(LifeSiteNews) — Canadian Freedom Convoy truckers and their supporters, who have jammed the streets of Ottawa and blocked a major international thoroughfare to demand an end to COVID-19 mandates and restrictions, have inspired similar protests across the globe. They’ve also drawn the ire of leftist politicians and elites beyond Canada’s borders.
As Canadian politicians and media outlets have pushed for harsh measures to put a stop to the Freedom Convoy, their U.S. counterparts have also expressed outrage over the protests, which are shaping up to be among the largest global workers’ movements in history.
On Thursday, the Biden administration urged the Canadian government under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to use its federal powers to dissolve the trucker convoy’s blockade of the Ambassador Bridge, a crucial trade route between the U.S. and Canada.
Reuters reported that per a statement released by an unnamed White House official, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg “each spoke with their Canadian counterparts, urging them to use Federal powers to resolve this situation at our joint border.”
Canada should use federal powers to ease the growing economic disruption caused by the blockage of a vital U.S.-Canada trade route by protesters opposed to coronavirus mandates, President Joe Biden’s administration said https://t.co/CmpP4jRZ1l pic.twitter.com/PnGwjTCPTl
— Reuters (@Reuters) February 11, 2022
Michigan’s radically pro-abortion Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has also called for a federal response from the Canadian government.
Whitmer, whose COVID-19 lockdown policies have been among the strictest in the U.S., called on the Canadian government to immediately open up bridge access, and attacked the truckers for “hitting paychecks and production lines” by blocking the key border crossing.
Drew Dilkens, mayor of Windsor, Ontario, said in a press conference Thursday that Whitmer’s office has directly “offered to send over heavy equipment to help remove vehicles” and “provide security” to “help end this blockade.”
Some social media users and political commentators have pointed out that Gov. Whitmer had formerly rejected federal assistance from the Trump administration to break up Black Lives Matter riots in Detroit prior to her recent call for Canada’s federal government to disband the trucker convoy.
Whitmer when Trump threatened to send the feds to stop riots in Detroit.
Whitmer when Canadian truckers peacefully protest vaccine mandates. pic.twitter.com/qTVKbYEk5e
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) February 11, 2022
While the Biden administration and Gov. Whitmer called for a vague implementation of federal powers to end protests, other commentators have been less diplomatic.
In a tweet Thursday, former government official Juliette Kayyem, who served in the Department of Homeland Security in the Obama administration, openly called for vandalism and theft by advocating for slashing tires and stealing fuel from the trucker convoy.
Kayyem, a Harvard professor and CNN analyst, called the trucker protest “an economic and security issue,” and noted that the “Ambassador Bridge link constitutes 28% of annual trade movement between [the] US and Canada.”
“Slash the tires, empty gas tanks, arrest the drivers, and move the trucks,” Kayyem said.
The convoy protest, applauded by right wing media as a “freedom protest,” is an economic and security issue now. The Ambassador Bridge link constitutes 28% of annual trade movement between US and Canada. Slash the tires, empty gas tanks, arrest the drivers, and move the trucks ✔️ https://t.co/nvRQTfPWir
— Juliette Kayyem (@juliettekayyem) February 10, 2022
Late Thursday evening, Kayyem backtracked on her inflammatory rhetoric, saying she wasn’t “promoting vigilantism.” The former Obama official affirmed that “[p]eople have the freedom to protest,” but argued that “[g]overnments have the responsibility to protect public safety.”
Meanwhile, Canadian leaders have increased their opposition to the Freedom Convoy as the protest wears on.
On Friday, Ontario leader Doug Ford declared a state of emergency in response to the ongoing protests.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he would do “whatever it takes” to put an end to the convoy, which has sparked similar protests in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe.
— Daily Wire (@realDailyWire) February 11, 2022
While left-wing leaders and commentators have gone on the attack against the Freedom Convoy, however, the movement has found allies among conservatives.
Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who has earned the respect of many on the right for repeatedly grilling Dr. Anthony Fauci during Congressional hearings about U.S. government funding of dangerous virus research in China, also openly supported the Canadian truckers, and encouraged American truck drivers to follow their lead.
In response to whether Canada-style trucker protests will crop up in the U.S., Sen. Paul told The Daily Signal’s Mary Margaret Olohan on Friday, “I’m all for it. Civil disobedience is a time-honored tradition in our country, from slavery to civil rights, you name it. Peaceful protest, clog things up, make people think about the mandates.”