Word watch: “Freedom”

Protesters against vaccines in Ottawa are walking on Parliament Hill, screaming “freedom” in a pathetic imitation of Mel Gibson’s overdone portrayal of William Wallace.

Stained glass of William Wallace, Wallace Monument, Stirling, Scotland. Source: Wikimedia Commons

What does “freedom” mean?

It means responsibility.

You can do the things you want to do, go where you want, say what you want.

It also means you have to take responsibility for the impacts of those actions, motions and words.

Freedom does not mean you can endanger others.

It does not mean you can choose to avoid the natural consequences of your words and actions.

Freedom does not mean you can flout the rules agreed to by democratically elected governments.

Freedom certainly does not mean that you can refuse a vaccination, refuse to take simple, easy precautions to protect your community, then mix with vulnerable people.

Let’s get to specifics.

I live in Ottawa. As many people have heard, apparently around the world, we’ve been infested by a protest of cross-border truck drivers against the end of the exemption for truck drivers that enabled them to enter Canada from the U.S. without COVID-19 vaccination.

Ostensibly, it started as a protest by truckers as a specific regulation. But it immediately grew like a black hole, broadening into protest against all public health measures. Against all vaccines.

Then it grew more, to people opposed to any government rules. With signs threatening the life of the Prime Minister. With nazi and confederate flags and symbols.

Unnoticed irony

When the truck convoy arrived in Ottawa, it shut down the downtown. Small businesses, like restaurants and cafés, had to close. As did museums. People depending on minimum wage jobs could not earn the fraction of a living they’ve been trying to get by on.

To rub in their irresponsibility, the anti-health boors staged a mask-free invasion of a downtown shopping mall, exposing yet more people to, well, we don’t know what they have because these people refuse protection and even testing, and to reveal their health status.

Trucks parked on residential streets and sidewalks. They blocked access to streets and neighbourhoods.

The protesters kept residents from sleeping by blaring their air horns night after night. They blocked service workers from helping disabled people.

They defecated in snowbanks in front of people’s homes. They paraded nazi and confederate flags in front of elementary schools. They went into restaurants and cafes without masks and refused to leave when asked to.

Some freedom fighters.

My father-in-law was a freedom fighter. He fought nazis. Actual nazis. With guns. What are these weasels opposing? Needles?

Sorry. That puts weasels in a poor light. The vaccine protesters are just cowards, afraid of needles.

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

Let’s speak plainly.

No one is being forced to get vaccinated. The truckers are not being deprived of freedom.

In fact, they have full freedom of speech to travel literally across the country to blow air horns day and night in residential neighbourhoods.

No one in Canada has ever been forced to be vaccinated.

All the new rules say is that, if you want to cross an international border, you have to have full vaccination.

This is not a new rule. Canada, and many other countries in the world, have regulations regarding vaccination to prevent transmission of a host of infectious diseases, from typhus to whooping cough to measles.

You cannot send your children to school without a measles vaccine, as well as many others.

So COVID-19 vaccines are nothing new.


This opposition to COVID-19 vaccines is artificial. It is fear and loathing whipped up among the uninformed and gullible by bad actors, seeking financial and political gain.

Yes. That’s what I’m saying.

If you believe the anti-vaccine nonsense, you’ve been duped.

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