By Darren Lum
Horns sounded, people waved and Canadian flags were flown from dozens of vehicles that rolled through town close to the noon hour this past Saturday announcing they were done with restrictions and vaccine mandates related to health measures to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 implemented by the federal and provincial governments.
Abiding by the red light at Highland Street and Maple Avenue, the procession with an OPP estimate of close to 60 vehicles was intermittently stopped to turn left to Highway 118 to go to West Guilford, Carnarvon and then back to Minden where it started close to 11 a.m. It lined up past the town docks.
This convoy was a grass-roots protest for freedom, to support the truckers, particularly the ‘Freedom Convoy’ in Ottawa, which has continued since Friday on Jan. 28. The organization of the event was through the Haliburton Freedom Rally page (with 984 members as of Sunday, Feb. 6) on Facebook with Robyn Shaw and Scott Danilko as admin representatives.
Shaw, a Haliburton resident, said the convoy was about uniting for autonomy.
“I want every single Canadian to be able to make their own choice. Everyone deserves that, vaxxed and unvaxxed, masked or unmasked. I see what the truckers are doing for everyone’s freedom and I want to stand with them. I firmly believe that to sit by without speaking up and speaking my truth I am complicit in what I see as wrong and very dangerous,” she wrote in a message.
The Haliburton Highlands Secondary School graduate of 1977 ultimately wants all the restrictions, mandates lifted, and eliminate vaccine passports for everyone.
“If people want to vaxx or mask up that is so, totally, OK. If that’s what’s best for them. I just want to be able to make my own choice without being harassed or called names or told things like I don’t deserve health or I’m a fascist or I’m selfish or stupid … the list goes on and on,” she wrote.
MPP Laurie Scott, who was in Haliburton Thursday to announce funding for for the Municipality of Dysart et al and the Haliburton Legion, spoke about the protest in Ottawa when asked about the local protest convoy.
She said it was time for the ‘Freedom Convoy’ to leave Ottawa and she advised the local convoy organizers to keep it orderly.
“It’s too much down there. They got their point. We heard it. Support the truckers. Absolutely,” she said. “People’s frustrations. We get it. We get it everyday and we’re all tired of this, but we have to be careful. The restrictions. We got a map. We stick to it. Mostly everything’s open now. Just hang in for a bit more. It’s just the winter. The reality of protecting the healthcare system. But that’s good if they want to protest. Just don’t obstruct people’s businesses or access to anything.”
The OPP said there were no reported incidents.