Conservatives in America are spreading four major lies as they hype the protests by some truck drivers in Canada who are protesting coronavirus vaccines, CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale reported Wednesday.
"Canadian protests against vaccine mandates, Covid-19 restrictions and the Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have captured attention in the US and abroad -- and prompted a flurry of misinformation, including a false claim that was promoted by prominent podcaster Joe Rogan and on Fox," Dale reported. "First, here's some quick background:The protests involve a minority of Canada's truck drivers, some far-right activists and a variety of other citizens. The demonstrations began in late January as a 'Freedom Convoy' of trucks and other vehicles. The convoy then turned into an ongoing demonstration in the Canadian capital of Ottawa, whose mayor declared a state of emergency on Sunday."
CNN explained that only a small percentage of truck drivers are participating in the protest.'"
"The convoy started after Canada began requiring truckers who cross the US border to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or have two-week quarantines upon returning home. The Canadian Trucking Alliance, the primary advocacy group for Canadian truckers, has opposed the protests and has said that more than 85% of Canadian truckers who regularly cross the border were fully vaccinated as of late January," CNN reported.
Dale noted the false reports of the number of trucks involved.
"The number of trucks involved in the protest was never anywhere close to 50,000; such a number of trucks would have taken up hundreds of miles more road space than this protest occupied. Canadian journalists put the number of trucks in the hundreds in late January," CNN reported. "Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly told reporters on January 31 that it was impossible to provide exact crowd-size figures but that he had 'heard' numbers as high as 18,000 total demonstrators -- not just truckers -- present in the city at the peak of the protest on January 29. No credible source has reported that the number of participating trucks in particular ever approached tens of thousands, let alone '50,000.'"
Dale noted backers of the protest have falsely captioned photos and videos.
CNN reported, "One video that has been shared on various social media platforms was captioned to claim that it showed South Carolina truckers heading to Ottawa to join the convoy -- but it actually showed an August 2021 truck parade in support of the Special Olympics, USA Today reported. A video of honking Brazilian truckers that circulated on Facebook was from a May 2021 demonstration in support of President Jair Bolsonaro, not a demonstration in solidarity with the Canadian truckers as some captions claimed, USA Today also reported. A photo of a massive protest crowd, shared in Twitter posts in both English and Spanish as if it were from Ottawa this year, actually depicted a 1991 demonstration in Moscow against the Communist government of the Soviet Union, Reuters reported. And another photo, which has been described in Facebook posts as a group of Amish people driving to support the convoy, is a shot of Old Order Mennonites simply going to church, PolitiFact reported."
Dale noted some supporters will also pushing the false claim that 50% of the Ottawa police force tendered their resignations.
"These claims were entirely false. Ottawa police spokesperson Constable Amy Gagnon said in Monday emails to CNN that 'there have been no resignations in relation to the Demonstration' and 'all available officers are working.' And the Canadian Armed Forces have not made any vow of "allegiance" in relation to the protests nor issued any dramatic statements of any kind about this issue. 'In short, no, we have not made any such comment,' a military spokesperson said in a Monday email to CNN," the network reported.
And there have also been false reports that the government had instructed Ottawa hotels to not rent rooms to protesters.
"The employees who took CNN's calls at the downtown Marriott and five other Ottawa hotels on Monday said their establishments had not been given any anti-protester instruction by any government; Patrick Champagne, press secretary to Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, told CNN that the claim 'is categorically false'; Alexander Cohen, spokesperson for Canadian Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino, called the claim 'ludicrous' and said that 'no one from the federal government has done that'; Steve Bell, president of the Ottawa Gatineau Hotel Association, said that 'to my knowledge there is no truth to this rumour.' As for the Marriott in particular, it had rooms available at the time of Subramanya's tweet on Sunday evening and again on Monday evening," CNN reported.
Read the full fact-check.
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