Poll shows increasing opposition to Ottawa protests, border blockades

A new poll suggests the public is increasingly fed up with anti-vaccine mandate protests, as Canada’s economy and residents continue to face the brunt of the so-called ‘freedom convoys.”

The Angus Reid poll, released Monday, says Canadians are showing more opposition to the protests, which have brought some important trade routes in Ottawa, Manitoba, Alberta, and B.C. to a standstill.

Of those polled, 72 per cent say it’s time for the protesters to go home as they have made their point, and most support police stepping in to deal with the situation.

An Angus Reid Poll finds regardless of political leanings, Canada's economy takes precedent over protests

According to the Angus Reid poll, respondents overall believe that protecting the economy is more important. (angusreid.org)

It also shows that the ‘freedom convoys’ have backfired in their messaging. About 44 per cent of those polled say they are now more inclined to support ongoing restrictions like masking indoors than they were before the protests.

CityNews Ottawa talk show host Rob Snow calls the ongoing protests in the city “surreal,” adding locals are getting more and more angry.

“It has not abated, after three weekends of this, people are losing faith in their mayor, their city council, in their police chief, and in their federal government,” Snow said.

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“There are entire streets that have just been commandeered, taken over, they are completely impassible. They are very noisy and they have basically become encampments,” he said.

With demonstrators expected to move trucks and other vehicles from residential areas as part of a deal with the city, some people who live in Ottawa seem to be taking matters into their own hands.

“What we saw yesterday was maybe the start of a growing movement here in Ottawa with what started out as a few dozen counter-protesters swelling throughout the course of the day… to several hundred and now plans being made, organized by people in the activist community…that may not be the last counter-protest we see like that here in Ottawa,” he said.

While many residents are increasingly frustrated, there is national concern as several border crossings have been shut down by protests in recent weeks.

On Sunday, the Ambassador Bridge reopened after protesters were removed from the route connecting Windsor to Detroit.


But many industry groups say the damage has already been done to the Canadian economy and the already-fragile auto sector.

In an interview with the Globe and Mail, the president of Canada’s Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Assn. said the protests could jeopardize future investments.

“This is absolutely the worst time in the last 50 years to be pointing out to international investors that Canada’s access to the U.S. market is not guaranteed,” Flavio Volpe said.

The association was among the first to bring a class action lawsuit against the Windsor blockade protest, citing at least $600 million has been lost so far because of the closure of the trade route between the U.S. and Canada.

While protesters have been cleared, there are growing calls for more action in other parts of the country as the supporters vow to continue to spread their message, with few arrests or action by government.

Protests remain at the Coutts border crossing in Alberta, as well as the Emerson border crossing in Manitoba.

Over the weekend, four people were arrested for mischief after shutting down one of B.C.’s major border crossings. As of Monday morning, that route remains closed.

With files from Michael Ranger and The Canadian Press

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