Rigs from five Kingsville, Leamington-area trucking firms take part in Ottawa blockade

At least five Kingsville-Leamington area trucking companies have vehicles participating in the Parliament Hill blockade, according to an Ottawa website set up to identify firms taking part in the protest.

“Our mission is to document and shame every business that is identified as being involved in the 2022 Truckers Convoy occupation of Ottawa,” the website convoytraitors.ca said. “By naming and tagging we hope to ensure that any future internet searches reveal the true nature of these businesses.”

One of the companies named by the website is Golden Bridge Express in Kingsville.

The Kingsville Observer contacted the company and the person who answered the phone identified himself as the owner but didn’t give his name.

“Absolutely,” he said when asked if he supports the demonstration in Ottawa.

The unidentified owner said he was reluctant to speak with a news site he didn’t know; he said he preferred to talk with the reporter in person.

“There are big demonstrations here in Ottawa, there’s one in Windsor, there’s one at the Coutts border (in Alberta), there are people everywhere, so come out to one of those and talk to the people in person.”

The interview ended when the owner was asked if he was in Ottawa.

A dispatcher at Mannley Transport Inc., also from Kingsville, said three of the company’s trucks where taking part in the demonstration.

The Observer was not able to speak with the owner, Abram Boldt, to confirm that figure.

The three other companies mentioned by the Ottawa website — ADT Transportation of Leamington, Fulger Transport of Essex and Produce Xpress of Ruthven — did not respond to messages.

As of Feb. 10, convoytraitors.ca had published photos of trucks from more than than 180 companies identified involved in the protest. Police estimated earlier this week that about 400 trucks and other vehicles are clogging downtown Ottawa streets.

CBC has reported some trucks had been driven to the nation’s capital without authorization from their companies.

The demonstration, now into its second week, began as a protest against a federal mandate requiring trans-border truckers to be fully vaccinated. It then morphed into a multi-issue protests about lockdowns, social distancing, masks, government overreach and the Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

In late January, Trudeau labelled the protestors as a “small fringe minority of people’” who do not represent the views of the majority of Canadians who have been vaccinated.

Speaking at an emergency session of Parliament Tuesday, the prime minister accused the demonstrators of trying to upend Canadian democracy.

According to a recent Leger survey of 1,546 people, 62 per cent strongly or somewhat oppose the Freedom Convoy protest. One-third (32 per cent) of Canadians support the protest, while seven per cent are undecided.

The survey also found that 44 per cent of those who are fully vaccinated said they could sympathize with “the concerns and frustrations being voiced by people involved in the trucker protest in Ottawa.”

The trucker protests have become a major Canadian export, spreading to Australia, New Zealand, France and Belgium. Protest convoys are also planned for the United States.

“I think the narrative is, well, if those peaceful, peace-loving, placid Canadians are going to (protest) in the streets why are we putting up with this,” said University of Windsor political scientist Lydia Miljan.

Trudeau told the Commons the federal government will “be there” with “whatever the resources the province and the city (of Ottawa) need in this situation.”

Miljan said Trudeau is trying to download responsibility. She said the blockade around Parliament Hill and the border crossing at Windsor are federal responsibilities.

Miljan said governments tend to have a hands-off approach to civil disobedience and pointed to past rail blockades by First Nations and protests by the Occupy movement.

“They have to be consistent with how they resolve these protests. You can’t just cherry pick,” she said. “Usually a government steps in when things get out of hand, when there is violence, vandalism and property damage. So far, it’s been noise. It’s been inconvenience (and) very small instances of criminality.”

Miljan said protests tend to have a short shelf life. She said the trucker protests should begin to wane once governments start easing vaccine mandates and rules governing masks.

“I just think in the course of time, pubic health is going to improve and mandates relaxed. They’re not going to have anything to fight about.”

Alberta, Saskatchewan, Quebec and Prince Edward Island have all announced plans to relax public health regulations.

The Observer attempted to contacted Essex MP Chris Lewis by email and phone messages Wednesday but he was not available for comment because of parliamentary commitments.

“He’s in committee right now on International trade,” said Marnie Pouget, Lewis’s chief of staff.

As of Friday Lewis had not contacted the Observer, but in a tweet made before the blockade at the Windsor-Detroit border crossing, Lewis said: “Justin Trudeau has created a very divisive country. I have always & will continue to stand for the rights & freedoms of all Canadians. I am proud to be in Ottawa this weekend supporting this peaceful and important protest on Parliament Hill.”