TravelPrep is here! Important safety information direct to travellers

January 22, 2022 / Riskline Informer

Convoy protests in Canada expose domestic fault lines

After three weeks of border closures and citywide shutdowns, anti-government protesters have largely dispersed without achieving their primary goals, but have been emboldened by the support they received to continue their efforts.

By Paul Mutter

Introduction

On 28 January, thousands of activists nationwide converged on Parliament Hill in Ottawa to demand the lifting of all COVID-19 restrictions. Nominally triggered by vaccination rules for cross-border truckers, the protests primarily consisted of people not connected with the industry but activists mobilised by prior anti-pandemic restrictions protests since 2020. The organisers, many affiliated with far-right causes, embraced increasingly maximalist demands, including the resignation of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the formation of a new government.

Concurrent with the Ottawa protests, convoys numbering several dozen vehicles at a time blocked roads and bridges to the United States (US). The closure of border crossings in British Columbia, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta cost the Canadian economy hundreds of millions of dollars a day, particularly the Ambassador Bridge border crossing between Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit in the US, due to the impact on the automotive industry. Frustrated with the slow and uncoordinated responses by provincial premiers, some of whom openly sympathized with the protesters while taking no firm action against them, the federal government invoked the Emergencies Act for the first time in its history.

While few of the provisions of the Act, which prohibits federalising municipal and provincial police departments, have actually been implemented, its invocation coincided with more stringent enforcement actions by local police, resulting in border crossings reopening by mid-February, though large protests have continued, especially in British Columbia and Alberta. Fatigue and disunity among the protesters, some of whom called on supporters to leave while others urged them to remain put, also took a toll. The toll was also incurred by Ottawa businesses and residents, from weeks-long closures, harassment and heavy noise and air pollution from idling vehicles that shut down swathes of the capital for three weeks.

The invocation of the Emergencies Act has, so far, proven relatively popular among the electorate, polling at approximately two-thirds favorability. It is likely the Act will not even be kept in place for the original 30-day declaration. Most of the negative sentiment in the polls directed against the Liberal Party and Prime Minister Trudeau has so far revolved around criticism that the federal government was not doing enough to stop the protests, rather than how they were dispersed.

Emboldened Anti-Government Sentiment

Canadian security services fear that while the protests were contained without casualties, they have activated a larger core of extreme anti-government activists who will continue to attempt major actions aimed at disrupting daily life to try extracting political concessions. In the most serious incident, in Alberta, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) arrested 13 people and confiscated firearms at the Coutts-Sweet Grass border crossing for allegedly planning to attack law enforcement officers. (Following the arrests, the blockade organisers denied any knowledge of the plot and decamped without incident.)

Further protests are also likely in the future because of the perception, albeit unprovable, that many provinces began scaling back public health measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic midway through the unrest to try appeasing the convoy participants. Politicians have denied this is the case, citing instead the passing of the highly virulent Omicron-variant that triggered curfews and lockdowns during the winter holiday, but the perception of the issue counts for more than any official denials.

On the other side of the issue, in Ontario, ad hoc citizen solidarity groups mobilised residents to block convoys from moving around the capital region. These developments have future implications for counter-protest strategies, as well as shaming the authorities into taking action faster in the future before the situation escalates to the point where rival demonstrations are de facto controlling movement in and out of urban areas. State capacity was found especially wanting as municipal, provincial and federal leaders repeatedly failed to coordinate a unified response over their overlapping jurisdictions.

Officials also expressed concern at the number of US nationals attempting to cross the border in order to join the protests, though none were linked to extremist groups. But the flow of foreign donations, mainly from the US, and sympathetic coverage of the protests by conservative American media, has been far more important in boosting the profile of the movement.

Concerns over the source of funds prompted the federal government to ultimately freeze multimillion dollar crowdsourcing campaigns and impose banking restrictions on dozens of protest organisers. The use of federal financial laws to increase logistical hurdles is unlikely to be repeated in the US but will spur changes in how grassroots funding is collected and disbursed in order to avoid frozen funds in the future. Especially as opponents of COVID-19 vaccine mandates in the US are now planning their own cross-country convoy.

Summary

For one month, an anti-government protest movement was able to impede international commerce and blockade the seat of government in Ottawa to protest COVID-19 vaccine mandates and call for a change in government. The delays in dispersing these protests have major implications for Canadian politics and domestic extremism going forward.

Paul Mutter is a US-based political and security risk analyst.

Share This
Continue Reading

Travel chaos in Europe

Optimism surrounding air travel in Europe following the relaxation of COVID-19 rules has dampened as staff shortages and industrial action have resulted in mass flight cancellations and other disruptions.

Read more

Protect your organisation’s assets

Complement your expertise with our comprehensive risk reports
You can concentrate on protection strategies because we’ve already done the initial research. Riskline has risk reports for over 225 countries and regions around the world, and city safety reports for over 250 cities. We follow developments around the world everyday so you can stay focused on protecting your assets.

Let our experts show you how Riskline can keep you informed.

Power your data-driven insurance

Risk intelligence that helps you manage loss ratios and generate new revenue
Improve the accuracy of your underwriting and dynamic pricing models with our suite of destination risk reports and 24/7 global alerts. We follow developments around the world everyday so you can take comfort that your product decisions reflect up-to-date risk information. Our data can also be integrated as a value-added service by providing pre-travel advice and risk alerts that keep customers updated wherever they are in the world.

Let our experts show you how Riskline can keep you informed.

Manage COVID-19 disruptions

Your single trusted source for COVID-19 risk and restrictions around the globe
Stay updated with our up-to-the-minute information on testing, vaccination and quarantine requirements, COVID-19 infection rates and trends, and local restrictions. You can easily integrate our data directly into your systems through our dedicated COVID-19 API and TravelCheck widget, or get detailed reports in one place through the Microsite.

Let our experts show you how Riskline can keep you informed.

Offer travellers vital trip information

Offer your clients a full package of travel services
You’re the experts in bookings, itineraries and expenses, let our experts take care of destination risk assessments and real-time travel alerts. In this increasingly volatile world, you can offer your customers the best view of where it’s safe for them to travel, and what to expect on their trip.

Let our experts show you how Riskline can keep you informed.

Make decisions quickly with verified information

Ensure duty of care for employees and stay updated
When responding to a crisis you want to stay up-to-date with accurate information. We take care of providing up-to-date risk alerts so you can focus on planning and acting. Our destination risk reports ensure your employees are well prepared when they travel to high-risk areas, with detailed analysis of on-the-ground risks and baseline operating conditions.

Let our experts show you how Riskline can keep you informed.

Travellers are safer when they stay informed

Riskline Alert Messaging operates all day, every day. Each alert contains essential intelligence, practical advice and precise geographic data about risks to traveller safety or impacts on travel plans. When we are able to get advanced warning, notices are also issued for events happening in the future.
Riskline Informer
Keep informed of key developments around the world.

Helping travellers manage Covid-19 disruptions

We have closely tracked developments associated with COVID-19 since late 2019, gathering detailed information on entry and exit requirements, You can get our real-time COVID-19 intelligence via alerts, API, microsite, and the TravelCheck widget.
Let our experts show you how Riskline can keep you informed.

Risk ratings you can build a travel policy around

Riskline has detailed assessments for more than 225 countries and territories around the world. Each report has an easy-to-understand Risk Level™ that can be integrated into travel policies and other business operations. Risk assessments include an overview of the security and travel safety situation in a country, and detailed analysis of the political, terrorism, conflict, unrest, crime, natural, health and local transport risks.
Let our experts show you how Riskline can keep you informed.

Know more about where you actually go

We assess the safety of more than 250 global cities, assigning each a clear Risk Level. In addition to city-specific threats and other local knowledge, every report has a map of important locations down to street level.
Use Cases
See how our City Safety Reports can help keep your travellers safe.

People make better decisions when they have the full picture

Advisories are detailed assessments of ongoing security situations and travel issues. We publish reports for high-risk geographic areas, political and security crises, persisting travel disruptions and major upcoming events, such as elections and international sporting competitions.
Let our experts show you how Riskline can keep you informed.

Everything your travellers need to know before they travel

Riskline’s TravelPrep provides important safety information directly to travellers, empowering them to travel safer and smarter.
Let our experts show you how Riskline can keep you informed.

Get prepared before you travel

Riskline Pre-Travel Advisories (PTAs) are exactly what a traveller needs to know about their destination before they leave home. Each report is a concise summary of the security and travel safety situation for any destination, and can be sent straight to travellers’ emails.

Let our experts show you how Riskline can keep you informed.

The right guidance for specific needs

Not all travellers are the same. Riskline’s Specific Traveller Advice includes country-specific information tailored for LGBTQ+ travellers, female travellers and tech-dependent travellers.

Riskline Informer
Keep informed of key developments around the world.

Covid-19 travel advice at your fingertips

Don’t let COVID-19 confusion get in the way of your customers’ decisions. Give them a tool at their fingertips that lets them see the implications of Covid on their travel plans and how best to prepare for their trip. TravelCheck displays up to date risk and infection scores, at-a-glance information on their destination and need-to-know information on departure, in-flight and arrival.

It’s easy to customise your widget with your own brand colour and poster image, to seamlessly integrate it into your website.

Our simple Javascript installation will get you up and running in no time. A few lines of code is all it takes to install the widget, with 2 display modes available – inline for embedding into a single page, or modal for a floating, site-wide travel assistant.

Interested in trying our TravelCheck widget? Get in touch.

Keep Informed

Get the latest Riskline Informer news delivered to your inbox.

Cookies

We use cookies to improve our services.
Find out more