Tamara Lich of Medicine Hat, Alberta is the lead organizer of what she and her supporters call the Freedom Convoy. The main goal of the January 29 rally is to protest the federal mandate that took effect January 15 for cross-border truckers. Canadian truckers must now have full vaccination against COVID-19 or else accept a two-week quarantine and testing for the virus before they can cross into Canada from the U.S.
The trucker convoy project began earlier in the year with truckers driving across Canada from B.C. in the west and the Maritime provinces in the east, with the goal of arriving together January 29 on Parliament Hill. Rally organizers have invited others through Facebook to join the convoy along the way and at least one Vankleek Hill man, Cheyenne Raynard, plans to drive alongside the big trucks as far as Casselman.
“I’m fine with them (government) encouraging vaccination,” Raynard said, during a phone interview, but added that he thinks the federal vaccine mandates now “unfairly target” people who are not vaccinated. “I think if you want to get vaccinated, get vaccinated, but don’t be afraid of people who are unvaccinated.”
Raynard, who works as a dairy farmer, will join the convoy when a number of truckers from Québec and further east arrive Saturday morning for a brief layover at Herb’s Truck Stop in Vankleek Hill at the intersection of Highway 417 and Highway 34. He drive along with the convoy as far as the Casselman turnoff from Highway 417 because “I have to tend to my cows.”