The Freedom Convoy’s Impact on Supporters: Jenna Quenneville

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As the Freedom Convoy gained momentum in Canada, protesters were facing challenges in their own personal lives. Provinces were engaging in extended lockdown measures that were making less sense Many were finding that coworkers would complain to management if they were attending anti-lockdown protests and demonstrations. My guest, Jenna Quenneville found this out first-hand. Jenna worked at a local hospital, attended an ‘End the Lockdown’ protest and was later suspended and fired for her position.

Were government measures going too far curtailing individual civil liberties and freedoms? Jenna shares her story.

What were the “End the Lockdown” Protests about in Canada?

The end of lockdown protests in Canada were largely in response to government restrictions put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19. These restrictions included measures such as the closure of non-essential businesses, stay-at-home orders, and limits on gatherings. Some individuals and groups opposed these measures, arguing that they were unnecessary and violated their rights and freedoms. The protests aimed to raise awareness about these concerns and push for the reopening of the economy and society.

The lockdown measures in Canada had several drawbacks, including:

  • Economic impact: The closure of non-essential businesses and restrictions on gatherings resulted in significant job losses and financial hardship for many individuals and businesses.
  • Mental health: The lockdown measures and social distancing measures put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19 resulted in increased feelings of isolation, anxiety, and depression for many people.
  • Education: The closure of schools and move to online learning disrupted the education of many students and created challenges for both students and teachers.
  • Civil liberties: Some individuals and groups argued that the lockdown measures were an infringement on their civil liberties and freedoms, such as the right to assembly and freedom of movement.
  • Disparate impact: The lockdown measures and their economic impact may have disproportionately affected certain communities, such as low-income families and marginalized groups.

What was the Impact of the COVID-19 Lockdown Measures on Young People?

The lockdown measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic had several negative consequences on young people, including:

  • Education disruption: The closure of schools and transition to remote learning disrupted the education of many students and created challenges for both students and teachers.
  • Social isolation: Young people are known to value social interaction and the restrictions on gatherings and social distancing measures put in place during the lockdown caused feelings of loneliness and isolation for many.
  • Mental health: The pandemic and lockdown measures have had a significant impact on the mental health of young people, leading to increased rates of anxiety, depression, and stress.
  • Loss of opportunities: The lockdown measures have resulted in the cancellation of many events, sports, and activities that young people participate in, resulting in a loss of opportunities and experiences.
  • Economic impact: Some young people have been affected by job losses and financial hardship as a result of the economic disruption caused by the lockdown measures.

What was the Impact to Jenna after attending an End the Lockdown Protest?

Jenna felt strongly that the federal government was going too far in the COVID-19 vaccine mandates, lockdowns and social distancing. After attending an End the Lockdown protest, close friends took photos and let Jenna’s employer, a hospital at the time, know Jenna was in attendance.

As well, people started coming after Jenna’s sister

What attracted Jenna to the Freedom Convoy?

At first, Jenna felt it was ‘too good to be true’ – the Convoy was echoing the feelings she had towards the federal government and the lockdowns that were being enacted. She felt that freedoms were being infringed upon greatly and felt compelled to do something. Jenna attended the Freedom Convoy’s last stop before heading to Ottawa – and made breakfast for protesters. Jenna and her friend found an old school bus and made breakfast out of it for the Convoy.

The freedom convoy was likely attractive to many people for various reasons, including:

  1. Economic and individual freedoms: Some people may have been deeply affected by the closure of non-essential businesses and the restrictions on gatherings, leading to job losses and financial hardship. They may have felt that the government’s measures were having a negative impact on the economy and were eager to return to normal life.¬†Individual freedoms: Some people may have felt that the lockdown measures were an infringement on their individual rights and freedoms, such as the right to assembly and freedom of movement. They may have felt that the measures were overly restrictive and unjustified.
  2. Dissatisfaction with government response: Some people may have been dissatisfied with the government’s handling of the pandemic and felt that the measures were not effective or necessary.

What is Jenna’s Thoughts on the Negative Impacts of the Convoy?

The freedom convoy, like any mass gathering, carried potential public health risks and had negative consequences, including:

  • Strains on public health resources: The freedom convoy and its associated events put additional strain on public health resources, including hospitals and health care workers who were already stretched thin during the pandemic.
  • Public safety risks: The freedom convoy involved large numbers of people traveling on highways and roads, which could have posed a risk to public safety.
  • Political and social tensions: The freedom convoy and associated events were politically and socially charged, and may have contributed to increased tensions between different groups in society.

For Jenna, the reason for the protest largely had to do with the government’s inaction. The Liberal government refused to meet protesters and talk about the impacts. The sense of frustration and anger was extremely high and the federal government were continuing to make disparaging remarks characterizing both the protesters and the movement as a whole in a very negative light. As a result, protesters dug-in further and continued to petition the government to talk to them.

What has Jenna Learned About this Experience?

The experience of the Freedom Convoy really showcased to Jenna what could be possible with united action when governments go too far in curtailing rights and freedoms. Civil liberties must be protected and Jenna has felt a stronger sense of community and connecting with others who are like-minded. It has not come without a price: posting these ideas online can come with backlash. Now, Jenna feels confident to be OK with both the good and bad from her actions.

Follow Jenna on social media: @thatblondefreedomchick

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