As Canada's Truckers Fight Vax Mandate, Musk Picks Sides

'Canadian truckers rule' was Tesla CEO's tweet as drivers headed to Ottawa protest
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 28, 2022 1:18 PM CST
Musk Supports Truckers Miffed at Canada's Vax Mandate
In this Dec. 1, 2020, file photo, SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk is seen in Berlin.   (Hannibal Hanschke/Pool Photo via AP, File)

(Newser) – Elon Musk has been inserting himself lately into conversations about crypto, but the Tesla and SpaceX CEO shifted gears late in the week to lend support to an entirely different cause. "Canadian truckers rule" was his thumbs-up tweet Thursday, directed toward big-rig drivers headed toward Ottawa for an anti-vaccine mandate protest in the capital city on Friday, per Reuters. The Independent notes that although American truck drivers crossing into Canada have to be vaccinated against COVID, Canadian truckers had been exempt from that requirement. That changed on Jan. 15, when unvaxxed Canadian drivers were told they had to start quarantining for 14 days each time they came back home over the border.

Industry officials say about 90% of the truck drivers crossing the US-Canadian border are vaccinated, but Canadian truckers who aren't are now miffed that they no longer get an "enter as you please" wave into the country. Hundreds of truckers planned to converge on Ottawa on Friday in protest, hoping to surround Parliament Hill with their vehicles and snarl downtown traffic. While organizers insisted the demonstration would be peaceful, there'd been some threats online of blocking hospitals and even a physical attack against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. "We are aware of inappropriate and threatening language on social media related to this event," Ottawa Police tweeted Thursday, adding that "there will be consequences for persons engaging in criminal conduct, violence and/or activities promoting hate."

Musk's stance on vaccination has shifted throughout the pandemic. In September 2020, the then-49-year-old dad of six insisted he wouldn't get vaxxed because he didn't think he and his family were at risk of getting COVID. Something changed along the way, because last month, in his profile in Time after being anointed the magazine's Person of the Year, Musk said he and his children that were eligible had all been vaccinated. Still, his stance on vaccine mandates hasn't wavered. "You are taking a risk, but people do risky things all the time," he said at the time of the unvaccinated. "I believe we've got to watch out for the erosion of freedom in America." A follow-up tweet on Thursday cemented that take. "Freedom is being stripped away one piece at a time until it is gone," he wrote. (Read more Elon Musk stories.)

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