Canadian Freedom Convoy / Convoi de la Liberté logo depicting a semi-truck in reference to the Canadian truckers protest.

Canadian Freedom Convoy / Convoi de la Liberté

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Updated Feb 23, 2022 at 08:31PM EST by Owen.

Added Jan 31, 2022 at 12:43AM EST by Autumn Able.

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About

Canadian Freedom Convoy, also known in French as Convoi de la Liberté, is an anti-vaccine protest that was organized by Canadian truckers over a COVID-19 vaccine mandate issued by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in January 2022. In response to it, truckers within the country organized on Reddit and Twitter to lead a convoy of trucks from Western Canada to Eastern Canada. Truckers within other countries, like Australia and the Netherlands, later joined the trend, hosting their own Freedom Convoys. Memes emerged on Reddit and 4chan about the protest, mostly centered on the concept of honks or honking, in reference to eye-witness reports of the truck honking being too loud.

Background

Pre-cursor Canadian Freedom Convoy

Prior to the 2022 Freedom Convoy, there was an April 2021 Canadian Freedom Convoy in regards to mask mandates within the country. It was not specifically organized by truckers, however, but was reported on by news outlets like Vice[1] in late April, who referenced multiple tweets showing the convoy being stopped at the Ottawa border after traveling across Canada from the west. For instance, Twitter user CarymaRules posted a video in response to a political cartoon of the convoy being stopped on April 26th, receiving over 360 likes in one year (shown below).


Origin of 2022 Canadian Freedom Convoy

On January 13th, 2022, the Canadian government released a mandate[2] titled, "Requirements for truckers entering Canada." The mandate was centered on the COVID-19 vaccine and was set to be in effect on January 15th. According to it, all truckers entering Canada must be vaccinated, which wasn't the case in 2021 because certain essential workers (including truckers) weren't required to prove vaccination. The January mandate focused on non-Canadian truckers specifically, requiring them to be vaccinated. Canadian truckers, on the other hand, would be required to quarantine, among other precautions, if they could not prove vaccination.

Developments

Initial Organization

On January 13th, 2022 (the day of the mandate's release), Twitter[3] user MelissaLMRogers posted a tweet that included "INFO" about an upcoming "Convoy for Freedom," that was in the works. She also mentioned in the tweet, "There will be 3 convoy routes that will all come together in Ottawa on the 28th or 29th." The tweet (shown below) received over 670 likes in 18 days.


Melissa 4 Freedom ... @MelissaLMRogers INFO - Convoy for Freedom to END MANDATES is being worked on. There will be 3 convoy routes that will all come together in Ottawa on the 28th or 29th. JOIN IN & share #Canada #Ottawa #Ontario #FREEDOM 9:14 PM · Jan 13, 2022 · Twitter for iPhone

On January 20th, the Freedom Convoy was officially organized on Facebook on the Freedom Convoy 2022 Facebook[4] page. The original post (shown below) received roughly 10,000 reactions over the course of 11 days.



Also on January 20th, a GoFundMe[5] campaign was set up by the convoy's main organizers: Tamara Lich and B.J. Dichter (the opening paragraph of their statement is shown below). Over the course of eight days, the campaign received roughly $9.2 million of its $10 million goal. All of the proceeds gathered were to be used to feed, house and support the truckers involved within the convoy.


3 Team fundraiser Tamara Lich and B.J. Dichter are organizing this fundraiser. Delta BC Rollout Jan 23 To our Fellow Canadians, the time for political over reach is over. Our current government is implementing rules and mandates that are destroying the foundation of our businesses, industries and livelihoods. Canadians have been integral to the fabric of humanity in many ways that have shaped the planet. We are a peaceful country that has helped protect nations across the globe from tyrannical governments who oppressed their people, and now it seems it is happening here. We are taking our fight to the doorsteps of our Federal Government and demanding that they cease all mandates against its people. Small businesses are being destroyed, homes are being destroyed, and people are being mistreated and denied fundamental necessities to survive. It's our duty as Canadians to put an end to this mandates. It is imperative that this happens because if we don't our country will no longer be the country we have come to love. We are doing this for our future Generations and to regain our lives back. We are asking for Donations to help with the costs of fuel first, and hopefully food and lodgings to help ease the pressures of this arduous task. It's a small price to pay for our freedoms. We thank you all for your Donations and know that you are helping reshape this once beautiful country back to the way it was. In order for your generous donations to flow smoothly, the good people at Go Fund Me will be sending donations directly to our bulk fuel supplier and are working out the details now which means your hard earned money is going to straight to who it was meant for and need not flow through anyone else. Any left over donations will be donated to a credible Veterans organization which will be chosen by the donors.

On January 23rd, 2022, the Freedom Convoy officially rolled out of British Columbia. A video was posted to Facebook[6] of the convoy rolling out by the Freedom Convoy 2022 page (shown below). Over the course of eight days, the post received roughly 7,000 reactions.



The Freedom Convoy continued to pick up new members and trucks as it drove through Canada. Tamara Lich uploaded multiple videos of the convoy's developments to Facebook[7] over the course of the last week of January. As it kept moving through the country, inherently, more Canadians witnessed it, with many of them having negative reactions regarding alt-right, racist and fascist sentiments being relayed by the protestors. For instance, on January 27th, 2022, Twitter[8] user JaroGiesbrecht tweeted a video of a news segment on the convoy, earning over 900 likes for it in four days (shown below).


Elon Musk Praises Canadian Truckers

On January 27th, 2022, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted,[9] "Canadian truckers rule," receiving roughly 433,700 likes over the course of four days (shown below).



On January 31st, it was relayed by Twitter[10] user TomTSEC that Musk had reportedly donated $42,000 to the convoy's GoFundMe, under the alias of his website Liar.com. The tweet (shown below) received roughly 9,200 likes in less than a day.



Australian and Dutch Convoys

Starting on January 30th, 2022, Australian truckers began to organize in solidarity with their Canadian counterparts. A video of the convoy starting in Australia headed for their capital was posted by Twitter[11] user OzraeliAvi on the 30th, earning roughly 34,200 likes in a day (shown below).


Dutch truckers in the Netherlands also organized on the 30th, documented in a tweet posted by Twitter[12] user backtolife_2019 that received roughly 2,000 likes, also in less than a day (shown below).


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Invokes The "Emergencies Act"

On February 14th, 2022, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act for the first time in Canadian history in response to the ongoing protest. According to The Financial Post,[16] Trudeau ordered a rare Sunday night meeting of his cabinet members, consulting them on the matter. In the end, the act was called into action mostly due to blockades caused by semi-trucks involved in the protest. According to Trudeau, the blockades were "harming our economy and endangering public safety." This was stated in a press conference from Trudeau held on the 14th. He tweeted a video clip of it on the 14th, earning roughly 4,200 likes over the course of one day (shown below).


The main blockade cited as evidence for the invocation was one that occurred on the Ambassador Bridge, a supply route that connects Michigan and Ontario. It was reported that the week-long blockade disrupted $390 million in trade each day.[16] This blockade, and others, caused the act to be invoked, allowing the Canadian government to freeze bank accounts of citizens suspected of sending financial aid to the Freedom Convoy movement. Other measures of the act include limiting civilian travel, the use or disposing of citizen property, policing, fining or imprisoning people, as well as the deployment of the military to halt the protests that Trudeau has described as a "last resort."[16]

In turn, meme creators started to compare Trudeau to modern, dictator-esque leaders like Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping and Kim Jong-un. For instance, Instagram[20] page edwardrussl used the likeness of all four world leaders in a meme posted on February 14th, earning over 100 likes in less than 24 hours (shown below).


BRO YOU SEEING THIS? AND THEY CALL US DICTATORS HOLD UP, GOTA LINE. BRRROOOOO @EDWAR DRUSSL

Great Canadian Bank Run 2022

On February 14th, 2022, in response to Trudeau's invocation of the Emergencies Act, users on 4chan started theorizing about a possible "bank run" that they could inflict on the Canadian economy. An anonymous user on 4chan's /pol/[17] posted a thread on the 14th titled, "Great Canadian Bank Run 2022," including a picture of TD Bank and stating, "Since Trudeau has declared war and is turning the banks on their own people can we meme this into reality?" Multiple users started to plan out how Canadian citizens could withdraw their money and turn it into Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies in response to the government being able to freeze bank accounts of citizens suspected of sending financial aid to the Freedom Convoy movement.

Memes were posted in the 4chan thread in regards to the "bank run" idea. For instance, one user made a Walter White Breaks Down meme, captioning the GIF, "Canadian bankers when the 100th trucker comes to withdraw all his money (bank run lmao)" (shown below).


Canadian bankers when the 100th trucker comes to withdraw all his money (bank run Imao) mgp.com

The idea received further spread when it was tweeted about by Twitter[18] user Jack Posobiec on February 14th, earning roughly 31,100 likes in less than 24 hours (shown below, left). The Twitter[19] account of WallStreetSilv, associated with the subreddit WallStreetBets known for the GameStop Stock Surge, also posted about the Bank Run on February 15th, earning over 2,400 likes in less than 24 hours (shown below, right).


Truckistani Underground Poso @JackPosobiec 4chan is calling for a run on Canadian banks in response to Trudeau's crackdowns 10:44 PM · Feb 14, 2022 · Twitter for iPhone 6,828 Retweets 532 Quote Tweets 31.1K Likes Wall Street Silver @WallStreetSilv The hashtag #bankruncanada is now picking up steam. Any of you out there from Canada? Are you planning on withdrawing cash in the coming days? FARMERS & MECHANICS SAVINGS BANK.

Honks / Honking

The first meme to emerge from the Freedom Convoy discourse was on Reddit. Complaints were voiced on the platform from Ottawa residents regarding the honking within their towns being obnoxious and detrimental to their well-being. This started most notably on January 29th, 2022, in the comment sections of multiple "Convoy Megathreads." One example was posted beneath a /r/ottawa[13] post from Redditor EVEolutionary who said, "Our kitty fear pooped in our bed, among other places. She NEVER has accidents outside of the box. I’m livid. My poor little girl. I feel so terrible for the pets of downtown," earning over 170 upvotes (shown below).



On the same day, the honking complaint comments surfaced on 4chan's /pol/[14] messageboard, where anonymous users started to post memes about honking and honks. For instance, an anon started a thread on the 29th, leading it with, "THE WORLDWIDE HONKENING BEGINS TODAY." The meme they attached (shown below, left) used the likeness of the Clown Pepe / Honk Honk meme. Subsequent 4chan users added to this thread, one of them referencing a screenshot of Redditor EVEolutionary's comment (shown below, right).


EVEolutionary 50 min. ago Our kitty fear pooped in our bed, among other places. She NEVER has accidents outside of the box. I'm livid. My poor little girl. I feel so terrible for the pets of downtown. 102 Reply Give Award Share Report Save Follow AONK HONK

More memes referencing honking surfaced on /pol/ going into the rest of January 2022.

Supply Chain

Supply Chain is an exploitable meme format made from a political cartoon from Washington Post artist Michael de Adder depicting several semi-trucks on a highway with the word "fascism" written on their trailers, in reference to the Freedom Convoy. Meme creators altered the text on the trucks as a means of satire or parody, primarily using object labeling. The majority of examples came from 4chan but originally on Twitter.

Michael de Adder posted the original political cartoon to his Twitter[15] account on January 28th, 2022, in response to the Freedom Convoy. The cartoon (shown below) received over 5,500 likes in two days.


FASCISM FASCIS FASCISM Gてeo FASCISM SUPPLY CHAIN kr testar

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