The Canadians who have disrupted travel and trade with the U.S. and occupied downtown Ottawa for nearly three weeks have been cheered and funded by American right-wing activists and conservative politicians who also oppose vaccine mandates and the country’s liberal leader.
Yet whatever impact the protests have on Canadian society and the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, experts say the outside support is really aimed at energizing conservative politics in the U.S.
Midterm elections are looming, and some Republicans think standing with the protesters up north will galvanize fund-raising and voter turnout at home, these experts say.
“The kind of narratives that the truckers and the trucker convoy are focusing on are going to be really important issues for the (U.S.) elections coming ahead,” said Samantha Bradshaw, a postdoctoral fellow at the Digital Civil Society Lab at Stanford University. “And so using this protest as an opportunity to galvanize their own supporters and other groups, I think it’s very much an opportunity for them.”