In late January 2022, Julie and her three youngest children (aged 10, 9, and and 7) drove to a highway overpass in southern Ontario’s Niagara region. A local truck convoy was heading to Ottawa. She didn’t know much about the Freedom Convoy at that point, but it sounded positive.
In her words, for the past two years “We’d been told to ‘Shut up and take it, shut up and take it, shut up and take it’…I’ve never heard the phrase ‘you may not’ so much as in the two years prior to Ottawa.”
At the overpass, she says, “People that hadn’t talked in years were high-fiving and hugging. We were all there on the bridge together, holding signs.
“My brother was there with his big boom truck. And he had the big flag, the Canada flag, hanging on it. It felt good to be unified in this as a family. It was just amazing. All these trucks honking, all these people waving and cheering.”
Julie and the kids returned home energized. “We’re not in this alone,” she told Andrew, her husband, who’d stayed behind to perform farm work. “There’s probably ten people for every one person on that bridge who couldn’t be there because of work. There’s more people than we realize.”
They’re gathering in Ottawa, she said.
Her enthusiasm was infectious: “So we picked up three wheelbarrows. And we put them on top of the truck. We looked like the Beverly Hillbillies. We had this old wood stove and this slip tank, and the wheelbarrows on top.
“Here we come, Ottawa. It was hilarious.”
Andrew has an outdoor cookstove that runs on wood. It doesn’t look like much, but it has proper grills, and a chimney, and is named Bertha. Soon it was being loaded into the back of their pickup truck along with firewood and cast iron pans.
They filled a large tank in the back with diesel to bring to the truckers. En route, they heard they’d need Jerry cans and wagons. Unable to find any wagons, they purchased wheelbarrows instead. Julie continues:
“So we picked up three wheelbarrows. And we put them on top of the truck. We looked like the Beverly Hillbillies.
We had this old wood stove and this slip tank, and the wheelbarrows on top.
Here we come, Ottawa. It was hilarious.”
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.