To the Editor:

What were they thinking?

Between the 1st and 4th of February I stayed at my partner’s condo on the corner of Somerset and Elgin while I was undergoing cataract surgery. In the morning prior to the surgery, we went for a walk in front of the Parliament buildings to witness firsthand what the protest was like. While we could hear the hum of horns from Somerset Street – 10 blocks away – the noise was deafening in front of Parliament. What the residents had to put up with was terrible, not just the noise but the intimidation as well.

My daughter lives on the corner of Kent and Somerset. During the first weekend of the protest she and other young residents of her condominium helped the elderly cross the street to an Independent grocery store to help them to get food. At the Independent, protestors refused to wear masks and harassed shoppers who were wearing masks. As my daughter works from home, she found the noise unsettling and stressful.

After a week of disruptions, farmers from Eastern Ontario decided that it was a good idea to join in the protest, in spite of the fact that it was well-known what effect the protestors were having on the people who live in the downtown core. As one who was born on a dairy farm and who has been able to live in the country while teaching in a city, all my life, I felt that I understood the values of country people – help your neighbours, treat people as you would like to be treated, be kind.

So what happened this past weekend when farmers from Eastern Ontario decided to join the group who has caused havoc on the citizens of downtown Ottawa? They had to know how their fellow citizens were suffering from the siege on their homes and businesses. They must have realized that they were preventing people from working at their small restaurants and businesses. They must have known that they were disorienting the poor, the homeless and the mentally ill – who they were preventing from getting the help they needed.

We are accustomed to seeing farmers bringing produce to the Farmers’ Market in the downtown core of Ottawa. Frequently you would see the signs, ‘Farmers feed cities’. Yet this past weekend the farmers decided to hurt the clients who buy their produce. What were they thinking?

How would the farmers feel if city people descended on Vankleek Hill, Alexandria, Winchester and Finch and closed down pharmacies, hardware stores, grocery stores and other small businesses, as well as harass the elderly who dared to go out on the streets – all the while blowing their horns and shouting for freedom.

Please do not tell the public that your protests are carried out to protect their freedom. The people who live in the area where the protests are being held have lost their freedom to live in peace.

This past weekend my daughter came out to my farm so she could get away from the stress of living in the protest zone. Because she can work remotely she said that she will come back during the week to reduce her stress.

I am very disappointed by the thoughtless behaviour of my fellow farm dwellers who believe that it is okay to harass their fellow citizens in the name of freedom.


Cameron Rodger
Vankleek Hill