As one of Canada’s largest unions, PSAC respects everyone’s right to peacefully protest, but as the truck convoy protests take the nation’s capital hostage for a second week, it’s clearly time for the federal, provincial and city governments to step in and protect the public’s safety.
PSAC does not condone demonstrations that harbor racists brandishing confederate flags, swastikas, and other antisemitic, Islamophobic and neo-nazi symbols. They have swamped local businesses while violating public health guidelines, forcing businesses to shut down – all while harassing workers and threatening our community – especially Black, Indigenous, and racialized persons, members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community, women and persons with disabilities.
These protestors do not represent the majority of truck drivers and do not have the right to bully, intimidate and physically harass residents, openly promote hate speech and racism or desecrate and vandalize Canada’s memorials.
In the past, when protesters from racialized and other marginalized groups have engaged in legitimate and peaceful protest, they have been greeted with pepper spray and arrests. Yet when a group openly fosters hate, disrupts our communities and no longer engages in legitimate protest, Ottawa police refuse to act to protect residents and enforce city bylaws. It is a racist double standard.
When this kind of hate-fueled disruption of communities is allowed to happen, it will continue to spread elsewhere.
We can have strong public protest without removing the right for people to live in safety and dignity in their own community. It’s time for the mob to go home.