Tuesday, April 16, 2024
Guest ContributionsTrucking

Alberta resident launched powerful support network for Freedom Convoy participants in Ottawa

Michelle’s 5.5 x 4.25-inch card. The white lettering top right reads: “FIGHTING FOR FREEDOM THAT SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN TAKEN AWAY

Michelle’s Story

by Donna Laframboise

Click here to read Part 2 of Michelle’s story

5.5 x 4.25-inch card. The white lettering top right reads: FIGHTING FOR FREEDOM THAT SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN TAKEN AWAY

A year ago, while taking photos of the Freedom Convoy in Ottawa, I sent texts, emails, and images to friends elsewhere. The above was one of these (phone number redacted here.) This card had been left on the windshield of a parked pickup truck.

A few days ago, Michelle wrote about these matters over at ConvoyLive.com. Turns out she’s from Canmore, Alberta. According to Google maps, if you were to drive straight through to Ottawa from there without stopping for gasoline, meals, bathroom breaks, or sleep, the journey would take 37 hours.

After hearing non-truckers were welcome to join the convoy, she filled her 26-foot camper trailer/caravan with “food, medical supplies, water, dog food and warm bedding” and, towing it behind her, got on the road. An Alberta couple she met while stopping for the night in Saskatchewan told her they’d “lost everything over the last eighteen months” due to COVID vaccine mandates. They viewed the convoy as their last chance to regain their employment, and were sleeping in their vehicle in -35C weather as they drove across the country. Michelle invited them into her camper and reports that, “by the time we reached Ottawa, there were up to seven people sleeping in my camper every night.”

Enroute, she says she gained a deep appreciation of “how truly desperate the situation had become for so many families in Canada.” Since non-trucker convoy participants didn’t qualify for the millions being donated online specifically to the truckers, Michelle began a parallel fundraising effort on social media:

My request was simple, if you transfer funds I will ensure that the donation will go directly to the people protesting on the ground in Ottawa…The funds rolled in.

She describes making thousands of copies of a flyer similar to the one at the top of this post, offering help with fuel, showers, laundry, pet food, and other matters – “Anything you need to help make ‘holding the line’ easier!”

We spent hours every day placing these flyers on cars parked along Metcalfe, O’Connor, Bank, Kent, Slater, Albert, Wellington, Rideau and Sussex. We introduced ourselves, exchanged phone numbers, took care of immediate requests. We handed out gas cards and Tim Hortons gift cards from the cash donations received.

Public support for the convoy was so deep and so wide, she says, that “there was no shortage of funding.” It appeared “at every turn.”

Click here to read Part 2 of Michelle’s story

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Donna Laframboise writes a daily blog at  ThankYouTruckers.substack.com. It is a first draft of her upcoming book that focuses on interviews with Freedom Convoy truckers. She is a former National Post and Toronto Star columnist, and a former Vice President of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.