Canadian state news again suggests Russian forces behind trucker Freedom Convoy

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Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) New Brunswick host Harry Forestell and guest, cybersecurity expert David Shipley suggested Friday that the truckers protesting vaccine mandates in Canada were being “directed and manipulated by foreign agents.”

“Who would have reason right now to cause as much chaos in Canada as possible? Well, top of that list is Russia. We are actively engaged in a geopolitical battle about the future of the Ukraine,” Shipley said. 

Trucker's Convoy -- Ottawa, Canada

Trucker’s Convoy — Ottawa, Canada
(Trucker’s Convoy — Ottawa, Canada)

Shipley said that the tactics and the creation of the large Facebook groups to “foster communication among hundreds of thousands of people” was the “Russian internet research agency playbook” in the clip flagged by media watchdog NewsBusters.

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The CBC guest noted a report alleging that a woman from Missouri, who name is reportedly listed as the creator of multiple Facebook groups associated with the trucker protests, had her identity stolen. The woman said her page was hacked and that she was not associated with the Canadian protests, according to the outlet. 

Drivers work to move a gravel truck after a breakthrough resolved the impasse where anti-COVID-19 vaccine mandate demonstrators blocked the highway at the busy U.S. border crossing in Coutts, Alberta, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022. (Jeff McIntosh /The Canadian Press via AP)

Drivers work to move a gravel truck after a breakthrough resolved the impasse where anti-COVID-19 vaccine mandate demonstrators blocked the highway at the busy U.S. border crossing in Coutts, Alberta, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022. (Jeff McIntosh /The Canadian Press via AP)
(Jeff McIntosh /The Canadian Press)

“When I narrow down my list of suspects, and I don’t have enough evidence to win in a court of law, but I don’t need that right now. This smacks of the kind of moves that Russia has made in the past to the United States and continues to do around the world,” Shipley said. 

The reason for the “mess,” according to the cybersecurity expert, was because the country didn’t take the “threat of social media disinformation seriously.”

Another CBC host, Nil Köksal, previously suggested Russian actors were behind the protests. 

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“Given Canada’s support of Ukraine in this current crisis with Russia, I don’t know if it is far-fetched to ask, but there is concern that Russian actors could be continuing to fuel things as this protest grows, perhaps even instigating it from the outside?” Köksal asked Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino during a January segment of CBC’s “Power & Politics.”

Medicino said he would defer to Canadian public safety and officials. 

Police line up in preparation to enforce an injunction against a demonstration which has blocked traffic across the Ambassador Bridge by protesters against COVID-19 restrictions, in Windsor, Ont., Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022. Canadian police have moved in to remove protesters who have disrupted Canada-US trade at the major bridge border crossing.  (Nathan Denette /The Canadian Press via AP)

Police line up in preparation to enforce an injunction against a demonstration which has blocked traffic across the Ambassador Bridge by protesters against COVID-19 restrictions, in Windsor, Ont., Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022. Canadian police have moved in to remove protesters who have disrupted Canada-US trade at the major bridge border crossing.  (Nathan Denette /The Canadian Press via AP)
(Nathan Denette /The Canadian Press via AP)

Canada’s Ambassador Bridge, which connects Detroit, Michigan in the U.S. with Windsor, Ontario in Canada was blocked by protesters over the weekend. Between 25 and 30 people were arrested on Sunday. The bridge has since reopened. 

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Some of the more negative coverage of the protests has called the Freedom Convoy a “cult” and a “threat to democracy.” The Ottawa Police Chief used the words “nationwide insurrection” to describe the protests, which was echoed by many in the media. Many headlines have also focused on “swastikas and public urination” and protesters carrying swastika and Confederate flags and defacing statues.

One independent journalist was praised last week for speaking with more than 100 truckers to get a sense of what they really wanted, revealing many were vaccinated and had wider concerns about freedom and their treatment by the government, Big Tech, and the media..

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