Tuesday, April 16, 2024
Photo supplied by Mark. Taken February 2, 2022 on returning to his truck.
Guest ContributionsOpinion/ColumnTrucking

“You can interview that front tire”

Mark tells a CBC news crew: “You guys lie about everything”

by Donna Laframboise

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During the three weeks Mark and his truck spent in Ottawa, the parking tickets and small acts of vandalism were minor matters. Wife Joanne describes him as a laidback guy who doesn’t talk much about feelings. But as they texted back and forth during those weeks, she says, he told her about the tears and the gratitude. People kept thanking him for taking a stand. “He said the love that was there, it was just unbelievable.”

Regular people would come by his truck offering submarine sandwiches and fried chicken. An Asian woman, Mark says, “was bringing us down Chinese food all the time. And Tim Horton’s. I don’t drink coffee myself, but they’d be bringing wagons full.” At random times of day, strangers would ask if he needed fuel. “Yeah, I’ll take it.”

After the police started cracking down on fuel deliveries, folks got more creative:

“They were bringing it in in strollers and water cans. I have never seen anybody come together like that in my lifetime. You know, all for the same cause. You’d be sitting in the truck and they’d be giving you $100, $200. And cards. We still have them upstairs, here. We saved most of them. It was just heartwarming.”

In Ottawa, Mark ate in restaurants for the first time in months. A 40-something chap from Alberta had compiled a list of 12 to 14 local establishments that were serving all comers, no proof of vaccination required. “Actually,” says Mark, “he wasn’t a truck driver, but a real resourceful guy. I think he was one of those guys that, if you needed something, he could find it. But anyway, he had a list. This is the restaurants we can get in, no trouble.”

One day, a CBC news crew approached Mark’s truck:

They come, banged on my door one morning. They said, ‘Can we do an interview?’

I said, ‘Yeah, right there. Interview that front tire, if you want to. But me, you’re not.’ I said, ‘You guys don’t tell the truth. I know all about you.’

‘Well, what did we lie about?’

I said, ‘Everything. You guys lie about everything. And you’re not twisting me up. So you have a nice day.’

I think everybody was treating ’em that way after a while. They take everything outta context and put a word here and there. No way. I wouldn’t even turn on their channel. No way I’d even listen to them, ever.”

When the authorities started talking about freezing protesters’ bank accounts, Mark says he wasn’t worried. “I said there’s no way the law will ever allow that. Later, I heard of people getting their bank accounts frozen. I couldn’t believe it. But no, they never touched me.”

*****

Donna Laframboise writes a daily blog at  ThankYouTruckers.substack.comIt 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.