’ an unjust law?
About the Author:
Robert D. Scheper is a leading Accountant and Consultant to the Lease/Owner operator industry in Canada. His first book in the Making Your Miles Count series “taxes, taxes, taxes” was released in 2007. His firm exclusively serves Lease/Owner Operators across Canada. His second book “Choosing a Trucking company” is the most in-depth analysis of the operator industry available today. He has a Master’s degree (MBA) in financial management and has been serving the industry since he and his wife came off the road in 1993. His dedication, commitment and strong opinions can be read and heard in many articles and seminars.
You can find him and his books at www.makingyourmilescount.com or 1-877-987-9787. You can also e-mail him at email@example.com.
Robert D Scheper operates an accounting and consulting firm in Steinbach, Manitoba. He has a Masters Degree in Business Administration and is the author of the Book “Making Your Miles Count: taxes, taxes, taxes” (now available on CD). You can find him at www.thrconsulting.ca and thrconsulting.blogspot.com or at 1-877-987-9787. You can e-mail him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.