Anti-vaccine mandate truck convoy rolls through Saskatoon
A semi convoy protesting new federal COVID-19 rules for the trucking industry rolled through Saskatoon on Monday.
Earlier in the day, Saskatoon police advised of potential traffic headaches due to the convoy's planned trip through the city.
"Police are aware of a trucking convoy travelling towards Saskatoon in protest of pandemic-related restrictions," Saskatoon Police Service (SPS) said in a social media post.
As of 2 p.m. Monday, CTV News observed around 500 people gathering at the Flying J Travel center on the north edge of the city. About 30 semis could be seen, although it was not clear if all of the vehicles were part of the event.
Some of the protestors held signs with messages such as "I stand with truckers for our freedom!" and "end vax mandate."
"Most of our institutions are all corrupt and are all saying the same thing. Not a single person will stand up and the ones who do get cancelled or they lose their job," Melanie Beaudoin, who was on her hand to show her support, told CTV News.
"At this point, anybody who's willing to stand up, they're risking everything. So we all have to stand together," Beaudoin said.
Close to 500 protestors showed support for truck convoy travelling through Saskatoon. (Tyler Barrow/CTV News)
While in its social media post earlier in the day SPS said the group was expected to head south on Idylwyld, the convoy only briefly travelled down the busy thoroughfare before it turned on Circle Drive, eventually heading out of the city.
Many of the vehicles were expected to head to Regina with another fleet of trucks reportedly heading towards Saskatchewan's capital from Medicine Hat.
The Canadian Trucking Alliance has come out against the protest convoy, in a statement saying "the vast majority of the Canadian trucking industry is vaccinated" with the industry's vaccination rate mirroring the general public's.
"The (CTA) does not support and strongly disapproves of any protests on public roadways, highways, and bridges."
In addition to Ottawa's vaccine mandate for drivers, the U.S. is now requiring full COVID-19 vaccination for any non-citizen entering the country — even for essential travel.
CTA president Stephen Laskowski is instead encouraging unvaccinated drivers to "adapt."
“The Government of Canada and the United States have now made being vaccinated a requirement to cross the border. This regulation is not changing," Laskowski said.
“The only way to cross the border, in a commercial truck or any other vehicle, is to get vaccinated.”
During a COVID-19 news conference in held in Regina Monday morning, when asked about the convoy, Saskatchewan premier Scott Moe called the new federal vaccine policy for truckers "unnecessary."
"Our truckers were going back and forth throughout this pandemic. They've done so, I think, largely in a very safe manner and they are an essential service," Moe said.
Earlier in the day, around 40 vehicles, including two semis, were seen at a Co-op Cardlock gas station in Prince Albert.
Rick Sproull, a recently retired truck driver, said he wants to see an end to vacciantion manadates across the country.
"There’s been way too many people, way too many businesses destroyed over this," Sproull said.
"Stopping the segregation that’s happening amongst people," he said.
A truck with protest messages written parked in Prince Albert, Sask. on Jan. 24, 2022. (Lisa Risom/CTV News)
Roughly half the participating vehicles were later seen departing towards Saskatoon to join the protest convoy.
With files from Lisa Risom and Tyler Barrow.
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