So I did something on Saturday. Something I have never done before or felt the need to do. I went and participated in a protest. One of the largest in Canadian history. It was something I will never forget.
For those who know me personally, know I do have opinions and will, if I feel is needed express them. I am very much a non-confontational person and will walk away first most times but when pushed I will stand fast and true. I will ask the hard questions that everybody is thinking and have been known to say exactly what I feel. But at no time have I belittled or beaten the other person for their opinion. If I have the right to mine and they have the right to theirs. That’s the way it works. To each his own.
I have always been and proud to be a Canadian. The peacekeepers, the kind, caring and fun loving people that are known around the world for these same reasons. We are a passive, passionate nation that usually says let’s go for a beer and talk about it. But we are also what I like to call a slow burn. A nation that will give the benefit of doubt until that doubt is ill proven. Then it is time to stand and say enough is enough.
In the last 2 years I really was not sure where I was living. Where freedoms as simple as hugging your loved one’s was taken away. A place that if you had your own opinion you were threatened into compliance and did not have the right to have a different opinion to the narrative. A world where the news, to which I once trusted is not a trust worthy source of the facts.
I do not really talk about politics much. It’s a wishy washy world where opinions are changed by the moment and by the dollar. Not that I do not know about it or how it works. In my lifetime I have ran for public office as well as sat on committees and participated in campaigns at every level. I worked for a Crown Corporation for 20 years and understand the varying levels and how they work to get things done. My Dad always said never talk about politics or religion it will bring you trouble. Lol. He was right.
From the beginning of all of this I have had my suspicions that things were not quite as they seemed. Things just did not make sense in my mind. The lockdowns, the extreme push on vaccinations that do not stop the spread, the separation of our people by politicians and media, the truths and the untruths. I think what did it for me most was the inequality of it all. While we were being told to stay home and not have contact with family, the elite were flying wherever they wanted and off on vacations to exotic islands. The same people that told us to stay home are not. The fact we could get into a plane with 400 people and fly across the border but you could not drive across the border alone in your vehicle. The complete shutdowns of small business but you could have 500 people at Costco. Just last week they had a soccer game in Hamilton with spectators that numbered over 6000 people but none could go out for dinner because restaurants were closed to indoor dining. Huh??? Why? They invited 30,000 people to a grey cup game then shut us down again right after saying we could not have more than 5 family members for Christmas dinner. All the time remembering children cannot play sports. The constant barrage of fear coming from mainstream media and reports that were turning out to be not even true. A Prime Minister that makes a hate speech to his own people. The anger you could feel from what once was a loving caring country. Where was I living???
Quietly, well sometimes not to quietly I would say this is not right. There were people with me in what I believed but a lot of times it felt very lonely and defeating. Just driving my RV around would get me called names and screamed at to go home even when I was in the city that my address on my driver’s licence has. When was this all going to end? When would I get my country back? When could I be able to walk into a store and see a smiling face back at me? A pleasant conversation standing in line? The laughter of children playing or a resounding hello and a big hug from my friends? With wave after wave it did not look to ending anytime soon.
Then a movement started. A slow mumble that became a large rumble. Canada is a big country and we are kind of spread out but you could feel a unity coming together that I have not felt in over 2 years. It’s started with the truckers and brought Canadians from all walks of life together to celebrate and rejoice in the beautiful people we are and the strength of a nation when enough is enough.
As I said I have never been to a protest before and because I have to do things the hard way I was going to pick Ottawa in January. Lol! It was darn cold and the van was a little pissy about driving in those temperatures. But both of us warmed up with the overwhelming warmth we felt that day.
With my friends Tom and Dan we headed north. Our friend Jano offering a warm meal and a place to sleep half way and picking him up on the way. We are on our way to making our feelings known. On down the highway we went and reveling at the fact that we were going to lend our voice to freedom. As we drove down the highway the pride and the strength of the people showed. Bridge after Bridge of people showing their support for the cause of freedom. It was an incredible sight and so very humbling! I was not alone!
Just before Hwy 416 to turn towards Ottawa we stopped at an Onroute for coffee. There was many who were on the way to lend there voice as well. As I waited for my coffee and sandwich I chatted with a little old lady. I believe her name was Clara. She had to be in her late 70’s and so excited to go to Ottawa and “let Justin know he is fired”. As we chatted she said she had seen a lot of things in her time. She spoke of her sadness in what he was doing to this great country. She spoke of separation he was creating and the moments that were being lost with loved ones. She missed her Thursday night euchuer games as at her age how many does she have left? She was angry and hoped she could get really close and shake her fist. I put my hand on her shoulder and said we are only given moments and we cannot get back those we have lost so let’s go make sure we do not lose anymore. I so hope I am that fiesty at her age and she made it to parliment to shake her fist. She was adorable.
We met our friends at a Walmart close to downtown and got on a bus that they had rented and headed downtown. I do confess I was a little nervous. I really do not like large crowds and I knew it was going to be packed with people. There were also the horror stories of a protest and I was ready to help make sure this was not one. There were rumors that there would be people there that were just there to make trouble and put a bad light on the cause. Taking away from the message I and millions of Canadians wanted to send. We want our country back! Somehow I knew everything would be ok and I was with my friends. Let’s do this!
We parked and got out of the bus. I was amazed at the people and the trucks. What I noticed first was the smiles. Everyone was smiling. A feeling of hope rippling through the crowd. The sound of the horns and shouts of freedom. It filled my heart with Canadian pride. As I walked through the crowd, it was not push and shove, it was excuse me, sorry, oh I am trying to go that way or just looking at each other and laughing. One woman who I was stopped in the crowd with looked at me with tears in her eyes and said “isn’t this wonderful” with a yes it is we hugged and then went our separate ways. A sea of Canadian flags my heart could not help but swell with pride.
It was not only transport trucks that were parked on the street. It was cars, vans, motor homes, even farm equipment. Thousands of vehicles driving by on the streets that were not barricaded off. Everyone blowing horns, singing songs, waving flags and yelling for the freedom we enjoyed before he came to power. People of all walks of life, of all nationalities, of all religions coming together, to celebrate and fight for our right to be free.
As I walked around Ottawa, well waddled really because I had so many clothes on, we crossed the Portage Bridge. Gatineau is just on the other side. There was a electronic sign with numbers and lights on it. I asked a gentleman what it was. I was told it is a counter and shows how many people walked across the bridge. The number was just shy of 225,000. That is incredible.
I am so proud of my fellow Canadians. There were no riots, no violence, just peace and hope and love. Starting a revolution that is rippling throughout the world. Was there a few issues. Of course there were. But if they were even with us and not one of those sent to cause dissent I hope the reaction from the other protesters in cleaning and repaying can be taken as a sign of recognition and our own condemnation.
What is disheartening is that our Prime Minister instead of standing and addressing the concerns of his citizens chose to call us racist, which frankly has me confused, facists as well as a small fringe minority that frankly was “non-essential”. He chose to use the virus to hide and dismiss our concerns as minimal and not important. Watching the mainstream media turn their television cameras away from the crowd and downplay how many people were there and never giving the facts of the movement. Focusing on the negative and telling none of the positive.
What will never leave me is that good old Canadian feeling I felt that day. The warmth of the soul of Canada. The people handing out food with their hugs and warmth with their coffee. The feeling of being united in a beautiful love for our country and for one another.
Thank you to the brave souls that started this movement and to the strong souls that continue the fight!
Thanks for coming along on my Chipmunk Adventure.
See you next week.