White House press secretary Jen Psaki began Tuesday’s briefing with an unusual announcement about the wonderful things the Biden administration has been doing for truckers lately, including “creating a safe, welcoming, and stable career path with good-paying jobs and family-sustaining wages.”
At that moment, Canadian truckers and protesters supporting them had taken over parts of Ottawa, Canada’s capital city, and blockaded key points on the border, including the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Windsor.
As of Thursday evening, it was reported that Biden administration officials were pressing Canadian officials to find a way to resolve the standoff. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, perhaps embarrassed that his silence had come to public attention, let it be known that it was part of the effort.
Trudeau was urged to use his “federal powers,” whatever those are, to end a standoff that Biden can no longer afford to ignore. And the Associated Press reported: “A federal government official said they are not ruling out any options.”
Those options, as outlined by the owner of the bridge (yes, this crucial piece of infrastructure is privately owned), are as follows:
- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau could simply cancel the vaccine mandates for truckers — 9 in 10 of whom are vaccinated anyway, and who kept supply lines open for two years, vaccinated or not;
- Trudeau could use force against Canadian citizens.
Of these, the first option is the most obvious, though Trudeau does not want to be seen to be backing down.
Trudeau, his Liberal Party, and the left-leaning Canadian media attempted to spin the protests as racist, Islamophobic, antisemitic, and even anti-Inuit. (Trudeau, who has a penchant for wearing blackface, is an authority on bigotry.)
But they struggled to explain why a vaccine mandate for truckers, who spend every moment of their working lives “socially distant” in their trucks, was being enforced, especially as Trudeau himself had described potential vaccine mandates as “extreme” and “divisive” just one year before.
#VaccineMandates are “extreme measures that could have real divisive impacts” in Canada. “There are a broad range of reasons why someone might not get vaccinated.”
— @JustinTrudeau, January 14, 2021. #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/18ndhEPKYW
— Holly Doan (@hollyanndoan) February 9, 2022
Trudeau, who announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19 despite three vaccinations, would not meet with the truckers, much less march with them through the city, as he did in 2020 to show solidarity with Black Lives Matter — a movement linked to riots in 48 out of 50 U.S. cities that summer. Instead, he called them a threat to democracy.
Curiously, however, Psaki did not go there: on behalf of the White House, which routinely calls its own opponents racists, she defended the truckers’ right to free speech and protest.
The reason is clear: inflation is skyrocketing to 40-year highs of 7.5%, thanks in part to supply chain woes, and the last thing the Biden administration wants to do is antagonize the trucking industry.
With sporadic “freedom convoys” appearing across the nation to show solidarity with the Canadian truckers, and reports of a convoy that would disrupt the Super Bowl and the State of the Union address, the White House is eager to appease truckers and keep as many of them on the job as possible, not provoke them to civil disobedience.
Canada faces some of the same economic pressures. But unlike Canada, the U.S. media still has some ideological diversity — at least until Biden’s political appointees, and his backers in Silicon Valley, eliminate it.
Canada’s Rebel News stood alone in covering the truckers firsthand; Breitbart News picked up the story, thanks to on-the-ground reporting by Robert Kraychik; and other conservative outlets in the U.S. followed suit. Soon, the establishment media, which ignores the southern border, had to cover the northern one.
It is no accident that this was the week Democrat-run “blue” states — California, New York, Illinois — started dropping some of their mask mandates. In Virginia, now run by a Republican governor, half the Democrats in the state legislature flip-flopped on mask mandates, suddenly voting to drop them.
About one half of Senate Democrats in Virginia voted to lift the school mask mandates today by giving parents opt-out powers for their children. A week ago, the entire Virginia Democratic Party was fighting Youngkin on this. That's a very quick turnaround.
— Zaid Jilani (@ZaidJilani) February 9, 2022
In Congress, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) and other knee-jerk liberals started opining on social media about the importance of “natural” immunity — behavior that might have gotten you kicked off Twitter for “misinformation” a few weeks ago.
The Canadian truckers frightened the Democrats. Here was the spectacle of the “workers of the world” uniting, long a romantic socialist vision — and they were uniting against the socialists, against punitive and intrusive regulations, against the smug assertion of “science” as determined by partisan politburos.
Some of the truckers are politically conservative; some are just working-class guys — and women — who are fed up with the carefully coiffed likes of Justin Trudeau telling them whether they have the right to make a living.
Psaki said this week that the White House would not yet follow the lead of Democratic states and call for the removal of mandates. But she tried to sell the idea that Biden, who spent 2020 in a basement, was never in favor of lockdowns, and Trump was to blame.
The fact is that Democrats can hear the political upheaval coming. It is in the rumble of 18-wheelers — like the one Biden once claimed he drove — north of the border.
This was the week that Canada — O, Canada! — liberated the United States. And there is more to come.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.