Photo Credit: JIMMYSUPERSTARZ /Wikimedia Commons

Will Anti-Vaccine Protests By Truckers in Canada Gain Traction Around the World?

For about two weeks now, truck driving protesters have snarled traffic and otherwise disrupted daily life in downtown Ottawa, ostensibly to protest covid related restrictions and vaccine mandates.

These protests have spread elsewhere in Canada and for a time, forced the closure of the busiest border crossing between the United States and Canada.  Meanwhile, right-wing media in the United States are now cheering on these protests.

Joining me to explain what exactly is happening in Canada and what is driving these protests is journalist Justin Ling. We kick off discussing the scene in downtown Ottawa before having a broader conversation about what exactly is motivating these protests and its potential political impact  — both in Canada and the United States.

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Transcript lightly edited for clarity 

What is the Current State of the Anti-Vaccine Truck Convoy Protest in Ottawa?

Justin Ling [00:03:40] So I spent some time in the occupied zone is, I guess we’re calling it now, last weekend, sort of wandering around. Since then, I’ve been kind of watching from afar, largely digesting what’s going on via live streams and uploads from a whole bunch of the folks who are actually in and among this thicket of trucks that’s parked right in front of parliament. But it’s a really wild scene, right? You know, it’s not like we haven’t had occupations like this before. I mean, think back to Occupy Wall Street. People have taken over huge swaths of our downtown core of our major cities several times over the last couple of decades to protest whatever. This kind of goes without saying, but what’s so different about this one is the fact that they have all of this physical infrastructure they’ve brought with them, right? There is somewhere in the ballpark of 200 trucks still parked in downtown Ottawa. When they first showed up, it was probably north of 500 or 600, maybe more. Some of them are just a rig, some of them are a rig with a trailer behind them. They brought in flatbed trucks to serve as the stage. They’ve created a little neighborhood sitting right in front of the Parliament buildings, right in downtown Ottawa on Wellington Street, if anyone’s familiar. And they basically shut down all traffic, all movement in that core. They’ve started erecting some actual structures, they’ve built a kitchen, they bought a bunch of saunas and trucked them in to serve as little, you know, residences, offices, whatever. They’ve set up fires in some locations, they’ve set up big grills. At night, they have a whole stage for speeches during the day that converts into a DJ booth at night, where this sort of central area turns into a big dance party. Throughout the day, you’ll be wandering around, there will be people having prayer meetings, there will be information sessions. I stumbled upon a little circle that oscillated between a dance party and proselytizing the benefits of Ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19. And that’s what’s so bizarre about this: it has this sort of party atmosphere, it has this sort of jovial nature, but then you start looking around and listening and you start realizing there’s all of these real conspiracy tinges to everything. People are carrying signs that say, “vaccines equals genocide.” I saw one huge sign that showed a very creepy looking, demonic style, very anti-Semitic caricature of George Soros pulling Justin Trudeau’s strings and there was some scrawling about Pfizer knowing the vaccine is dangerous. You can hear people on stage yelling that these vaccines are medical experiments. So, there’s this real cognitive disconnect between the sort of happy vibe you’re wandering through and the deeply paranoid ideology that runs straight through the protest. And it’s just remarkable the degree to which they’ve dug in, right? Police are completely unable of dismantling this, of pushing them away. You know, every effort they’ve made to try and reclaim some of these streets hasn’t gone over very well.

How is the truck convoy disrupting life in Ottawa at the moment?

Mark Leon Goldberg [00:06:56] Can I ask you on that, I’ve been to Ottawa, it’s not like a big city by any stretch, and you’re talking about like a couple of hundred trucks. That has to be incredibly disruptive beyond the area just around parliament, right?

Justin Ling [00:07:09] Oh, absolutely. I mean, you really can’t move around the downtown core effectively as these trucks are blocking Wellington Street. So, if anyone’s familiar, I’ll give you a little bit of the geography. Wellington Street is this big four lane street that runs right in front of parliament and for about seven or eight blocks, maybe a bit longer, it’s totally backed up with trucks, you know, rigs, a couple of campers, some SUVs and whatnot—completely impassable. This is normally a huge bus route, a huge route for people commuting to work in normal times, totally impassable right now. In some of the north-south streets below it that are kind of your main arteries in the downtown core, you have people who have parked in the middle of the street blocking them. In some cases, you just have trucks doing loops of these streets, just previously laying on their horns and just ensnaring traffic. It is incredibly difficult to drive anywhere downtown right now—walking through it is a nightmare. It is basically shutting down Ottawa. You’re right, it’s not a big city. It’s not a big downtown core. This has functionally made it impossible to get through the main center of it.

Why are people protesting vaccine mandates in Ottawa with a truck convoy?

Mark Leon Goldberg [00:08:19] So can you take us back a little bit? Can you explain and describe how and why this protest started?

Justin Ling [00:08:27] Yeah. So, it was the brainchild of this guy who I don’t think anyone would have ever heard of prior to this convoy and frankly, many still haven’t heard of: a guy named James Bauder. He is a conspiracy theorist, to say the least. He has repeatedly expressed support for QAnon, he has suggested that COVID-19 was a plandemic, he suggested that Bill Gates and the World Economic Forum and basically just your normal roster of conspiracy theory bogeymen that they all got together to orchestrate the pandemic in order to juice profits for the pharmaceutical sector and enslave people into a one world government—bog standard stuff for a lot of people who’ve spent way too much time reading conspiracy theory outlets. So last year he started a group, or he really activated his group called Canada Unity, and Canada Unity exists on this really kind of ludicrous premise that they can use a bunch of international conventions and international treaties to force the Canadian government to stop enforcing vaccine mandates, to stop enforcing vaccine requirements, and to maybe get rid of many other public health measures that have been brought in thanks to COVID-19. It is absolutely ludicrous. The way he wants to do this is through a memorandum of understanding (MOU). This MOU is between—the way it’s written— it’s between him and his group and his wife, weirdly, the Senate of Canada, and the governor general. The Senate of Canada is unelected, it is an upper body, it’s an upper chamber, it’s kind of like the House of Lords in the UK. It doesn’t really have a particularly serious role to play in governing the country—I’m sure the democratic nerds will get mad at me for saying that. And the governor general is an appointed body that is really a rubber stamp on legislation. Neither of these bodies are democratic, but James Bauder envisioned his group working with the Senate and the governor general to abolish these vaccine mandates and in one way, shape, or form govern the country and maybe dissolve parliament and remove Justin Trudeau from power in the process. Obviously, this is all ludicrous but last year, he started a convoy to Ottawa to deliver these MOUs to the Senate, which he hoped would sign the document and agree to govern the country with him, I guess. It didn’t go very well, maybe a couple dozen people joined him on this. He left the city in October, and he started planning his second one. And it just so happened that as he was planning his second convoy, the news breaks that the Trudeau government is going to start enforcing vaccine mandates for truckers crossing the US-Canada border and Joe Biden’s going to do the same. Suddenly, this issue is front page news, and all of these groups are scrambling to sign on to James Bauder’s ridiculous plan to drive a bunch of trucks to Ottawa. Suddenly, you know, what started as a few dozen people explodes into thousands and thousands more than 10,000 protesters joining this convoy. And they’re still organized around this crazy document that says that James Bauder and his group should decide government policy. This is how everything started.

What is the debate around requiring vaccines for truckers crossing the US-Canada border?

Mark Leon Goldberg [00:11:38] And the ostensible reason, as you said, was this idea that, you know, truckers crossing the border on both sides of both nationalities need to be vaccinated. And this is something that is decided in coordination between the governments of the United States and Canada. Canada and the US are each other’s largest trading partners at least Canada is the US’s largest trading partner, so they do try to coordinate these kinds of cross-border policies to the best extent possible, right?

Justin Ling [00:12:10] Exactly. And it’s important to note that there is a very robust debate about the wisdom of these mandates. The Canadian Trucking Alliance, for example, opposes them or at least opposed to them in the past, they’re the Conservative Party. The official opposition in Canada’s House of Commons opposes these mandates. There has been a debate about the wisdom of forcing unvaccinated truckers off the job. There are concerns that it would exacerbate supply chain shortages, there’s concerns that it would put people needlessly out of work, that truckers really are not a main source of transmission for COVID-19, anyway, it doesn’t make much sense to push this mandate on them. There’s a bunch of reasonable discussions to be had here. The problem is the criticism of these mandates has largely fallen to this group, to this convoy, they have become the voice and sort of the outgrowth of this opposition, which is really inaccurate. I actually saw the front page of the New York Times today has a big photo of downtown Ottawa, and it describes the convoy as being against the trucker mandate but it’s not, it’s factually inaccurate to say that. The trucker mandates became the news peg, you know, the nice PR hook for this group, but they’re fundamentally against every single vaccine requirement across the board. Why is that? Because by and large, these groups are anti-vaccine. They think vaccines are dangerous, they think vaccines are causing harm and killing people in scores, and the data is being covered up. So, at its core, this is not about the trucker’s right—the truckers have become a symbol of what is a broader opposition to these vaccine mandates. A ton of people who turned out in Ottawa and who are still there are not truckers, a ton of those who are truckers do not do the cross-border routes and those who are actual truckers who will be impacted by this mandate—some of them are vaccinated, by the way—but many of them who will lose their jobs represent a relatively small number of truckers in the overall scheme of things.

How has vaccine disinformation catalyzed political protests like the Ottawa truck convoy?

Mark Leon Goldberg [00:14:11] So I know you’ve spent time among these protesters, have spoken to the protesters, what are you hearing directly from them? Like, what are you learning about their motivations? And are there any kind of anecdotes or stories you could share that are illustrative to that end?

Justin Ling [00:14:30] Yeah. I mean, so first off, this crowd is not super enthusiastic about journalists. The number of signs and sweaters and hats I saw that said, “the media is the virus,” there’s a ton. So, I admittedly didn’t spend a ton of my time going into the crowd by myself and trying to provoke conversations, but I’ve spoken to some of them, but I followed some of their live streams and some of their Facebook posts and so on and so forth. But there’s this really illustrating moment, I think the organizers are one thing, I think there’s definitely an element in this crowd that is disconcerting, worrying, that may respond with violence if the police move in, I can’t discount that. But I think a ton of the people in this crowd are regular folks who have fallen down the rabbit hole of disinformation, right? They are people who with wives and kids, or husbands and kids who are perfectly pleasant I don’t think have ever, you know, engaged in violence, would never engage with political violence, probably are not terribly political to begin with, but who happen to believe that vaccines are dangerous and that there is an international conspiracy to cover up the harms, right? And this is the end result of having a proliferation of a media ecosystem that loves to peddle nonsense for revenue, right? So, I actually had a couple of pleasant conversations with some folks, I try not to get into it too much with them, but there was this one guy I shared an elevator with who, you know, we’re making small talk about the weather, which is what you do in Ottawa because it’s constantly freezing. And you know, he said, “things could be worse, things could be worse.” Yeah, I said, you know, “they could be worse, could be better.” I walked into the elevator and the last thing he said to me is, “it’ll be a lot better when we finally get that fucker.” And it’s just this jarring thing where you’re like, well, these people are very pleasant and polite and are protesting peacefully but also, they genuinely believe that the prime minister should be arrested or removed from power. Now I actually just got off the phone with one of the protesters who’s in the occupation zone, again lovely guy, has a wife and two beautiful kids, has repeatedly said he has no interest in violence, he’s only here to protest peacefully. I think at one point he called it the most peaceful protest of all time, which is a little bit hyperbolic. Gandhi would be offended, I think, but nevertheless, I was chatting with him, and he made it very clear, he’s against these mandates because he doesn’t think these vaccines are safe. He wants to bring the prime minister to the table and force the government to negotiate because he doesn’t think vaccines are part of the solution to getting out of this pandemic and thinks that society is being torn apart by these requirements. There was a press conference yesterday with one of the organizers who again questioned the efficacy and safety of vaccines, but also said point blank, “we expect to be brought to the table, and if the prime minister doesn’t want to meet with us, we’ll meet with all the opposition parties and we’ll form a coalition with them or maybe I’ll go meet the governor general, if the governor general wants to meet with us to get rid of these vaccine mandates, we’ll do that instead.” So, there’s a really anti-democratic, anti-government, paranoid spread going through this and it’s not just the organizers, it’s going through a lot of the protesters as well. It’s going through a lot of the media that are covering this, and it really should worry us. I think it is a sign of things to come.

How has local and federal government reacted to the truck convoy in Ottawa? Is there an end in sight?

Mark Leon Goldberg [00:17:47] What has been the government response so far? I know on Sunday, the mayor of Ottawa declared a state of emergency, the last I’ve seen is that the Trudeau government is trying to call up some Royal Canadian Mounted Police to support local police. What has in general been the response so far by the government?

Justin Ling [00:18:10] Yeah. So, on the local level, the mayor has done his best, I think, to manage the fallout from all of this. He recently declared a state of emergency in the city, he’s tried to work with police to boost their numbers to manage some of the enforcement of this, to try and liaise with some of these truckers but his hands are tied. There’s not a significant police force, it’s not that big. They don’t have the capacity really to handle this, especially not when you factor in the number of trucks and the amount of infrastructure here. Above that, the premier, Doug Ford, has denounced the protesters, has, I think, recently floated the idea that maybe they should start revoking the registration for some of these trucks, which is going to be a big escalation. And then, you know, really the prime minister has, I think, kind of challenged these folks. At one point last week, he called them tinfoil hat wearing anti-vaccine types, which I think didn’t particularly help. But at all levels of government, they just don’t really have a solution for this, right? You know, they can ask police to go send more tickets, you know, the prime minister and the premier are sending more police personnel to help, they’re trying to sort of supplement these numbers, they’re trying to figure out a solution but really, half of these protestors are saying we won’t leave until the vaccine mandates are gone, the other half are saying we won’t leave until the vaccine mandates and the prime minister is gone and those two things just aren’t going to happen. Those demands are not going to be acquiesced to and if they’re saying they’re going to leave until those demands are met, we’re at an impasse and there’s really no solution that any of these politicians can offer.

Does the general Canadian public support the anti-vaccine truck convoy in Ottawa?

Mark Leon Goldberg [00:20:03] And is it fair to say that this group does not have much popular support? I mean, obviously there’s enthusiastic support among like the fringe anti-vax movement but broadly speaking, throughout Canada, has there been any sort of polling or is there a general sense of the extent to which the general public is supporting these protests?

Justin Ling [00:20:25] Yeah, we have a little bit of data. I think we have to approach it with a bit of skepticism. So, I think there’s been three, there might be a new poll today, but I think it’s been roughly three polls done. I think the useful one is polling Ottawa residents and overwhelmingly they are, I think 80 percent say they’re strongly opposed or at least somewhat opposed to this occupation. And unsurprisingly, so for people who live in the downtown core, things are intolerable. There was honking incessantly for about a week, there have been confrontations and harassment happening by folks in Ottawa from the protesters just because they’re wearing a mask. Business owners and employees have been harassed and harangued by these protesters, who are adamant about not wearing masks indoors—we have an indoor mask mandate in Ontario. So, for people who live in Ottawa, this has just been horrible. I think there was probably a rump of people who are supportive but by and large, Ottawa, which is one of the most vaccinated cities in Canada, which is one of the most vaccinated countries in the world, is not super receptive to this crowd. Nationally, we have a couple of polls that are really frankly kind of difficult to parse because the language of the questions are so sort of vague and some of the polling was done kind of very early on before this really hit national and international news but they generally show that about 2/3rds of the country disagree with the protesters and the protest itself. There is maybe a third of the country who identify with the protesters who sympathize with them, but it also looks like that number is declining the more coverage that gets. And then there are people who are probably vaccinated who don’t support the vaccine mandate, who thought the original protest for that one weekend in January was a reasonable response. I imagine a lot of those people are not going to feel the same way as we go into week two, as some of the reports are coming out of just how kind of ludicrous these demands are and how some of the protesters are leaning more towards, I don’t want to say violence because I don’t think violence is the right term, but I think the conflict and the confrontation between the city and the protesters is getting more intense and I imagine as it does, that’s probably going to turn people off who kind of generally or amorphously support the protests, at least in its origin.

How might the anti-vaccine truck convoy in Ottawa affect the wider politics of Canada?

Mark Leon Goldberg [00:22:42] Well, you know, following on that thread, could you foresee, or what do you expect, the impact of this protest movement to be on the politics of Canada more generally? You said earlier that the Conservative Party is generally also opposed to vaccine mandates. I know there has recently been a change of leadership, a sort of upheaval in the Conservative Party in Canada but you’ve also had figures like Doug Ford, the conservative premier of Ontario, criticizing this protest movement. How do you foresee this movement impacting both the politics of the Conservative Party and national politics more broadly?

Justin Ling [00:23:23] This is something really interesting going on, and it’s the fact that some of the most stringent and difficult COVID-19 measures in the country have been brought in by conservative politicians, including a ton of the really difficult vaccine mandates. The conservative premier of Quebec has required vaccines for all major stores, and the liquor store, and the cannabis shops. So, you can’t go buy booze or a joint in Quebec, at least not in person, unless you show your proof of vaccine, and it looks like there’s going to be a requirement that you’re going to have to start showing proof of a booster dose as well. So, the conservative movement broadly is split based on what level of government you’re talking about. When you get to the Conservative Party federally there’s a tremendous split in the middle that represents a whole bunch of weird dynamics inside that party. There is an element of that party that is definitely more conservative, and there’s an element that I think aligns, at least to some degree, with the anti-vaccine cause, there is certainly one MP who I saw wandering around the downtown core, listening to some of the speakers who has, I think, played a little footsie with folks who are distrustful of these vaccines. So, I think there is a little bit of a constituency inside that party who look at these protesters and agree with them. There’s a ton of people in the Conservative Party, maybe even a majority, who just don’t ideologically agree with these vaccine mandates, at least not for certain industries but I think one of the most kind of potent drivers for the Conservative Party is the fact that they are having their heels nipped by an upstart far-right party led by one of their former leadership contenders Maxime Bernier who nearly won the leadership of the Conservative Party a few years ago. He left in sort of a cloud of, I don’t even know how to describe it, but he left and started his own nationalist, far-right anti-immigrant, conspiracy minded party, taking some cues from Donald Trump, taking some cues from Marine Le Pen, called the People’s Party. And over the last two years, the People’s Party has engaged in all manner of conspiracy theorizing and anti-vaccine misinformation. He has become a bit of a leader of the anti-vaccine movement, of the anti-lockdown movement in Canada, and he has been quite successful in that.

Mark Leon Goldberg [00:25:56] Is there like the sense then that the enthusiasm of the participants in this protest movement and those who support it kind of will coalesce politically around this far-right leader? And that far right leader will kind of chip away at, say, the more moderate conservative political support? I mean, here in the United States, with our two-party system, we’ve seen the fringe become more mainstream within the Republican Party over the last couple of years but it’s sort of interesting to note the differing political dynamics and some of the similarities between the two systems.

Justin Ling [00:26:34] You’ve seen the same thing in Canada. The Conservative Party has started, I think, trying to tilt itself to appeal to those voters who backed Maxime Bernier. And there is a feeling that those voters belong in the Conservative Party, they need to be won back and the only way the Conservative Party can ever regain power again is if they broaden the base to include that fringe element. I think people in that party will tell you this is about kind of bringing them in the fold and doing good by kind of assuming the far-right element. You saw the same theory put in place by a whole bunch of moderate Republicans who thought that bringing Donald Trump into the fold was better than having him piss outside the tent, frankly. And obviously, look how that turned out. But what’s ludicrous about this is that Maxine Bernier ran in the last federal election, which took place last September. He got 850,000 votes. That is about 6% of the total electorate. That is a pretty piss poor showing for somebody who got a ton of free media over the last couple of years. There is really no chance that Maxine Bernier is ever going to become prime minister or probably ever break through 10 % of the total population. People do not like him, they do not trust him, they think he’s a crank. So, all this vying for his supporters is really a dicey proposition that probably won’t even work that well.

How do the US and Canadian right-wing media feed off of each other to bolster the opinions of the anti-vaccine truck convoy protestors?

Mark Leon Goldberg [00:28:01] I wanted to speak to you also because of your experience and your reporting on right wing media in the United States. For those coming in late, Justin is the producer and writer of a podcast that that talks about the history of right-wing talk radio in the United States. So, you know, the right-wing media ecosystem a bit and I’ve noticed in recent days, Fox News, Tucker Carlson, has sort of endorsed and cheered on this protest in Ottawa. What sort of connection do you see between these protesters and the right-wing media ecosystems here in the United States? I mean, at least they seem to feed off of each other to a certain degree from where I sit but I’m interested to learn from you, does one inspire the other in any meaningful way?

Justin Ling [00:28:54] Oh, absolutely, there is a positive feedback loop that exists here. You know, these broadcasters put out either, half true or outright false information about the safety and efficacy of vaccines, about whether or not COVID-19 emerged from a lab in Wuhan, whether or not it’s a bioweapon, whether or not Pfizer… Like you can go to a list of all the ludicrous claims that are being weaponized. And when those claims take hold, these protesters start or these anti-vaccine agitators or these conspiracy theorists and so forth, they start living in a world of different information, right? They increasingly become beholden to these broadcasters. So if you spend a ton of time watching Tucker Carlson and Tucker Carlson tells you there is concerns about the safety of these vaccines, these pandemic measures are about control from the government, there is a plot afoot to suppress this information, and it’s really important that these broadcasters always tag it with and no one else is telling you this and the mainstream media is lying to you about this, and this shouldn’t surprise anybody, we’ve experienced this phenomenon for several years now. But what was jarring to me working on The Flamethrowers, this podcast, looking at the history of right-wing radio is how effective it is. People really take this to heart and you’re seeing it everywhere in this convoy in this protest. These people do not trust the mainstream media. They by default assume everything is a lie, but they become incredibly credulous to information outlets like Tucker Carlson, like Fox News, like Newsmax, One American News, Stu Peters, far right conspiracy broadcaster, has been a huge ally to this convoy, this protest. Rebel News, which is actually based in Canada but has a footprint throughout the UK, Australia, and the US, there’s a newspaper called Druthers that just publishes complete nonsense about the safety of vaccines: All of these outlets form a sort of media diet that confirm each other, that collaborate in some cases, that sort of validate each other and the more you live by just reading and watching these outlets, the more you develop a worldview that is just completely disconnected from reality. And that’s what leads you to do things like drive to the capital of Canada and demand the prime minister be tried for treason because the language around his treasonous behavior and the language around the things that he’s done come directly out of these news outlets. So, you know, there is absolutely a symbiotic relationship, because then after they arrive and start this seemingly grassroots movement, these outlets then play them up like they’re significantly bigger and more important and influential than they actually are and that feeds back to the protesters, and it becomes this snowball effect. You’re going to start seeing these convoy protests pop up everywhere. I think we’ve already seen thousands show up in Canberra, there were about 700 people in Helsinki, you saw dozens of people surround Keir Starmer’s car in London, the Labor leader, there’s plans to drive to Washington in the next couple of weeks, there’s a plan to converge on Brussels. So increasingly, you’re going to see far right conspiracy minded broadcasters and news outlets use this and hold this up as a proof of the momentum and the power they possess to activate people and to create these movements.

When might the anti-vaccine truck convoy protest in Ottawa end?

Mark Leon Goldberg [00:32:24] Justin, in the coming days or even weeks are there any sort of inflection points or key decisions to be made that will suggest to you, one way or another, how this situation may unfold?

Justin Ling [00:32:39] It’s going to be a big question about what the city of Ottawa does. So, the prime minister has pledged, I think, several hundred federal police officers to the city, the city is deputizing them to do law enforcement, and it looks like the province will send in more personnel as well. There are rumblings from the protesters, strangely enough, that they believe a crackdown is coming, that they believe the riot police are coming in. I don’t think that’s true, but at a certain point, the city will have to make a decision. Are they going to send police in to just issue tickets occasionally? Are they going to start really enforcing this? Are they going to start throwing away vehicles and impounding vehicles and removing vehicle registration from protesters who are illegally camped downtown? Or are they going to go for a swift and immediate removal of everybody in the downtown core? I think those are the three options ahead of us. There are real drawbacks and benefits from each of them. I think depending on how it’s done, it could lead to serious conflict, and I think the decision on which one to go with is going to have to come in the next week. I don’t know how that’s going to look. I don’t think anyone who tells you is wrong. The protesters are repeating their pledge to remain peaceful, but they’re also increasingly getting apocalyptic about what comes next and if they’re expecting conflict then we might get conflict. I don’t know how this ends otherwise. The protesters, like I’ve said, have been emphatically clear that the only way out of this is for the prime minister to remove all these vaccine mandates, which, by the way, just even how our system works, he didn’t actually have the authority to do that by […], but never mind. They wanted to remove all of these measures and like I said, many want him to resign. Those two things are not going to happen. There can’t even be a negotiation because these people fundamentally are requesting something ludicrous, because even meeting with them would be validating and encouraging for this fringe movement, which represents maybe 5% of the country. There is just such a horrible precedent that would be at play if the prime minister started seriously meeting with them as equals. It just is not going to happen and even trying to send a mediator is going to go nowhere because these people don’t have a compromising position. They have one stated objective, and if it’s not met, they’re going to stay, and they repeated that a thousand times. So, there’s no good policing solution but there’s also no good political solution. So, I think something has to come to a head by next weekend, maybe before next weekend, because it looks like a ton of people are kind of coming in and out every weekend and then going back to work through the week. I tend to think we’re going to have to see something move by Friday, but I don’t know what that’s going to be.

Mark Leon Goldberg [00:35:33] Well, Justin, thank you so much for your time.

Justin Ling [00:35:38] Yeah, thank you for having me.

Mark Leon Goldberg [00:35:41] All right. Thank you all for listening. Thank you to Justin Ling and as I mentioned earlier, we did have a lively Q&A session with the audience who was listening live. If you ever want to listen live, just follow me on Twitter @MarkLGoldberg to be alerted when I am recording one of these episodes, thanks! I do try to leave time for questions from the audience if permitted. All right, we’ll see you next time. Thank you, bye!

 

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