A convoy of anti-mandate protestors is making its way from across Canada to Victoria this week, and one organizer says they plan to stay for quite some time.
“We’re going to be occupying that area for two to three months,” said James Bauder, in a video posted last Thursday from Mattawa, a small town in Ontario.
Bauder, one of the founders of the anti-mandate group Canada Unity, says a parade of anywhere from 500 to 1,000 vehicles will begin flooding the Capital Region starting next Monday, March 14th.
Seven semi-trucks are also en route, packed with supplies for protestors, including 16,000 hamburgers, Bauder says.
“This is a very intense, deeply rooted NDP-Liberal stronghold down there,” he said.
“And they’ve had their way for too long; it’s time that we get down there and show them what the laws are.”
Coming from the east, the group was set to depart Thunder Bay, Ontario this past Monday and roll through cities like Winnipeg, Calgary and Kamloops, with a final stop in Victoria, according to Bauder.
The convoy organizer says “enough is enough” and finds Canadians have been left segregated, discriminated against and forced into mandates and face masks.
And while some provinces have scrapped mask mandates and vaccine cards, the same can’t be said for BC—but provincial health officials did suggest the possibility of removing some protocols before spring break.
BC’s latest COVID-19 update noted 93.7% of all adults living in the province were vaccinated with one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, while 91.3% were vaccinated with two doses.
“I know there are people out there that have been persecuting us and saying that we should just disappear and go away,” Bauder said. “We’re not going anywhere.”
According to Bauder, protestors will participate in multiple “family-friendly” events daily, which he says are 100% legal and will include “a lot of special guest speakers” and “multiple rolling convoys.”
“So get ready, okay, BC? We’ve heard your pleas. We really have. We’re here for you; we’re not going to leave you alone,” he added.
“We’re coming to defend your lawful freedom of choice.”
VicPD braces for more protests
The expected incoming convoy comes following weeks of anti-mandate protests outside of BC’s Legislature, which began in solidarity with demonstrations in Ottawa.
In a statement issued today, VicPD said it was “aware of concerns about potential upcoming protests” in the next few weeks.
“Officers at VicPD, including our VicPD Traffic section, and officers with the Greater Victoria Integrated Public Safety Unit have been responding to protests in this area over the past seven weeks,” said the statement.
In anticipation of anti-mandate protests, VicPD deploys CCTV cameras for public safety to ensure “people’s rights to protest safely, peacefully and lawfully are upheld.”
The Saturday, February 26th protest saw Victoria police officers issue 10 violation tickets for excessive noise and obstructing traffic, plus over 50 warnings for various infractions.
“Dangerous or unlawful acts will be met with de-escalation and enforcement, including Criminal Code, Motor Vehicle Act and Municipal Bylaw investigations,” VicPD said.
The City of Victoria also condemns those who unlawfully honk their horns or use airhorns, passing a motion that speeds up the ticketing process and allows police to issue violators a $125 fine, reduced to $75 if paid within 30 days.