“There is No Honking at Night.”

From the conclusion of an extraordinary piece of writing by a senior civil servant who lives in downtown Ottawa. I encourage you to read the whole thing.

As I finally made my way back home, after talking to dozens of truckers into the night, I realized I met someone from every province except PEI. They all have a deep love for this country. They believe in it. They believe in Canadians.

These are the people that Canada relies on to build its infrastructure, deliver its goods, and fill the ranks of its military in times of war. The overwhelming concern they have is that the vaccine mandates are creating an untouchable class of Canadians.

They didn’t make high-falutin arguments from Plato’s Republic, Locke’s treatises, or Bagehot’s interpretation of Westminster parliamentary systems. Instead, they see their government willing to push a class of people outside the boundaries of society, deny them a livelihood, and deny them full membership in the most welcoming country in the world; and they said enough.

Last night I learned my new neighbours are not a monstrous faceless occupying mob. They are our moral conscience reminding us – with every blow of their horns – what we should have never forgotten: We are not a country that makes an untouchable class out of our citizens.

And on the other side, here’s a disturbing analysis via Matt Gurney’s Twitter feed.



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10 Responses to “There is No Honking at Night.”

  1. Jim Taylor says:

    I don’t object to people protesting — I’ve done it myself once or twice, though in a more literate manner. I object to them doing it in the name of “freedom.” They have lots of freedom; freedom to drive across the country unimpeded, freedom to express their views, freedom to make choices (including the choice NOT to get vaccinated, if they want to take that risk). But when THEIR “freedoms” deny MY freedoms — to travel without having my way blocked, to by scarce goods in my grocery store, to hear silence… — then I have no sympathy for their cause.

    Jim T

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim T – I suspect it’s hard to protest effectively without impinging on someone else’s freedom somewhere. About 10 years ago I was working downtown and the Tamils (I think, maybe Falun Gong supporters) paraded along Sparks Street (a pedestrian mall in downtown Ottawa) every lunch hour for what seemed like weeks, making a terrible racket. The noise was awful, even up 8 floors and through windows that didn’t open. And Wellington Street in front of Parliament was blocked by the same group for what *was* weeks – the City rerouted the buses. So I’d say that in Ottawa at least we haven’t figured out what rules of engagement to set for protestors, or how to enforce them. I hope this protest ends soon and safely.

  2. John Whitman says:

    Isabel – I’m looking for ways to assert my freedom to be able to go to bed at a time of my choosing when the pandemic ends and Blues Fest start up again. Then for 10 evenings in the summer I will be assaulted in my bed by the noise coming from multiple bands on the War Museum lawn if I choose to go to bed before 11:00 PM, or maybe even later.

    Oh wait! I just remembered that I came to terms with Blues Fest some years ago when I decided the noise from Blues Fest was a small price to pay for the other benefits derived from living in the National Capital.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      John – If I see you going out to buy a truck, I’ll know we’re in trouble. But where you got that retrograde attitude toward the inevitability of trade-offs is beyond me.

  3. barbara carlson says:

    When I see a photograph of a big Trump 2024 flag in the trucker protest, it’s time to wonder who is protesting what? And when Chris Barber (the leader) gives a Twitter speech with two Confederate flags behind him, just what kind of Call to Arms is he advancing in the name of “freedom”?

    Sorry. My sources on the ground tells me the truckers are thugs with harassment, air horns and fumes — it’s not a protest, its an invasion.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Barbara – Well, there you go. Different on-the-scene observers actually observe different things. It makes me wonder about the history I learned in school.

      • barbara carlson says:

        Or, any newspaper article. There wasn’t a one John and I were interviewed for that didn’t have some egregious or hilarious error.

        Three days after getting a half-page spread in a local news paper about me & my fabric pieces (with photos), I went to the hairdressers and she said, ‘Oy, I saw you in the paper on Saturday!! Jewelry, right!?” (Ah, she remembered it well.)

  4. John Whitman says:

    Maybe my retrograde attitude comes from advanced age and experience lived; or maybe I’m just not progressive and ‘woke” enough.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      John – As I share your advanced age, I suspect it’s central, but for sure other factors come into play. I suspect that some folks are predisposed to accept trade-offs as inevitable (that is, not believing that there is some way to optimize everything at once), while others are predisposed to the opposite view. Selective observation and interpretation of the results (something else humans are exceedingly good at) then reinforces whatever we started with.

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