Multiple convoy protests got under way across Canada on July 23 in solidarity with farmers in the Netherlands and several other European countries who have been protesting against climate change policies over the past few months, saying the measures are threatening their livelihoods.
The decentralized protests were held by locals simultaneously across the country. In all, at least 55 convoys rolled out to support the Dutch farmers in eight provinces: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec, and Saskatchewan.
Convoy protest in Edmonton on July 23, 2022.
Convoy protest in Vaughan https://t.co/OEWAE1E0px
— Andrew Chen (@AndrewChen55) July 23, 2022
In Ottawa, vehicles convened in the Kanata area to form a convoy, while other protesters gathered in the city’s downtown, marching and cheering on protest vehicles as they passed by.
Police were present in downtown Ottawa as protesters gathered. In one spot, police removed a table protesters had set up to distribute pamphlets containing information about the protest, saying that according to bylaws, a permit is needed to have such a table.
The protesters in Ottawa marched across the city’s downtown in a “freedom parade,” past the War Memorial and on to Parliament Hill.
Kyle Norbury, an electrician from Edmonton who says he has been in Ottawa for five months protesting COVID-19 mandates, said he thought it’s important for him and others to support the Dutch farmers.
“We are here as proud patriot Canadians supporting the Dutch farmers in their protests over in the Netherlands,” Norbury told The Epoch Times.
“It’s important that Canadians make a stance for freedoms before they’re gone. We all see the government overreach happening all throughout the world right now, and it’s important the everyone stands united before it’s too late. Our freedoms are slowly disappearing as we speak.”
In the GTA, convoys of vehicles and supporters converged in Vaughan around noon to form a larger convoy. The convoys came from dozens of regions including London, Toronto, Niagara, and Kingston, with some “slow-rolling” to the rendezvous point.
Susanna Guetter and her husband, John Guetter, who run a farm in northern Ontario, said at the site in Vaughan that they were excited to see so many people coming out and supporting the convoy, as they are both of Dutch origin.
“I think it’s a powerful example of us coming together to support something that’s so important, and that is the production of food. When the world stops the farmers, the people starve,” Susanna Guetter said.
In light of the climate change policies introduced in the Netherlands, John Guetter said he is concerned about those policies being implemented in Canada as well.
“We’re thinking about the children, grandchildren, future generations and for other people. It’s just so important because if you don’t stand up now, we’re going to lose everything,” he said.
In Greater Vancouver, vehicles from different regions gathered in the downtown area, where they will protest in front of the Dutch consulate until 4 p.m. (PDT), and later make their way to the Vancouver International Airport for a rally.
“What motivated me [to come is that] I do believe if you don’t have any farmers or truckers, there is no food,” said Susie Dodge in Vancouver. Dodge said she is also protesting COVID-19 vaccine mandates, as she says she lost her job because she didn’t want to get the vaccine.
A flyer created by a protester says: “Farmers in the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Italy, and Poland are protesting due to their outrage over new government regulations that will force them to reduce their nitrogen fertilizer compounds and ammonia emissions, leading to a reduced number of their livestock and crops, ultimately causing bankruptcy in family-owned businesses.”
It adds: “Many farmers across Canada are already aware of these devastating policies looming over their livelihoods and are protesting across the country this Saturday.”
Dutch Farmers’ Protests
The protests in the Netherlands were sparked by the government’s decision to cut livestock numbers in the country by 30 percent to radically reduce nitrogen greenhouse gas emissions and ammonia. Livestock produce ammonia in their urine and feces.
The government wants to reduce these pollutants by 50 percent nationwide by 2030.
On June 10, the Dutch government issued a national and area-specific plan for curbing nitrogen GHGs, with some areas required to slash emissions by 70 percent and some others by as much as 95 percent.
The Dutch government has stated that “there is not a future for all [Dutch] farmers within [this] approach,” as reported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agriculture Service.
The measures came after the highest Dutch administrative court found in 2019 that the country has been breaching EU laws for not reducing excessive emissions of nitrogen, which it said was harmful to plants and animals in some natural environments.
The EU climate change policy aims to achieve the United Nations’ 2015 Paris Agreement target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, saying this is needed to curb the rise of global temperatures. The agreement is considered a vital part of the U.N. Agenda 2030 for sustainable development.
Dutch farmers say they are being unfairly targeted by the measures, and at various times since the announcement, tens of thousands have gathered, driving tractors and snarling traffic, to protest the government’s plans.
The requirements for a reduction in livestock come amid global food shortages and skyrocketing fuel and fertilizer prices.
Annika Wang, Annie Wu, Brian Gan, Cai Wei, Katherine Liu, and Vivian Yu contributed to this report