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Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association concerned about convoy heading to Ottawa

'The message is already lost,' says the group's executive director
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The Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association has concerns about a convoy of hundreds of truckers making their way to Ottawa.

The "Freedom Convoy" is heading across the country to protest a rule requiring full COVID-19 vaccination to enter the country in order to avoid a 14 day quarantine.

The regulation has been in effect for other travellers for months, but it was extended to essential workers, including truck drivers, on January 15.

The association's executive director, Jean-Marc Picard, said his group worked to push back against that mandate.

"We tried to get an extension, we tried to get an exemption, but the federal government has a firm stance on it," he told CityNews Halifax.

Picard thinks those who are against the requirement should have the right to protest, but he believes that's no longer what this event is about.

"This escalated from something that started with the vaccine mandate for drivers, and now it's into anti-lockdowns, anti-masks, freedoms, so the message is already lost in the entire movement," he explained.

"Unfortunately, trucking is in the middle of it and it doesn't look good for the industry."

A demonstration is being planned at Parliament Hill on Saturday, and Picard fears that could get out of hand.

"There's safety concerns there," he said. "If this convoy is getting to the size where everyone is hopping on the bandwagon, who knows what could happen, look at Washington last year."

"Yeah, the organizers want people to behave and oblige by the law, but it doesn't always go that way," he added.

Picard pointed out that even if the federal government were reverse course and once again exempt truckers from the vaccination mandate, it wouldn't really matter because the U.S. now requires all essential foreign travellers entering its country via a land border, including truck drivers, to be fully vaccinated.

With these policies now in place, he believes the industry needs to focus on bigger problems.

"It's tough right now. We have a driver shortage which is impacting supply chains and this is just going to compile the situation," he stated. "We have to find solutions."

"If you have 10,000 people in a convoy, the supply chain and the consumers are the ones who are going to feel the impacts."

Meghan Groff

About the Author: Meghan Groff

Born in Michigan, raised in Ontario, schooled in Indiana and lives in Nova Scotia; Meghan is the editor for CityNews Halifax.
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