Several political commentators praised freelance journalist Rupa Subramanya, who talked to over 100 Canadian truckers protesting COVID-19 vaccine mandates in Ottawa, Canada, to determine “what the truckers want,” and contrasted her coverage with some of the liberal media’s villainization of the group.
B.J. Dichter, a spokesman for the Freedom Convoy, told Subramanya that he was vaccinated, and he believes that most of the truckers were as well.
“I’m Jewish,” he said. “I have family in mass graves in Europe. And apparently I’m a white supremacist.”
Dichter alluded to some more negative media coverage of the protests that 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, while the truckers have told a different story, arguing their demonstration was “peaceful.”
The protests have snarled traffic in Ottawa and shut down the busiest border crossing in North America this week, causing traffic on the highway to Detroit.
A January statement from the Canadian Trucker Alliance, which represents, “4,500 carriers, owner operators and industry suppliers,” said that “a vast majority” of Canadian truckers were vaccinated. Canada’s largest trucking company recently said that vaccination was not an issue for their employees.
“So it’s about something else. Or many things: a sense that things will never go back to normal, a sense that they are being ganged up on by the government, the media, Big Tech, Big Pharma,” Subramanya wrote.
A trucker named Ivan, who declined to provide Subramanya with a last name, reportedly emigrated to Canada from Ukraine with his wife.
“We came to Canada to be free—not slaves,” he told Subramanya. “We lived under communism, and, in Canada, we’re now fighting for our freedom.”
Some of the people Subramanya spoke to were unvaccinated, including 24-year-old Mackenzie, who also declined to share her last name. She told the independent journalist that she had previously recovered from COVID. She said she was not allowed to eat at the restaurant that she worked at as a bartender due to her vaccination status.
“If you want to know why independent journalism is thriving, this post is a perfect example of why,” Stephen L. Miller, Spectator author and podcast host, wrote on Twitter of Subramanya’s report. Author Josh Stemile also praised Subramanya’s work, highlighting how she went and talked to some of these truckers.
Former New York Times columnist Bari Weiss noted the same, contrasting Subramanya’s efforts with those of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The photography by Dan Aponte also received praise from journalists on Twitter.
Trudeau called for an end to the protests on Monday, saying, “This pandemic has sucked for all Canadians.”
Joël Lightbound, a member of Trudeau’s Liberal Party, accused the prime minister of dividing Canadians.
“Both the tone and the policies of my government changed drastically on the eve and during the last election campaign,” he said, according to Politico. “A decision was made to wedge, to divide and to stigmatize. I fear that this politicization of the pandemic risks undermining the public’s trust in our public health institutions.”