The Red Review

The Red Review — Tales from Street-level: The Anti-Mandate Convoy Comes to Town

March 14, 2022 Socialist Action Season 1
The Red Review — Tales from Street-level: The Anti-Mandate Convoy Comes to Town
The Red Review
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The Red Review
The Red Review — Tales from Street-level: The Anti-Mandate Convoy Comes to Town
Mar 14, 2022 Season 1
Socialist Action

All the people who work on The Red Review live and work on stolen Indigenous lands across Turtle Island. There can be no reconciliation without restitution, which includes Land Back, RCMP off Indigenous land, and seizing the assets of the major resource corporations and returning them to the commons.

You can reach us at redreview[at]

In this bonus episode of The Red Review, brought to you by Socialist Action, Daniel talks with comrade Yvonne from Vancouver about what happened on the streets when the anti-mandate convoy came to town. This episode includes audio recordings from the anti-mandate convoy in Toronto.

You can find Socialist Action on
Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter, or visit our website for more information. Socialist Action also plays a leading role in the Worker's Action Movement, which ran the Labour Forward slate at the most recent Ontario Federation of Labour convention, and the NDP Socialist Caucus.

Check out the photojournalism of Ryan Walter Wagner here, who covered the anti-mandate convoy in Vancouver.

Support the Show.

Show Notes Transcript

All the people who work on The Red Review live and work on stolen Indigenous lands across Turtle Island. There can be no reconciliation without restitution, which includes Land Back, RCMP off Indigenous land, and seizing the assets of the major resource corporations and returning them to the commons.

You can reach us at redreview[at]

In this bonus episode of The Red Review, brought to you by Socialist Action, Daniel talks with comrade Yvonne from Vancouver about what happened on the streets when the anti-mandate convoy came to town. This episode includes audio recordings from the anti-mandate convoy in Toronto.

You can find Socialist Action on
Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter, or visit our website for more information. Socialist Action also plays a leading role in the Worker's Action Movement, which ran the Labour Forward slate at the most recent Ontario Federation of Labour convention, and the NDP Socialist Caucus.

Check out the photojournalism of Ryan Walter Wagner here, who covered the anti-mandate convoy in Vancouver.

Support the Show.

Daniel Tarade  0:11  
Welcome comrades to The Red Review. My name is Daniel, I'll be your host today. I use hehim pronouns. Like usual, I'm coming to you from the traditional territory of the Anishnabeg, the Haudenosaunee, the Chippewa, the Wendat, and the Mississaugas of the Credit River, that is to say Tkaronto. All the people that work on The Red Review, all members of Socialist Action live and work on stolen Indigenous land from across Turtle Island. So we say land back, we say there can be no reconciliation without restitution, which includes seizing the assets of the major resource corporations and returning them to the commons. Last week, Emily and I talked about the anti-mandate convoy, talked about its class nature, what's fueling this reactionary movement, and who ought to respond to it. And there was a lot that we didn't get to talk about. So today we're releasing a bonus episode. This one is going to be a bit more informal, where I'm talking with one of our longtime comrades from the West Coast, Yvonne, who lives in Vancouver. Yvonne is a member of Socialist Action, one of our leaders, and we're going to be talking about what the anti-mandate convoy looked and felt like on the ground in Vancouver and in Toronto. We'll be sharing some links to photos that Yvonne took out in Vancouver when the convoy descended, and I'll be sharing in this episode today, some audio recordings from that same movement in Toronto. Tune in next week for our winter review. We'll be covering the month of December into March, the season of winter and some of the big trends. Before we get into this conversation with Yvonne, I want to give a shout out to some of our listeners. For the last five episodes, we've had clusters of listeners from Thunder Bay, Ontario, Burnaby, British Columbia, Gatineau, Quebec, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Grand Prairie, Alberta. Even though most of our listenership is based in Canada, we also have some loyal international listeners. So to those listening from Amsterdam, from Bratislava, from Abu Dhabi, from Nairobi, from Istanbul, or wherever you may be on this planet, we appreciate you listening. We do what we do here to start conversations, to share our analysis and to build community and to build up the movement. So thank you. And lastly, to the person that listens to every episode from Reno, Nevada, we see you. And just a content warning. The first recording from the anti-mandate convoy that we'll be playing right after this warning is really quite loud and very noisy with a lot of blaring horns, so if you're sensitive to loud, very noisy environments, I would recommend skipping ahead 30 seconds to the three minute and 30 second mark.

Yvonne, welcome back to the podcast. 

Yvonne Hanson  3:33  
It's good to be back. 

Daniel Tarade  3:34  
Only our most devout listeners will remember, but you were on our first ever episode back in May of 2020. And now you're back again for a very similar type of segment. We're going to go to you for reporting from the ground. What happened in Vancouver? What happened locally there with the anti-mandate convoy? Emily and I talked last week about some of the actions in Toronto and Ottawa. Well, we're going to you. What happened in Vancouver? Start us off — when did you find out in Vancouver that an anti-mandate convoy would be coming to town?

Yvonne Hanson  4:04  
So I heard about it, you know, they have these little plans and they'll they're putting up posters and things on poles, and I didn't really think that it would be anything really super overwhelming. And so I had a photoshoot booked that day, and it was about 45 minutes away. And so I was on my way driving to that photo shoot. And the opposite side of the road, like going into town, was packed with trucks all with these Canadian flags. And as I was driving, I was like, oh my god, like it went on for miles and miles and miles. There was just like, hundreds if not thousands of trucks with these Canadian flags all honking and every bridge that I pass underneath, there was people on the bridge with banners and screw Trudeau kind of thing. And so I called my photoshoot because it was like a like a collaboration. I wasn't getting paid for it. And I was just like, hey, like, I think I actually have to like go and photograph this because, I mean, I'm a hobby photojournalist. I do it on the side. I don't really make any money off of it at all, but it felt like something that was very important to document. And so my photoshoot was very understanding. They had another photographer and stuff there. So that didn't matter too much. And I turned around and I drove all the way back to Vancouver, like 45 minutes back into Vancouver. 

Daniel Tarade  5:12  

Yvonne Hanson  5:12  
It was just this moment of like, okay, this is actually like way bigger than I thought it was going to be and way more impactful politically, unfortunately.

Daniel Tarade  5:20  
And were these then pickup trucks or were these bigger long haul trucks?

Yvonne Hanson  5:24  
All kinds. There was a lot of large trucks, but it was mostly pickup trucks, mostly people from like Langley and Maple Ridge and I think south of the border as well. 

Daniel Tarade  5:32  
Oh, really? People are coming up over the border as well. 

Yvonne Hanson  5:34  
Yeah, that was the impression that I got, especially once I got on site at the event. 

Daniel Tarade  5:38  
Yeah. Okay. So I want to talk about that then, because I also walked through the anti-mandate convoy in Toronto. And so what are you experiencing through your head as you're heading back into the center of the city or wherever they're congregating as you're going in, and I'm assuming it's getting more loud, maybe more crowded, what's going through your head?

Yvonne Hanson  5:55  
You know, when I had been driving out, I drove down Main Street and Broadway, which is kind of near my house, and so I had seen like some trucks honking and stuff like that. By the time I got back, after driving out and coming back, it felt like every car on the road was involved in the convoy in some way or other, and I felt like very alone, almost. So I parked my car, take transit downtown. I'm not going to try and drive downtown and that's going on. And just the pedestrians like there was this kind of adversarial relationship between the pedestrians and the convoy, like there's people like giving the finger and shouting and then the truckers and things are like shouting back. People in the convoy are yelling and heckling people in the streets. And it was like, it was very intense and very like visually and emotionally overwhelming. Or acoustic overwhelming. I think car horns are my least favorite sound ever. So I get on the train. And I'm like, kind of looking on Twitter and I put out a tweet being like, where are they winding up? Like are they [at] art gallery? Are they [at the] hospital? Are they [at] townhall right? So apparently, it was art gallery. I head downtown. There's people on the bus. There's people on the train who have these big Canadian flags. Like, you know, the Canadian flag looks almost like like a dog whistle at this point.

Daniel Tarade  6:59  
So I was gonna ask though, because in Toronto, you would see Canadian flags at both counter-demonstrations and demonstrations. It seems like a moment in history where that symbol is undergoing some sort of reckoning. And I think people are now realizing that the nationalism behind the flag, we shouldn't be so comfortable with it.

Yvonne Hanson  7:15  
Yeah, absolutely. Like by the time I got downtown, there's a bunch of people standing on the street with the flags. There's like a congregation, and I don't think they ever like congealed in one place. But all along all the streets downtown, there's like people waving these flags and dressed in flags. I'm like, it looked like Canada Day. You know how Canada Day looked before there was this big reckoning with the Indigenous genocide. Right? Yeah, back in like the early 2000s when everybody's wearing red. It was like that. It was so twisted and disturbing, because it's like, even Canada Day is dark now. But this is like the dark Canada Day, you know, like they're celebrating their right to endanger vulnerable people, essentially, and being so proud and excited. And there's just like frothing at the mouth, you could tell that these people have never had an opportunity to engage in a protest before, but maybe have always thought that it looks fun, but never agreed with what's being protested. They're like taking their moment.

Daniel Tarade  8:06  
I have to say that was the same thing I felt in Toronto, and I'm going to ask you what the most common things you heard in Vancouver. In Toronto, the most common chant by far was "freedom," just people constantly ringing freedom through the loudspeakers, on the street spontaneously, but that's what scared me actually the most. I don't disagree with the tactic. Obviously, we engage in that tactic all the time. But seeing the far-right mobilizing this way, I know that when I was in my first ever protests, my first ever rallies, you get shivers up your spine, goosebumps on your skin, that feeling of camaraderie. You're standing shoulder to shoulder with someone in a struggle for your version of justice, and seeing them experience it, I know that those people now are going to come back stronger, because they formed those connections with each other. Is that what you were getting there as well?

Yvonne Hanson  8:51  
That's exactly what I was getting. And it was like the anti-version of all the protests that I've been to, you know, the signs and banners and old ladies handing out little pamphlets and stickers and pins. And you know, the whole thing, you know. There's very few protests that I've been to that I don't agree with what they're protesting. And this was one of them. And it was very strange.

Daniel Tarade  9:09  
Was this the first time you were outnumbered at a protest?

Yvonne Hanson  9:12  
I photographed the anti-vaccine protests a few times. So no, it wasn't, but I've always had a mask on previously. And for this one, I had actually just gotten over COVID. So I was immune. And so I wanted to try to interact with the crowd without a mask. 

Daniel Tarade  9:30  
Try and blend in a bit. 

Yvonne Hanson  9:31  
Yeah, blend in a bit. And like, you know, I'm not wearing a Canadian flag or anything like overtly, but just that sign that I'm not wearing a mask is enough for some people to accept me, and I was interested to see how they would treat me if I'm not an outsider. You know, it was extremely different. It was night and day. Previously, when I was photographing those protests, they see me as a person from the media, and they hate the media, right? I've got this big long lens on my camera. 

Daniel Tarade  9:53  

Yvonne Hanson  9:53  
They just see me as the enemy, and so I got all these pictures of them jeering and shouting and like looking grotesquely angry at me like — and those pictures sell very well let me tell you — but the ones that I got at the truckers convoy were people smiling, holding up banners you know, it felt wholesome, but then it's got this like extremely corrupted aspect where all the signs are kind of vicious things, calling Trudeau the R word and stuff like that.

Oh, interesting. I didn't see that one here. But yeah, a lot of very explicitly anti-Trudeau messaging.

Violently too. Like, I don't like Trudeau, but I don't want to like go to jail and die, like.

Daniel Tarade  10:27  
Again, the tactic and even at that very high level, the slogan of freedom or you know, fuck Trudeau, I've chanted fuck Trudeau at a climate rally before. Trudeau is a traitor, but again, seeing it packaged in what is in my view, and Emily and I talked about last week, a eugenicist message: one where my personal freedom to go anywhere in society I wish without any restrictions, even though that means that people that are immunocompromised, elderly, disabled, and again, mostly impoverished racialized communities that bear the brunt of this, they will die. And that's okay. That's just almost like this free market extended to our own immune systems, right? Like, whatever, everybody can do whatever they want. Wow.

Yvonne Hanson  11:06  
I was just gonna say one of the slogans that I saw a lot was "my rights don't end where your fear begins." Its eugenicist. Because it's like what, it should. It's the same argument with gun control. I have a fear of being killed by a gun. So you're right to hold a gun, and that ends, I'm sorry, like, you don't get to carry a deadly weapon, right? Like, and that's essentially what it is with COVID. If you have this virus, you do have what is essentially a deadly weapon. And I am in every right to be afraid of that, and you have no rights to spread that.

Daniel Tarade  11:33  
No, and especially when it comes to things like you know, it's your decision to get vaccinated or not. So if you're vaccinated, you're safe, and if you didn't get vaccinated, that's your choice. But the numbers now in Canada, given how many vaccines have been administered, there are more immunocompromised people than unvaccinated people, and they don't get that choice. And contrary to what some people might think if you're immunocompromised, you may still need to work at a Walmart to pay your bills. And if there are no mask requirements, no vaccine mandates, you can try and do that all yourself, but especially if you're immunocompromised, you're essentially a sitting duck. And the prioritization is business as normal. They want to return to normal, but it's really not a normal when the virus is still there. It's business as normal, ignoring the impacts of the virus. Okay, so you're seeing a lot of anti-Trudeau messaging. You're seeing these chants for freedom, and you're seeing people jubilant. It was a celebration because on that day in Toronto, they won. Our counter protest was way smaller than their's and was way less energetic. To be honest, the anti-mandate protest in Toronto, which really only lasted the one day, because in Toronto, anarchists blocked their main artery downtown to get to the parliament. And so they basically set up in the middle of the street, and they got cleared a few days later. And really, their numbers weren't sustained because they didn't get to their central destination where they'd be able to kind of stay in front of Parliament. And that wasn't the police. That was really, you know, antifascist, anarchist organizers. So what happened in Vancouver then? Did they get entrenched anywhere? Was there any coordinated response against that in the community?

Yvonne Hanson  12:56  
Yeah, well, so the first day, I think it took all of us kind of by surprise, like I said, I wasn't expecting anywhere near that size. So no, there wasn't much of a coordinated response. I couldn't find any opposition at all the first day. But the following week, you know, they did it every Saturday for a few weeks, and the following week, there was a really excellent group of I think, older environmentalists on bicycles, and they blocked off key routes along the road using these bicycles. Just a shout out to a fellow photographer, Ryan Walter Wagner, he is a photojournalist. And he took a bunch of pictures of truckers, getting in conversations with these bicyclists, but very powerful images. You know, it really shows the tensions on both sides. Just one thing that you mentioned: the police. Yeah, they don't do anything. And in fact, I actually had to open a ticket at one point with the Vancouver Police Department because I was photographing one of these anti-mask, anti-vaccine protests a while ago, and I saw a bunch of policemen there without masks on. There was like ten policemen, all of them just chilling, hanging out with the protesters, standing near them 

Daniel Tarade  13:58  
Just hanging out

Yvonne Hanson  13:58  
not wearing masks. I took pictures of the policeman standing next to signs that said really violent things about the vaccine. So I sent those pictures in to the police department. I was like, hey, like, these are your officers. And they're interacting with the most vulnerable communities, like on the Downtown Eastside, people who were suffering from addiction, people who have disabilities, and these police are in close contact with those people. So they need to figure that out, basically, and the response that I got was very underwhelming. It was just, if they're outside, then they don't have to wear a mask, basically.

Daniel Tarade  14:24  
In Toronto. I've very seldomly seen any police officers with masks even during peaks. 

Yvonne Hanson  14:30  
Yeah, the only time I ever see them in a mask was at the Black Lives Matter protests last summer. And I guess that's because they wanted to like make a point or something like. It's obviously not because they actually think that the masks are necessary because if they thought that they would be wearing them all the time. 

Daniel Tarade  14:41  
So I'll say my experience with police that day. I made a number of bad decisions because you went in it seems very organized. Okay, it was kind of a last-minute decision, but you weren't wearing a mask, you were more covert. I was coming out from the counter demonstration that had about 1000 people. So I was feeling a little bit more confident because there was some sort of resistance, but really, in our case, our side was not was organized, the people leading it were not very experienced. I want to walk through their's to see, you know, relatively speaking what the balance of forces was. But I did smoke a joint before I went in there. I still wore my mask and also my jacket with all of my buttons. And I didn't tell anybody, I was completely by myself. And really, as I was walking into it, at first, I felt fine because I saw what were the remnants of the protests at the park, at Queen's Park where the Provincial Parliament is. But then I noticed like everybody was walking north. They're walking to where the trucks were stopped by the anarchists and antifascists and that's where they're now congregating. That's where all the big trucks were. And it was kind of weird. Like I could have turned around so many times, but I was actually like agape, and I was almost glad I was wearing a mask because I think the fear would have been palpable just in my mouth drop. Thousands of people. They were chanting. They had way more energy than we did and just walking through it, no one else was wearing a mask. I didn't see any at Toronto, I didn't see any swastikas. Did you see anything like that in Vancouver?

Yvonne Hanson  15:56  
You know, one lady was dressed up like a Canadian version of a Nazi. And her point was like, Oh, we fought the Nazis, like we're gonna do it again. And it's like, I think you're just taking an opportunity to dress up like a Nazi. 

Daniel Tarade  16:07  
Yes, it's literally depending on who you're in the room with, your explanation for your attire is changing.

Yvonne Hanson  16:12  
Yeah, really. Like that's what it felt like. And then a lot of like people wearing stars.

Daniel Tarade  16:16  
Oh really, you saw people wearing the actual —

Yvonne Hanson  16:18  
Like, star of David. 

Daniel Tarade  16:19  
I did not see any of that either. I saw a lot of the Don't Tread on Me flag. 

Yvonne Hanson  16:22  
Oh we saw that too 

Daniel Tarade  16:23  
and like the fuck Trudeau flags. Hey, comrades, another quick content warning, there will be about a minute of recording from an anti-mandate convoy that's quite loud and noisy. If you want to skip that, fast forward to 18 minutes and 10 seconds into the podcast.

Unknown Rally Participant #1  16:46  
18 Wheels to flatten the turd.

Unknown Rally Participant #2  17:18  
That's it.

Unknown Rally Participant #3  16:37  
Watch out, don't get violent.

Unknown Rally Participant's  16:37  
Just the fringe. Thanks for supporting truckers.

Daniel Tarade  17:18  
Do violent slogans count as threats, when the person said "18 wheels to flatten the turd," indicating you know, you run over someone you don't like with an 18 Wheeler. The turd.

Toronto Police Officer  17:30  
Who said that? 

Daniel Tarade  17:31  
Someone walking by, I didn't see them. 18 wheels. Trudeau, that's what they call him. 18 wheels to flatten a turd. They're referring to the Prime Minister, as in they're threatening, through a slogan, to kill the Prime Minister. Just saying. Something of relevance to tell your boss. 

Toronto Police Officer  18:04  
It's gone. Bloor Street is gone. I have to let them know.

Daniel Tarade  18:09  
And I only heard one violent threat. But it was very interesting because I was right next to a police officer when this person said it. And it's a bit of a meme but 18 wheels to flatten a turd. Have you heard that one before?

Yvonne Hanson  18:22  
No, but that's like, that's so scary. Like, it's so dumb. Like, it's so dumb. The whole Turd-eau thing is so dumb. 

Daniel Tarade  18:28  
It is. It's dumb. And this was right next to the police officer. And also I have all this recorded on audio. So I was walking through with my tape recorder. I'm like, I'm going to record this. I'm going to capture the atmosphere. I'm going to share it with as many people as I know, because I think that atmosphere really does capture what this is. The People's Party of Canada is around like 12 to 15% in polling right now. 12 to 15% of Canadians are explicitly aligned with this movement, right? The PPC was the only party that was against mandates, against any of that. And so it's becoming this big thing. But when you hear 12%, you don't think that's a big deal, necessarily. I mean, we do. We understand what 12% of the people is in terms of mobilization. We would be lucky to have 12% people mobilizing in the similar extreme way on the left. 

Yvonne Hanson  19:12  

Daniel Tarade  19:12  
But when you hear even just thousands of people chanting all these things, and people shouting, you know, 18 wheels to flatten the turd, just openly calling for violence against the sitting Prime Minister, even if it is a meme, even if it's like a joke threat. I know that if someone at a Black Lives Matter protest did the same thing, it wouldn't be the same thing. So I was just finishing talking with this police officer like, what is your plan? Like, we knew this was coming. They came to Toronto after Ottawa. We knew this was happening and we knew what was happening there. And this guy just oh, you know, we were stopping them from going to the park. Like yeah, but that's not where they're trying to go anymore. They're setting up shop right there at that busy intersection, and what's your plan if things get violent. I don't know. And I pointed out the hypocrisy. I vented a bit at this at this cop who just let me do this. I almost felt it could have been an intentional thing on the police. This person did not seem very experienced. I'm wondering if they were sending their least experienced police officers to deal with this and then when there's a Black Lives Matter protests or they're clearing an encampment, they're sending their most sadistic, you know, people like they're signing up for that shift like yes, please, I want in for that one coach. But for this one, you know, all those people didn't want to go there because they don't want to treat these people poorly. So they have to send in their rookies. And that's what this person seemed like. So then I heard this threat, and I go back to a cop. Well, okay, do threats of violence count, and I have to explain what this means to him as well. He didn't understand what 18 wheels to flatten the turd meant. So I'm like, turd, Turd-eau, you know, Trudeau that's, that's the Prime Minister.

Yvonne Hanson  20:32  
Like it's written on all their cars like. 

Daniel Tarade  20:34  
Yeah, so that's one. 18 wheels, well, that's 18 wheelers. That should be pretty straightforward. And then to flatten well, that means to crush someone with a truck, right.

Yvonne Hanson  20:41  
Put those two together, like. 

Daniel Tarade  20:43  
And then I wrapped it up, like it's a satire on, you know, to flatten the curve. But you can hear the police officers say, It's gone. Bloor Street is gone, which was the main street we're on. And he goes to his car, and he calls him like, like the police had no plan. Ultimately, the police have a lot of jurisdiction over how they enforce the law. And when it comes to these people, well, they're kind of in line with them. Because the anti-mandate people are fighting for, you know, white privilege, able-bodied privilege led by small business owners, you know, so wealthier people or at least higher up in the caste system. And that's who the police are meant to protect, regardless of what the law says.

Yvonne Hanson  21:15  
Yeah, absolutely. This is why I like taking these photos is because it shows areas of contrast. So at an environmentalist protest I was at a little while ago, where they took the bridge, there was literally like less than a hundred environmentalist protesters, and they sent 67 police officers. So it was almost a one-to-one ratio of demonstrators. People were like looking at those pictures like, well, what the hell was going on? Like, why did they send so many police? Did somebody die? And it's like, no, no, nothing. There was nothing dangerous going on. They took a bridge. That's it. Trucker convoys took the entire downtown. I saw cops standing on the side of the roads, right, just milling about — not very many, by the way — but people were like literally standing on the tops of moving vehicles. And the police were just like, Oh, get down Oh, careful, like not even like chasing after them. Like that, on its own is very illegal, like that is almost an arrestable offense, and you're just gonna ignore it completely.

Daniel Tarade  22:05  
So when I compare the two in Toronto, the most police I saw firsthand in Toronto was at a Palestine March, and we marched to Bloor and Young, which is just a few blocks to the east of where these people were occupying. Our crowds were maybe a similar size, our's had way fewer vehicles. We literally had one pickup truck that was leading the march. And when we got to where the Israeli consulate is at the intersection, they had snipers on the roof. They had cops on horseback. 

Yvonne Hanson  22:33  
Oh my god. 

Daniel Tarade  22:33  
Someone called in a bomb threat saying that the truck had a bomb and that they were going to bomb the consulate. So the police tried to stop us. They tried to confiscate the vehicle, bring it back to do the search. But again, to the credit of these Palestinian organizers from the Palestinian youth movement, they spoke directly to the crowd, let them know everything was happening. They said we're not going to let the cop stop us, we have the right to do this. And to the police, they said if you want to search the truck, okay, but you can search here in front of everybody while we film you. Because we know there isn't a bomb in here, you can verify that very quickly, and then we're gonna keep going. And the police didn't bother to check. But by the time we got to the intersection, again, snipers. And they literally had a sniper on the roof of the Hudson's Bay store there, which I thought was a great metaphor for the colonial history of Canada, just. 

Yvonne Hanson  23:13  
Yeah, it really is. 

Daniel Tarade  23:15  
And then the same thing, even more aggressive with this anti-mandate convoy and again, just a small handful of police, mostly protecting the museum actually. They're like guarding the entrance to one of the museums as if these people are gonna like jump in there and start doing I don't know. So the blatant hypocrisy and to me it reveals really who the police are meant to protect.

Yvonne Hanson  23:34  
Absolutely. One of the comments that I've seen on like online discourse on like the r/Vancouver subreddit and stuff is like, Oh, well, would you prefer that the police sent out like hundreds of police officers to like arrest all the people in this convoy. And it's like, no, I don't want to see this disparity. I don't want to see hundreds of police officers out for like twelve environmentalist. 

Daniel Tarade  23:52  

Yvonne Hanson  23:53  
You know, I want people to have the right to protest. I want the police response to be appropriate. And I want it to be equal, you know, like seeing this blatant double standard is what is upsetting. It's not the lack of police officers or whatever, right? 

Daniel Tarade  24:05  

Yvonne Hanson  24:05  
I'd like to see no police officers at all. That's all. 

Daniel Tarade  24:09  
Yeah. So like Emily and I were talking, we're not here to denounce the tactics. And that was what was really troubling with the media discourse. It was this, you know, manufacturing a discontent with the tactic of any sort of blockade, any sort of occupation, when really that's our only recourse. 

Yvonne Hanson  24:25  

Daniel Tarade  24:25  
And so we're not demanding for the police to do it. Because we know if the police shut them down, they would do the same thing to us ten times over. We want to see the community mobilize against it, keep their own community safe. And to show that the anti-mandate convoy actually isn't the majority. Even if the PPC is 15%. Even if 30% of people are somewhat sympathetic to some of the demands or ideas of the anti-mandate convoy, it's not the majority. They're just out organizing us by a lot. 

Yvonne Hanson  24:51  

Daniel Tarade  24:51  
And getting the police involved isn't going to fix that problem. I want to ask then, so the environmentalists on bike, was this entirely spontaneous? Are they associated with any group? Where did that come from? Do you know the story behind that organizing?

Yvonne Hanson  25:03  
Yeah, so I actually I wasn't privy to any of the organizing. But as far as I understand it, there was like a big discord group. And so they had kind of just added people to it over the course of the week. I think it was very spontaneous. And then everybody with a bike showed up and then they were messaging the discord group — I got added to it midway through the day — messaging, the discord group, like where the next location was. So you know, the truckers would reroute, and so all the bicyclists would coordinate and go and lined up blocking their next route. And they moved around, like, I think four or five different places throughout the city. That seemed like a really like heartening and encouraging kind of counter protest. And I also love just like the visual metaphor of trucks versus bikes. I think that really summarizes the right versus left at least in terms of environmental impact,

Daniel Tarade  25:44  
Environmental impact, and really, in terms of resources, the the money that gets funneled into the anti-mandate convoy because it aligns with some business interests is really, you know, stark compared to our own crowdfunded efforts on the left. You know, it's mostly our bodies that we have, and then in some cases, bikes. Okay, so what is Vancouver looking like these days? So have those weekly blockade stop?

Yvonne Hanson  26:06  
Yeah, thankfully, although I feel like I have like a stress response. Now, every time I hear a car horn, I'm just like, Oh, God, is it starting again? But no, I haven't seen any of them since I was downtown on a Saturday recently, and there was nothing. There's stickers everywhere, anti-mask stickers and stuff like that. But more or less, I think they've kind of tired themselves out for now.

Daniel Tarade  26:25  
Yeah. And I have to say those stickers as well are expensive compared to what we do on our end with wheat paste and things like that. Yeah, I think it needs to be said, yeah, they're not in the streets anymore. But that as an opening salvo, as their opening introduction to that type of action, is what scares me and the fact that they do have a sizable chunk of the population. Were you following what was happening in Ottawa with the Battle of Billings Bridge?

Yvonne Hanson  26:47  
Yeah, I mean, I listen to CBC every morning. So I was definitely at least getting the CBC take, which it seemed pretty terrifying, frustrating also that the police were so hesitant to do absolutely anything.

Daniel Tarade  26:59  
And literally it kind of showed with those people, again, kind of on bikes and just with their own bodies, they took over for the police that day. They're the ones that negotiated the release of the trucks that they blocked, which involved on taking their supplies, their fuel canisters, because they're going to refuel. The police weren't willing to do that. But they kind of stood by as the community did it. That really is the way forward. We are the answer we've been waiting for. Is it dangerous? Yeah, absolutely. You can't ignore the fact that there are risks, but I think what the conclusion a lot of people are coming to is it's riskier not to do anything.

Yvonne Hanson  27:31  
Yeah, agree, I think we're in this kind of position in society right now, where none of us have really ever taken that kind of a risk before or have been placed in a position where that kind of a risk, in terms of civil disobedience, is necessary. And increasingly, like things are getting to the point where we have to start weighing that kind of risk and asking ourselves if we're the kind of people who are willing to take action, regardless of the risks.

Daniel Tarade  27:51  
Hey, Comrades, I wanted to share another audio clip from the day the anti-mandate convoy came to Toronto. This is a quick interview I did with Pam, a member of OPSEU, on the role that labor is playing in countering the anti-mandate convoy and the role that labor ought to be playing. 

Pam from OPSEU  28:10  
I'm Pam from OPSEU. 

Daniel Tarade  28:12  
Wonderful, and so Pam, what role does labor play in protecting workers?

Pam from OPSEU  28:17  
That you can see from the flags here today, the fact that this was put out by multiple labor bodies, that it happened quite quickly, but that it is the response of individual labor members, union members, putting pressure on the leadership that really is the key and makes the difference.

Daniel Tarade  28:34  
So the response to protecting workers is a grassroots, bottom up, rank-and-file thing?

Pam from OPSEU  28:39  
Well, it is and then hopefully it also will get the leadership to move because, you know, the trade union isn't separate from capitalism, but it is a real advance historically for workers. It's a mass organization of workers. And the moments when the trade union leadership come together from different sectors, the moments when they, you know, put the call out to all their members are moments when we've seen amazing things happen. And the possibility for that now is really, I think, clear, but also, it requires active members, right. You can't just wait for the leader to do something.

Daniel Tarade  29:15  
Absolutely. Obviously, you have Smokey Thomas. 

Pam from OPSEU  29:18  
Uhh, Not for long. 

Daniel Tarade  29:19  
Not for long. He's not re-running, hopefully this time for sure.

Pam from OPSEU  29:22  
Oh he's definitely not, definitely stepped down. So it's a real opportunity for our union.

Daniel Tarade  29:26  

Pam from OPSEU  29:27  
Certainly, in terms of leaders like Smokey, like Jerry Dias in Unifor, it is a leadership that was allowed to sort of create a more top-down unionism when the level of struggle was lower. 

Daniel Tarade  29:43  

Pam from OPSEU  29:43  
And so those people are in trouble. They're in trouble in the US, the Jimmy Hoffa machine. Jimmy Hoffa jr. machine got kicked out of the Teamsters. The UAW in the US now is voting directly for their leader. So there is pressure also to change Leadership at the top, which is beautiful.

Daniel Tarade  30:02  
Have you heard any of this rhetoric on the west coast because it was kind of prevalent here from the people that ought to be leading these counter struggles. You know, the NDP and the labor unions, they're the ones on the left who are resourced, they're the ones that should be not only supporting mutual aid and other things like that, but they're the ones that should be mobilizing to keep the community safe and blocking these anti-mandate convoys and outnumbering them. They're the ones that can do it. Yet, in Ottawa and Toronto, a lot of the labor leaders didn't want to do anything because they were citing, you know, it's not safe, especially for our black and Indigenous members. They kind of talked about the privilege of being able to protest or counter protest. And it seemed to me almost this type of historical revisionism. No, no, you got it backwards, like the people that are most risk have the most to lose by not doing anything. There's a reason why the Indigenous land defenders around the world are the ones that take these big steps, and they take on the most risk because they have the most to lose. You got it completely inverted and you're trying to tell us that you as the person that gets paid six figures to lead this union, you know, the reason why you're not doing anything is because well, you know, black and Indigenous person in the union. First of all, we're not advocating for conscription. 

Yvonne Hanson  31:09  

Daniel Tarade  31:09  
We're not advocating that all people in the union be forced to go to the frontlines and fight. But you can mobilize and you can find the people, you can find the allies who might not be at most risk themselves but are willing to stand up for their community. But the leaders completely absolve themselves of any responsibility in organizing that pushback. And that's why in Ottawa with the Battle of Billings Bridge, that was like a small handful of union activists. It wasn't the unions, it [was] people within the unions. And similarly in Toronto, and it seems like in Vancouver as well, it was small under- resourced people who won the day, really.

Yvonne Hanson  31:42  
And I mean, I think that's how it's always going to be. I haven't heard much rhetoric. I know that my own union has made very similar statements of, you know, we support the pro-vaccine movement, and we condemn the anti-vaxxers, and that's about it. I mean, even in some cases, leaving their own staff out to dry in terms of handling all of the grievances related to vaccine terminations. But that's its own thing. I'm not going to get into that. But yeah, my own frustrations there.

Daniel Tarade  32:10  
Last audio recording I want to share with you all is from one of the doctors who organized the defense of health care rally on February 5. His name is Dr. Philip Berger. And he shared a sentiment that I believe a lot of people in the community were feeling.

Dr. Philip Berger  32:27  
We were constantly warned about the threat of violence today. We've had colleagues who are afraid to come down here. But we say it's because of those threats and intimidation that we are here. We will not tolerate a state of siege. Health care workers will come to work without the threat of intimidation. We are here today because our patients need to know that they'll not have to navigate road closures when they have to get to the hospital if they're in pain. They need to know that in their most vulnerable moments, when they're lying in these buildings around us, they'll not be tormented by the persistent honking of horns. People need to know they'll not be threatened for simply wearing masks. We're not here today. We're here today because we know that access to health care is a right. We will not live under a siege. And that's why we're here today. Thank you, everyone.

Yvonne Hanson  33:27  
Thank you so much for having me on the show. 

Daniel Tarade  33:30  
No, absolutely. 

Yvonne Hanson  33:31  
Anytime you need a photo journalist.

Daniel Tarade  33:32  
Absolutely. And if you have some photos, send them our way. And maybe we can use one for the promotion for this bonus episode. 

Yvonne Hanson  33:38  
Absolutely. I will do that. I would love to do that. 

Daniel Tarade  33:40  
Brilliant. Thanks so much comrade Yvonne. And you're always welcome back. 

Yvonne Hanson  33:43  
No problem comrade Danny, I appreciate that.

Daniel Tarade  33:48  
That brings us to the end of this bonus episode of The Red Review. I really hope you enjoyed our tales from the street and remember to tune in next week for the winter review, where we'll be breaking down major trends in this state in the last three months. We're all excited for the warmer spring weather. I'm looking forward to being able to bask in the sun while drinking in the park. You can always reach out to us at redreview[at], or you can connect with Socialist Action on Twitter, on Instagram, or on Facebook, and you can check out our website and YouTube channel. In particular, I invite you to check out our recent celebration of International Women's Day where women comrades from coast-to-coast and internationally shared their perspective on the woman's struggle today. You can find out on our YouTube channel. Take care comrades, stay safe, stay active and see you next time.