AFL President Gil McGowan issues statement on “Freedom Convoy”
Edmonton - “On numerous occasions over the past week, the so-called “Freedom Convoy” has been portrayed as an uprising of ordinary Canadian workers, particularly truckers. I want to make it clear that the people who descended on Ottawa this weekend – and who continue to essentially occupy and terrorize the city – are in no way, shape or form representative of the vast majority of working Canadians or Albertans, including truckers.
“The workers who I know and represent are at work today, not intimidating innocent citizens or rubbing shoulders with known white supremacists and other extremists. Instead of supporting what’s going on in Ottawa, all but a tiny sliver of Canadian workers are doing what they do every day: providing health care, educating our children, making our cities and municipalities work, producing and moving goods, working on construction projects, stocking shelves, serving customers and doing the myriad of other things that make our economy run.
“The vast majority of workers in Canada and Alberta also continue to support measures to save lives by reducing the spread of COVID-19. Yes, we are all tired of the pandemic and the measurers that have had to be taken to end it. But the workers I know and represent understand that it’s dangerous to pretend that the virus doesn’t exist or that we can simply wish it away. We must persevere doing our part to safeguard ourselves, our friends and families, our colleagues, institutions and our economy. There truly is no freedom as long as COVID-19 continues to ravage our communities.
“Today, I say shame on the convoy participants and organizers who have transformed their protest into an exercise in mass and sustained intimidation. I also say shame on all of the conservative pundits and politicians – including Premier Kenney and many members of his UCP caucus – who have incited this kind of behaviour by pandering to the extremist fringe and deliberately politicizing the pandemic to help advance their narrow and selfish partisan agendas.
“We cannot allow our public health policies to be dictated by an extremist fringe that clearly doesn’t understand science and is willing to gamble with the lives of their fellow citizens and the health and safety of their co-workers. And, for the sake of our democracy, we cannot allow authoritarian bullies to become further emboldened or pretend that they speak for the majority of workers and citizens.”
Alberta Federation of Labour
January 31, 2022
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Director of Communications, AFL