The Ottawa Trucker Protest Story Now Has A Hotel Angle

Ottawa is under siege from a protest by anti-vaccine mandate truckers. These are mostly non-violent protests, but also shutting down the city. Most of Canada is vaccinated. There’s little incremental benefit to requiring this of truckers, who spend most of their work time alone. And truckers tend to do this by choice. Take people choosing to work solo, and try to make them do something, this is the group most likely to rebel not just most reasonable in feeling justified at rebelling.

Their trucks are choking off streets in the capital and protesters started digging in for the long haul. If you believe in (mostly) peaceful protest, rather than just protests for causes you believe in, it’s hard to have sympathy for the government. But we’re already hearing talk about bringing in the military. Ottawa has lost control. Their leadership doesn’t really know what to do. The chances that this turns violent are increasing.

The protests in Ottawa have the world’s attention. They’ve become a rallying cry for the Right around the world. And that creates huge stakes for the Trudeau government. GoFundMe has cancelled a $10 million raise for the truckers.

But proving that every story has a travel angle it seems hotels are cancelling reservations in Ottawa. (HT: @crucker)

Canadian authorities will regain control, the question is what happens in the meantime and what narrative comes out of this.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. The Socialistic regime of Trudeau is finally being confronted by Canadian citizens. Next they should vote Trudeau OUT and return Canada to the once great country is was. If, after this, you are too ignorant to vote again for Trudeau, then you must accept responsibility for the demise of freedom in Canada. The choice is yours – Freedom -or- Tyranny.

  2. It’s beautiful to see the governing body suffer such an inconvenience as noise and gridlock like this. They’ve made it impossible for people to travel by air or rail unless vaccinated. Now it’s impossible for them to go anywhere unless they walk and use earplugs. Hoooooooonk!

  3. Is there any evidence that the government booked hotel rooms and is keeping them empty? If so, the purpose would seem to be to keep reporters and tourists out, rather than truckers who can sleep for free in their cabs. Riot tourism was part of the picture when 2020 demonstrations turned violent in the USA.

  4. Gary – this is not an anti vaccine protest!! It is anti mandates. There is a big difference. In fact many of the truckers are vaccinated. But they do not want Canada to force US truckers to have to be vaccinated to cross the boarder into Canada.

    Get your facts straight man. You are losing it often when it comes to this subject.

  5. honk honk!!! Calling this violent after the 2020 protests just goes to show you how ridiculous they are.

  6. Again, seriously, you should really get yourself a political opinion blog. It’ll surely save you the hassle of feeling the need to make some sort of a travel-related connection, however tangential and dumb to justify these incessant political posts. lol

  7. Oh no! Those poor hotel property owners. They are being denied the ability to deny tier benefits to loyalty program members. Won’t somebody help them?

  8. Interesting point Todd. It seems most (if not all) countries around the world have restrictions on people entering their borders. I wonder why the truckers picked this issue…..

  9. If what @Todd is saying is true, that Canada is requiring vaccination of US truckers and vice versa… man, that’s just immigration policy, and exactly the kind of thing that conservatives in the US have been complaining is NOT enforced along the southern US border.

    If correct, these folks are on the wrong side of history. The US requires vaccines of foreign travelers all the time because it’s in the public interest, and I don’t see any reason Canada, or COVID, would be any different.

  10. These Canadian truckers are at the forefront of a significant backlash against mandates throughout western democracies. Truckers just like medical professionals and law-enforcement have been at the forefront throughout the pandemic and have made sure that the rest of us have had what we need and it is a slap in their face to now tell them that they cannot do their job when they managed to do it for over a year without the benefit of a vaccine . I suspect Trudeau is justifiably nervous and when you start doing some of the things that are happening now it only emboldens those people who will push back. The implications for other parts of the travel and healthcare and logistics industries are very significant.

  11. On January 12th Canada (Trudeau) reversed a decision (due to pressure) and will allow unvaccinated Canadian truckers to cross in from the United States, reversing a decision requiring all Canadian truckers to be inoculated against the coronavirus.

    However, truckers from the United States will still need to be vaccinated or they will be turned back at the border from Jan. 15, a CBSA spokesperson said.

    This is what the protest is about. To drop the mandates that US truckers entering Canada must be vaccinated. Many of them are vaccinated but I don’t know the ratio. It is NOT an anti-vax protest.

  12. “Reservations” are unnecessary contrivances by Big Hospitality; people should go without accommodations as is man’s natural state like God intended. Were you born with a hotel around you? Didn’t think so. Stop living your life in fear of being accommodationless.

  13. I am following this very closely and MSM has done a very poor job overall and has attempted to cast the protest as a variety of things that it is not. It is clearly born out of government policies that have attempted to control the individual within the context of a free society. These mandates have been far more onerous in Canada although some cities and states like NY have been equally onerous. What is clear to many is that the mandates are harmful because they set a precedent so many who have taken the medical treatment du jour are joining with those who haven’t.

    The fight has brought out the worst in many as government and organizations like GoFundMe have demonstrated with their authoritarian approach which only goes to show that the protest has meaning. If government sat down to negotiate, the outcome would be far different so long as they were legitimate discussions. Instead, pretending the problem didn’t exist, was a fringe, wasn’t legitimate etc. all has fueled its strength. This only proves the intent of the government and those that support authoritarian government. The eyes of many are being opened wide to the truth that many of our pundits, politicians and even some citizens are in fact not supporters of freedom. I am hopeful that all people that value their freedom recognize what it is at stake and take steps to hold those at fault accountable.

  14. @DavidMiller, Canada recently had an election and The Liberal government ran on vaccinations and mandates and guess what? They won! The people have spoken!

    Now if Dump Truck Trump, Ron DeSantis and Ted Cruz would keep OUT of Canadian politics.

  15. This is some serious clickbait. I’d like to see the return of higher standards from you Gary.

  16. Man those disgusting Trudeau liberals, making truck drivers follow the same rules that everyone else in the world has to follow (vaccination to cross international borders). So unfair.
    What are the 10% of unvaccinated truckers to do if they can’t cross the US border? Maybe they could just drive domestically in Canada where more than 80% of the truck transport happens?

    Oh, and I will add my voice to those that think this post was beneath your standards. Really not sure that a tiktok posting is a reliable source.

  17. iv
    the notion that 51% of any democratic society can overturn the rights of the other 49% (regardless of the percentages) is fatally flawed and it is precisely because of that failed logic that Canada is seeing the massive protests that it is seeing – and those types of protests will spread throughout the western democratic world.
    After watching what has happened in Australia and other countries, enough people decided it was time to act.
    Democracy has never been obtained by the majority.

    Whether you or I agree w/ the specific issues at hand, covid management has and will produce a democratic movement that will be just as significant and likely more so than the racially driven protests of 2020.

  18. @Tim Dunn, I have no problem with vaccine mandates. The majority honestly wouldn’t care about trying to “overturn your rights” except for the simple fact that unvaccinated people are the large percentage of the hospitalizations, using healthcare resources and perpetuating the pandemic, breeding additional dangerous variants. I’m sick and tired of selfish anti-vaxxers.

    Want to not be vaccinated? That’s clearly a personal health choice. But then stay at home, don’t see other people, get a job in a call center. I find it super ironic that someone who is clearly expresses an opinion that is anti-democratic (I have the right to do something that endangers the majority) somehow believes that there’s going to be a democratic movement to get his way. Nope- instead it’ll be a small minority of crazies, taking over a town hall/governor mansion/White House, oppressing the majority of us who just want this thing to be over.

  19. I wish I were in Ottawa to support the protestors. Enough of getting jerked around by the government. But, like most, I’m too chicken to rebel.

  20. Vaxx mandates are fine and have been in place for generations at this point. All you anti vaxx and anti mandate people in these comments need to grow up and pitch in to keep your immunosuppressed neighbors safe and help reduce the strain on hospitals and healthcare workers.

    Everyone else is tired of hearing all of the crying over your paranoid lack of empathy and concern for the wellbeing of others.

  21. The “siege” is being done by the leftist government in Canada that criminalizes freedom and enslaves those who support freedom. Using that word to describe people protesting for freedom, medical freedom, economic freedom, freedom of association, religious freedom, and free speech is biased, uncalled for, and not befitting of a respectable publication.

  22. So let me get this straight. Canadian truckers who have to be vaccinated to enter the usa don’t want to vaccinate to enter Canada. Sheesh.

  23. Other than oil, seriously what does canada have or do that contributes anything to the advancement of the world?

  24. @Jerry. Curling? Oh, and Aeroplan. I love Aeroplan. Wait, Four Seasons. Oh, and Rush was a really great band. Poutine? Kindness. Politeness.

  25. The government needs to confiscate their trucks, and not just until they pay a fine. Keep them. Auction them off. Take away the truckers license.

  26. @Andy- You are a genius! Why didn’t anyone else think of that? Oh wait, most logical people seem to realize we need truckers for things like food, fuel, and other necessities. When the Government confiscates private property and the ability to make a living, do you really think any truckers will continue to drive? How many weeks until every store is empty and there is zero heating or fuel for vehicles?

    Brilliant strategy!

  27. Hey Gary, what’s the difference between a mostly non-violent protest and a mostly peaceful one?

  28. Surprising that Gary and no commenters actually know the issue here. Considering that 90+% of truckers are already vaccinated, it is a small politically vocal group who are doing all the protesting. The vaccine mandate for truckers is both American and Canadian. For 21 months truckers were exempt from all the rules while crossing the US-Canadian border. Truckers (mostly independent, because trucking companies have already mandated vaccinations) are now protesting because the rules that they knew about months before, have been implemented.

    Closing down the streets of Ottawa and the Ambassador is not a protest. This action blocks medical emergency vehicles, hospital workers commuting and government workers from providing services. It also blocks the thousands of trucks whose drivers are vaccinated from doing their jobs.

    Personally I do not support this protest because they lost their cause when they shut streets and highways. The supposedly overwhelming support is from right wing fanatics who only care about themselves!

    Again Gary, your blog is far too political.

  29. @JohnB: I have read that some of the people protesting mandates or other government policy were vaccinated. One can be both vaccinated and opposed to mandated vaccination. That might even be a plurality opinion now that such a high percentage of the public is vaccinated. If you think it’s as simple as pro-mandate or anti-vaccine you need to expand your news sources or drop them entirely.

    I agree it’s not clear that civil disobedience that obstructs everyone’s movement is a winning tactic. You get attention, but not necessarily the kind of attention you want.

  30. The problem with a land border running between Canada and the United States is that it is dividing what is in essence one single society. Economies on both sides of the border are designed around cross-border trade. It’s easy to make jokes about strip clubs with smoking in Ontario, and trashy outlet malls in New York, but it really goes a lot deeper.

    Two nations (in the cultural sense) don’t really exist, and the primary purpose the border serves is to assess the immigration status of third party nationals, not US/CAN citizens. The passport card was implemented for this very reason. I’m as liberal as they come, but imposing any sort of freedom of movement restrictions at this land border provides no societal benefit other than talking points for politicians. If the truckers true intent is for US carriers to be treated the same as Canadian carriers, I don’t know how you can’t support them. Unfortunately the people on the fringe attaching themselves to this protest won’t help in the, ahem, long-haul.

  31. What?…those anti science evil fascist right wing extremists anti vaxxer trump loving racists misogynists fringe group are keeping the hard working bureaucrats in Ottawa awake at night? Those hard working individuals who never lost a day of pay while the evil little people of Canada suffered? How dare those truckers talk to the elite that way. HOW DARE THEY! They better get back to work delivering to my supermarket or there will be hell to pay.
    PS Muh science!

  32. Any correction to this now that the Ottawa government, the Ottawa hotel association, and the Marriott in question have all denied that it ever happened? And even the conservative columnist who first spread the claim is saying that she made “no claim” that it was true and was just trying to say that other journalists should look into it?

    At the very least a correction would let you get another clickbaity post writing about the truckers.

  33. Americans don’t know much about Canada so let me point out two facts. The death rate from Covid 19 in Canada is 1/3 the rate of the U.S.A.
    The rolling seven day average of new Covid cases in Canadian provinces has for some time now been well below that of American states.
    Canadian policies, including mandates, have saved lives.
    So Jerry (February 7, 9.37pm), that’s what Canada has given to the U.S., if not the world.
    And Jerry, (February 8, 2.40pm) there is a big difference between Canada and the U.S. Have you seen any guns at the occupation in Ottawa.

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