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A Trucker Convoy Has Reached Quebec City: Here's What We Know

Here's what organizers are saying and how officials have responded.

Contributing Writer
A Trucker Convoy Has Reached Quebec City: Here's What We Know

Riding on the momentum of the ongoing Ottawa protest, members of the trucking and construction industries in Quebec plan to converge on the parliament building in Quebec City this weekend. This demonstration, which will seemingly consist mainly of truckers and construction workers, aims to support the ongoing demonstrations in Ottawa while protesting provincial health measures and vaccine mandates.

The mayor of Quebec City, Bruno Marchand, has stated that he will support the group's right to demonstrate, so long as they don't take the parliament building or the city itself "hostage."

What is the Quebec City trucker convoy protesting?

Quebec construction workers working near hospitals have been required to be doubly vaccinated since October 15. Truck drivers crossing the border are also required to be vaccinated. Unvaccinated Canadian truckers otherwise have to follow quarantine rules when they enter Canada and will be denied entry into the U.S.

This has led some anti-vax construction workers and truckers to take a stand against what one protest organizer, Kevin "Big" Grenier, has called "vaccine racism."

While some convoy organizers have made clear their disdain for the press, they have been extremely vocal on social media. In a livestream on February 1, Grenier outlined the group's plans.

"We're here for the future of our children, to abolish the QR codes, to abolish the obligation to get vaccinated [...] We are for free choice," he said in the video.

What's their goal?

One convoy started in the Côte-Nord region and headed south to Quebec City on February 3. A second eastern convoy, starting in Gaspésie, joined the group in the capital on February 3, and a third from Beauce leaves on February 5.

Grenier is organizing the Côte-Nord convoy alongside Bernard "Rambo" Gauthier, a trade unionist with FTQ-Construction. His politically-charged Facebook messages have received so much attention that Premier Legault had to dispel suggestions that Gauthier's videos had affected his decision to scrap the unvaxxed tax.

The motivations of the protesters seem to vary. While the official Facebook group for the convoy promises it will be a demonstration of "peace, joy, love and ESPECIALLY RESPECT," Grenier in his February 1 livestream said the group intends to "bring down" the government. Keven Bilodeau, the organizer of a convoy from Beauce, consistently flips off Legault and Trudeau at the end of his videos, while asserting that the protests will be family-friendly and convivial.

The Ottawa protest, which the Quebec protesters are trying to amplify, has now infamously led to disorderly conduct, including the defacement of the Terry Fox statue and alleged desecration of The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Officials respond

In a press conference on February 4, Legault said that the Quebec convoy is "nothing comparable at all" to the Ottawa protests, and that he plans on dealing with illegally-placed trucks with "a lot of tow trucks."

"We made sure with Mayor Bruno Marchand and the police [that] we have a lot of tow trucks ready if necessary to eventually remove trucks. We will not tolerate trucks preventing citizens from circulating at all," Legault said.

On 98.5 FM on Wednesday morning, Mayor Marchand said that the convoy may have trouble reaching Parliament Hill. Though it is possible for trucks to legally travel through Quebec City to parliament, the building will be flanked on the east, west and south by Carnaval festivities.

How the convoy will affect Quebec Carnaval this weekend remains to be seen. According to Grenier in the livestream, demonstrators will protest the wearing of masks; earlier in the day on February 1, he said the protest doesn't aim to disrupt Carnaval.

When asked on 98.5 FM about the possibility of a blockade of Parliament Hill, Mayor Marchand said, "I don't think democracy can allow for a siege. I think people can decide to hold a building, a city, hostage. That's unacceptable. The police will respond."

The Sûreté du Québec said officers will be present to protect the parliament building and ensure a peaceful protest.

The convoy Facebook group currently has 13,542 members. According to Grenier, the convoy has raised $26 911,33 in small donations towards gas and food.

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