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29 Jan, 2022 21:13

Media floats Russia theory for Canadian trucker protest

State-owned CBC suggests that ‘Russian actors’ may have instigated massive protest convoy that shut down Ottawa
Media floats Russia theory for Canadian trucker protest

A cross-country convoy of truckers that has jammed the streets of Canada’s capital in protest against Covid-19 vaccine mandates might seem like grass-roots pushback against government overreach, but state broadcaster CBC Television has offered a more sinister explanation: Russia did it.

Speaking in an interview on Friday with Canada’s public safety minister, Marco Mendicino, CBC host Nil Koksal suggested that possible Kremlin meddlers might have brought about the massive “Freedom Convoy.”Given Canada’s support of Ukraine in this current crisis with Russia, I don’t know if it’s far-fetched to ask, but there is concern that Russian actors could be continuing to fuel things as this protest grows, but perhaps even instigating it from the outset,” she said.

Koksal didn’t offer any evidence to back up the theory or say who has raised such concern. Mendicino replied, “I’m gonna defer to our partners in the public safety, the trained officials and experts in that area.”

The interview came just before disgruntled truckers began to arrive in Ottawa on Friday night. Thousands of convoy participants and other protesters massed in the city on Saturday, bringing traffic to a standstill and sending Prime Minister Justin Trudeau into hiding. State-owned CBC said Trudeau and his family had been moved from his official residence to a “secure location.”

As many as 50,000 trucks were reportedly expected to flood into Ottawa, and traffic was snarled through much of the city. Some trucks were emblazoned with “F**k Trudeau” signs across their trailers, while other protesters demanded, “Mandate freedom.”

Government restrictions that went into effect on January 15 require unvaccinated Canadian drivers to quarantine for 14 days when they cross the border back into their country. Trudeau has condemned the angry truckers as holding “unacceptable views.”

Prior to floating the theory of a Russian bogeyman, Canadian media outlets have made other claims that appeared to smear the protesters, such as suggesting they are racist or extremist. The Toronto Star said the convoy became a “magnet” for such undesirable elements as “conspiracy nuts, Western separatists, far right-wingers and worse.” Others have suggested that some participants want to carry out their own version of last year’s US Capitol riot.

A counter-protester was seen on Saturday saying, “F**k your white nationalist agenda,” while Canadian television reporter Mackenzie Gray was quick to post a Twitter message proclaiming “our first Confederate flag of the day here on Parliament Hill.” Multiple observers replied that Gray had spotted the “first fed of the day,” meaning a federal agent seeking to discredit the protest.