By Sue Tiffin
Scott Danilko said a local rally he organized for people to voice their opposition against federal and provincial vaccine mandates and support the “Freedom Convoy” currently happening in Ottawa was larger than he had anticipated.
“It was a heck of a lot bigger than what I ever dreamed,” he told the Times.
Haliburton Highlands OPP said there were about 60 vehicles in the procession of cars, trucks and SUVs, many of them decorated with Canadian flags, that left Kawartha Dairy’s parking lot in Minden on Feb. 5, driving through Minden’s downtown, Haliburton village, West Guilford, Carnarvon and back to Minden. A roadside rally also took place in Haliburton. Danilko said in a video he saw of the rally along the route, there were approximately 125 vehicles involved.
The event was organized through a Facebook page created on Feb. 2 that has, at press time, 1,300 members. Admins for the public group are Robyn Shaw and Holly Archer.
“I’m basically for three things: I’m for unity, hope and freedom,” said Danilko. “The unity, we definitely pulled our community together, and we gave the people along our routes hope and hopefully we get freedom in the end with all this. I stand behind our truckers and our country.”
Danilko said to him, freedom means freedom of choice regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. He said he is pro-choice, and doesn’t think people should lose their jobs over their vaccination status.
“I’d like to see our country united again, everybody on the same page,” he said. “Hopefully everything comes through and we get our free country again.”
The protest in downtown Ottawa has been ongoing since Jan. 28, the City of Ottawa declaring a state of emergency this past weekend and a judge granting an interim injunction to stop the steady honking of horns for the next 10 days. Initially the protest focused on federal vaccine requirements for cross-border truckers, but now includes demonstrations against public health measures, including masking and vaccine passports, which were put into place by the provincial government.
Danilko said another local rally is planned for the upcoming weekend.
“Sounds like this weekend’s going to be even bigger than the last one,” he said.
Police reported no incidents related to the local rally.