Telling the story of the convoy
"The Freedom Convoy: The Inside Story of Three Weeks that Shook the World" comes out today
As of this morning, I’m officially an author. Of something other than my own misfortune, no less.
My first book, The Freedom Convoy: The Inside Story of Three Weeks that Shook the World, is out today, published by Sutherland House in Toronto.
You can order it on Amazon, Indigo, directly from the publisher, or, I hope, from your local bookstore.
I am humbled that the book has been on Amazon’s bestseller list since it became available for pre-order a couple of weeks back. This success is in large part because there’s such an appetite for honest and accurate journalism about the convoy, which has been (regrettably) hard to come by.
The Freedom Convoy hadn’t even arrived in Ottawa and duelling narratives about it emerged. To Justin Trudeau, the truckers and protesters were a “fringe minority” with “unacceptable views.” To the countless people cheering from overpasses and shoulders along the convoy route and following the journey from home, they were Canadian heroes.
It wasn’t just in Canada. As the book discusses, there was international attention and a spate of copycat convoys around the world. It’s noteworthy that my first television interview request in connection to this book came from GB News in the United Kingdom, not CBC or CTV in Canada.
Mainstream media coverage overwhelmingly took the Trudeaupian view, publishing story after story that misrepresented the convoy, its goals, and its supporters. The media often painted the convoy as some violent insurrection – a curious claim given how early and often organizers denounced both violence and insurrection.
Trudeau’s vaccine mandate for truckers was the spark, but it quickly became a movement for all Canadians to be free of vaccine mandates and vaccine passports. To be free.
I remarked on my True North show a few days before the truckers arrived in Ottawa that the convoy was the first time in two years I felt optimistic about the Covid situation, because it seemed a cross-section of Canadians was starting to turn on the restrictions that had long outlived whatever usefulness they might have had.
I spent the first few days and last few days in Ottawa covering the convoy for True North, during which I saw first-hand the jubilant atmosphere this peaceful protest brought to Ottawa. There’s a reason bouncy castles and hot tubs became symbols of the convoy.
There was another layer to the convoy that few people saw, however. A sprawling network of command centres at downtown Ottawa hotels, satellite locations, a fuel depot and countless volunteers kept the convoy going. When I returned for what ended up being the last few days of the protest, I started interviewing key volunteers and organizers for a piece I planned to write about how this grassroots movement became so sophisticated.
The police crackdown halted this, of course, and my coverage pivoted to reporting on the swift removal of trucks and dismantling of encampments. My curiosity remained, however. I kept pestering a friend of mine about how I wanted someone to write a book about this whole thing before finally reaching the conclusion, I humbly submit, that I was better positioned than most to tell the story.
With a combination of my own on-the-ground observations and countless of hours of interviews with players at various levels of the convoy – many of whom are speaking for the first time through this book. I feature some of the well-known convoy figures, people like Tamara Lich, Benjamin Dichter, Chris Barber and Tom Marazzo. But also lesser-known ones who were critical to the convoy’s operations.
The Freedom Convoy: The Inside Story of Three Weeks that Shook the World traces the convoy back to its organic beginnings through to when police retook Wellington St. and expelled the protesters from downtown Ottawa.
It's not an exhaustive account of the convoy from all angles. There are elements of the story I have not addressed at length: the arguments for and against vaccines and vaccine mandates; what was happening inside police forces faced with a giant, carnival-like protest; the experiences of Ottawa citizens whose streets were taken over by the protesters, to name just a few. These angles were well-covered by media as events unfolded, often at the expense of delving into how and why the convoy came to be. The latter is the story I set out to tell, in large part because it was the story I wanted to read.
People can draw their own conclusions about the convoy, and I welcome that. My hope is that the convoy’s supporters and detractors will find the book illuminating. There are stories and events in the book that have never been reported elsewhere, including in this excerpt published this morning in The Line.
This is my first book, so be kind. But enjoy.
This is a more self-promotional edition of the newsletter than usual, so I may as well add to it here. I would encourage you to subscribe to the work I and my colleagues are doing at True North, and also subscribe to this newsletter, which I publish independently in lieu of regular columns I’ve traditionally written elsewhere.
As for The Freedom Convoy: The Inside Story of Three Weeks that Shook the World, you can order it on Amazon, Indigo, directly from the publisher, or, I hope, from your local bookstore.
Just preordered & subscribed. "Trudeaupian view" brilliant wordplay sir. Keep up the fantastic work, along with True North, of which I am also subscribed to. Ya'll independent media folks are saving Canada & I need to make sure to be there to support ya'll. Looking forward to reading the book! I'm sure it will be excellent!