Dr. Julie Ponesse Speaks to Ottawa Trucker Convoy

Pandemic Ethics Scholar Dr. Julie Ponesse addresses a large crowd in Ottawa who gathered for the Truckers Freedom Convoy 2022. She made her speech on Monday, January 31, 2022– just a few days after the truckers arrived in Ottawa to protest Covid-19 vaccine mandates.

The right to life, liberty, security of the person      

The right to equality before the law and the protection of the law;

         freedom of religion;

         freedom of speech;

         freedom of assembly and association;

         freedom of the press.

In 1957, John Diefenbaker said these basic freedoms, which became part of our Bill of Rights 3 years later, must become entrenched in law so they cannot be threatened by the state. 

Today, these freedoms are not just threatened, they’ve been taken from us. And they’re in danger of being lost forever. In a single year, liberal democracy in Canada has been obliterated by the son of the man who embedded these fundamental freedoms into our constitution.

We have, for 2 years, endured a pandemic of coercion and compliance.

We have ground our health care system, our political infrastructure, and our economy to a halt in order to prevent the spread of a virus for which we have, all along, had safe, effective treatments. Instead we’ve been force-fed a doomed-to-fail “vaccinate the world” escape plan that never should have been approved in the first place.

For two years, you, our governments, fuelled by the media, have demeaned us, mocked us, cancelled and ignored us. We have tried to engage in discussions about the medical, legal and ethical aspects of the pandemic response. And they just call us names. 

You have taken our jobs, drained our savings accounts, tried our friendships, broken our families, and extinguished our children’s hope for the future.

You have stripped doctors of their licences, police of their badges, and teachers of their classroom privileges.

You have called us fringe, uneducated, scientifically illiterate, and morally bankrupt. You have said you have no empathy for the unvaccinated, that they don’t deserve medical care, they don’t deserve a voice in society, they don’t even deserve a place in our democracy.

You have nurtured the seeds of distrust and fanned the flames of hatred between us.

But perhaps worst of all we have allowed you to do it. We have allowed you to break our trust in each other, and our confidence in our ability to think for ourselves.

And now you hide and run when the truth is on your doorstep.

How did we get here?

Big Pharma? Probably.

Sellout mainstream media? Absolutely.

Abuses of power by tech giants and career politicians? Almost certainly.

But our true moral failure is that we did this to ourselves. We allowed it. And some of us embraced it. We forgot for a while that freedom needs to be lived every day and that, some days, we need to fight for it. We forgot that, as Premier Brian Peckford said, “even in the best of times we are only a heart beat away from tyranny.”

We took our freedom for granted and now we are in danger of losing it.

But we are waking up and we won’t so easily be seduced or coerced again.

To our governments, the cracks are showing. The dam is breaking. The facts are not on your side. You can’t keep this up any longer. The pandemic is over. Enough is enough. You are our servants; we are not your subjects.

You have tried to mold us into hateful, terrified, demoralized people.

But you underestimated the challenge. We aren’t so easily broken. Our strength comes from the bonds of family and friendship, of history, of our home and native land.

You didn’t realize the strength of our doctors and nurses on the front lines in Alberta, our RCMP and provincial police officers, the ferocity of a mother fighting for her child, and my goodness the truckers who rolled courage into Ottawa on 18 wheels.  18 wheels times tens of thousands of trucks.

To the families of those who have lost children, your tears will be a stain on our nation forever. But you can rest now. You have done enough, lost enough. It’s time for us, your fellow citizens, to take up this battle for you.

To the truckers who drove across Canada, to stand up for all of us, to defend all our rights, I have never felt so much gratitude or pride for perfect strangers. You are electrifying this moment in history, and you are awakening a passion and a love for our country that we thought we had lost. You are the leaders all of Canada has been waiting for.  

Driving from all corners of the country — from Prince Rupert to Charlottetown, on icy roads, past waving flags and under packed overpasses, you are taking all the brokenness, all the hate, all the division, and weaving us back together again. In this one simple, united, powerful action, you are the leaders we so desperately need.

You are giving grandmothers who have been isolated and abandoned a reason to smile again.

You are giving those who have lost their livelihoods reason to hope; the families who have lost loved ones a reason to believe in justice

You have made our constitution SING again

You have given us the gift of hope. You are reminding us that, in Canada, true freedom can never be taken away.

You are reminding us that we will never allow our governments to terrorize us, segregate us + break us again. That we just need to stand up and take back what belonged to us all along.

The last two years will be remembered by our children as the most catastrophic moral failure of our generation. But I believe they will also be remembered as the time that woke a sleeping giant. And that giant is truth

The thing about the truth is, it’s buoyant, it is lighter than lies and deception. It always rises to the top.

To everyone here today, I know what it is to feel small and insignificant and powerless. The words and actions of one person, might not feel like they can do much. But when we band together, all of our small voices roar like a convoy!

The strength of all of us together is unstoppable.

Our freedom already belongs to us but we need to remember that sometimes we have to fight if we want to keep it.

We will never stop fighting for our freedom, for our children, for our country.

We are the true north strong and free, and we will be free again!

Thank you, truckers!

Dr. Julie Ponesse

Dr. Julie Ponesse


Dr. Julie Ponesse is the Pandemic Ethics Scholar for The Democracy Fund and author of the new book: My Choice: The Ethical Case Against Covid19 Vaccine Mandates. Dr. Ponesse's focus is on educating Canadians about civil liberties.

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