• Stephanie Turple

Question everything

Some things are better observed after the fact; as the famous saying goes: "Hindsight is 20/20". Now that some time has passed since the truckers' convoy paralyzed the downtown core of my beloved home, Ottawa, and my deep ire has abated, I feel grateful, yes grateful, for this event because it taught me some very important lessons. It was really the first time in my life that I happened to live in the area where an international incident was unfolding with worldwide media coverage.


The most important lesson I learned was this: there are always two sides to a story, maybe more, and most often, one side isn't getting any press. So what we receive via legacy, and even independent media, as I found out, is largely one-sided and myopic. Article after article was praising these truckers as representatives of an oppressed blue-collar working class finally rising up against the enemy, the "oppressive" Canadian government, with Justin Trudeau called a fascist, and in one instance compared to Nicolae Ceaușescu, the feared former president of Romania. That we'd gotten to the point of calling a democratically elected leader who did what no one else was willing to do to address an untenable situation and avoid all-out chaos and violence, is ludicrous.


I had, as many other Ottawa residents did, a unique vantage point regarding this story as we had intimate knowledge of, and in some cases, direct experience of a downtown core basically shut down with many instances of harassment and threats on the part of convoy participants to the point that residents didn't feel safe walking in their own neighbourhoods. This "protest" was organized by three individuals who are closer to fascism than Justin Trudeau will ever be; individuals who have been open about their racist views and whose aim was to overthrow the Canadian government, not end COVID measures.


They basically hijacked issues related to the pandemic to push their own agenda, and convinced hundreds of truckers (and non-truckers) that blocking city streets and honking their horns at all hours was totally legal. It was not. In fact, causing sleep deprivation, which those truck horns did with great efficacy, is cited in the Geneva Convention as a form of torture. What unfolded in downtown Ottawa was an illegal occupation with absolutely no regard for the rights and freedoms of the residents living in that area. And funnily enough, they were protesting pandemic measures that were going to end anyway so the whole thing felt rather pointless and misguided.



I'm reminded of a famous riff legendary stand-up comic George Carlin went on as he told us to "question everything": news stories; deeply cherished beliefs; social mores; you name it, we should question it. This convoy was a wake-up call for me: there was a clear dissonance between what was actually happening and how it was being disseminated to the rest of the world.


I suppose it's impossible to ever get a totally objective story on anything: in the end, it's subjective human beings writing these stories but now, I don't hesitate to question absolutely everything, especially the things I'm told I should never dare question. Interestingly, I feel more deeply connected to the human community by adopting this viewpoint because the world doesn't seem so one-dimensional. It cultivates an awareness that human beings are richly complex individuals, with many contradictions, and that most of what we know about others, and about events, is a tiny fraction of the depth and breadth of the full experience. It's also a reminder to stay humble because there's always something we don't know.

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