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Science, logic not on Trudeau’s side in trucker convoy battle

The “freedom convoy” trucker protest around the Canadian government’s vaccine mandates has captured the attention of not only our neighbors north of the border but also the United States, where it has predictably become a divisive partisan issue.

The two favorite words of CNN commentators made their way into the reporting and analysis, with the protesters being accused of carrying out an “insurrection” while being guilty of “sedition.” 

“The state of emergency in place in Ottawa, where the police chief says COVID protests are ‘a nationwide insurrection driven by madness.’” anchor John King declared recently. “Thousands of Canadians, you see the pictures there, protesting vaccine mandates. It started with the so-called ‘Freedom Convoy’ led by truckers protesting a new mandate requiring vaccines in order to enter the country.”

“And just think of the language. I know it sounds familiar to you. A threat to democracy. An insurrection, sedition. I want to be clear things have quieted down a bit, but that does not take away from the basic truck-in, right, the sit-in that’s going in right in front of the national parliament,” CNN correspondent Paula Newton later added

Liberal news outlets have also reflexively made this about skin color and motive, with the protesters being called racist.

The term “racist” has officially become watered down to the point of minimal impact when said on national television or in print. Example: In 2019, commentators on CNN and MSNBC said the word “racist” or “racism” 4,100 times in the span of one week when speaking about then-President Trump. That’s 585 times on average per day. 

There’s obvious media bias in covering this story by painting the truckers as beyond the pale. But even Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has portrayed some of the protesters as fascists. “This is a story of a country that got through this pandemic by being united,” he said. “And a few people shouting and waving swastikas does not define who Canadians are.”

So, here’s a fun assignment for the week: Go watch or read an online report or analysis on the Canadian trucker protest still ongoing in the capital city of Ottawa. Mark down exactly how many are noting that the country’s COVID-19 cases are down significantly: On Friday, the country of 37.8 million people recorded Just 7,664 cases, or 0.02 percent of the population. On Jan. 11 one month ago, there were nearly 50,000 cases per day, or 85 percent higher. Like in the U.S., omicron is leaving Canada as quickly as it came. 

The country is almost fully vaccinated, with nearly 85 percent of the population receiving at least one jab. That makes Canada one of the most vaccinated populations in the world.  

And most importantly, perhaps no other job in the world affords more isolation, more self-quarantine, than that of trucker. 

So, with all of that said: A fading coronavirus variant, hospitals working at full capacity, cases plummeting and a population that is almost fully vaccinated, why exactly is Trudeau continuing to push a vaccine mandate in the name of health and safety? 

What’s the scientific argument?  

Answer: There is none.

This isn’t about medical science but political science. Trudeau simply does not want to do the easy thing, the right thing, by lifting the mandate. And yes, it would be as easy as it has been for blue-state governors from New Jersey to Massachusetts to Oregon to lift mask mandates in schools.

Point to the data showing omicron is showing itself the door with no new variant in sight. Point to the cases, the hospitalizations, the deaths all falling at a breathtaking pace. Take a victory lap on getting the country vaccinated. Open NHL arenas to crowds again. Encourage other Canadian provinces to follow Manitoba’s lead in lifting mask mandates and vaccine passports. 

Seventy percent of the American people in a recent Monmouth University poll say it’s time to just learn to accept COVID as a part of life.  

A recent Ipsos poll finds that about two-thirds of Canadians (64 percent) say the government isn’t doing enough to get the country back to normal, while two-thirds of Canadians say it’s time to drop COVID-19 restrictions and begin living with the virus, according to Maru Public Opinion

Agree or disagree with the truckers’ stance against vaccine mandates, but it’s hard to argue against science. And if that’s the hill Trudeau wants to essentially declare martial law over, he might want to look at his approval rating, which is worse than President Biden’s (38 percent).

Once again, COVID becomes a political football, concern for health and safety be damned. All in the name of control.  

Joe Concha is a media and politics columnist.

Tags Canada CNN COVID-19 pandemic in Canada COVID-19 vaccination in Canada Donald Trump Freedom Convoy Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on politics Joe Biden Justin Trudeau MSNBC SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant trucker convoy

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