Michelle Leduc Catlin
First Day With The Truckers
I don't yet have the words.
I can't yet fully convey the experience of being here in Ottawa with the truckers.
And yet, I am compelled to share with you what happened when we arrived at the convoy basecamp late yesterday afternoon.
I haven't even been to the protest site yet, having been completely overwhelmed by the warmth, camaraderie, bravery, intelligence, and integrity of the truckers and their supporters who welcomed us.
I came with a friend to offer what I can as a writer and as a human being.
More than that, I came to support their efforts to end all unconstitutional and unscientific mandates.
I came to share the truth of their story.
I am not a journalist.
I am a witness to this moment in history.
And as of last night, I am a participant.
Soon after we arrived, I happened to catch a swearing in of peace officers.
Using common law, anyone wanting to swear an oath to uphold the peace can do so.
Group after group of supporters gathered in small groups, with every participant turning on their cellphone to record themselves taking this oath...
"All of you are here to become peace officers.
Please show your camera to a witness to the right or left.
Do you understand, under the Criminal Code of Canada, a peace officer is someone employed to observe and maintain the public peace? (yes)
Are you willing to be employed to preserve and maintain the public peace? (yes)
Do you believe that you're competent and capable of doing so? (yes)
On behalf of myself and so many others, do you solemnly swear to observe and maintain the public peace, so help you God? (yes)
Do you see yourself as a peace officer? (yes)
I hereby employ you as a peace officer of the Canadian Common Court for peace officers, to preserve and maintain the public peace.
You are lawfully empowered to employ other members of the public as peace officers and to detain and arrest anyone you see breaching the public peace.
Our goal is to work with the police forces to ensure that they realize that they are not alone and we do not look at them as enemies, but fellow peace officers.
Do you understand? (yes)
You are now peace officers."
I've done a bit of research this morning to try to understand the oath and further develop my understanding of common law.
Like many people, I'm learning on the fly.
But standing for peace, doing what I can to maintain peace, and working with and not against the police is something I can get behind.
And so I joined in.
Afterwards, each of us was given a makeshift armband to identify ourselves as keepers of the peace...
Despite what we've all read and heard in the mainstream media, this is not some childish rebellion about being told what to do.
This is a movement of Canadians profoundly and negatively impacted by government overreach that has impacted every aspect of our lives.
The people here have deep and meaningful commitments to justice.
I spoke with Patrick, a contractor with a great understanding of the law, fearlessness in the face of any injustice, and the best bear hugs around.
His stand is for his daughter and for all our children and grandchildren.
I spoke with Frederic, a soft-spoken Quebec electrician who has dedicated his life to ending unconstitutional mandates and uniting the country.
He's participated in over 100 protests in the past 2 years, and has a vision of Canada beyond all political divisions, including French/English.
He's been walking the talk these past couple of weeks, expanding his English by liaising with the Ottawa police on a daily basis.
I spoke with a mariner from St. John whose personal medical choice lost him a job he loved and left him heartbroken.
"I'm not even angry. I just feel like they ripped out my spine."
We were given a tour (and more hugs) by a woman named Nova who was a new volunteer.
The truckers are set up with heated bathroom trailers, portable saunas, and health practitioners including doctors, a chiropractor, and a massage therapist offering their services to keep the truckers well-supported.
The food tent is overflowing with food donations, and there are even hand-packaged, home-made cookies from children.
I'm only scratching the surface, having just arrived, but I wanted to share some small personal impressions before I head to the main event.
I don't know what today will look like, and I don't know what it's like for people to live in this uncertainty day after day.
But I do know that people don't put their lives on hold for frivolous reasons.
Every conversation we had was rich and meaningful, reflecting the deep resolve the protestors have to create a society that stands for and by our rights and freedoms, guaranteed under the Canadian Bill of Rights.
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