Stephen Reimer

By co-opting its anti-money laundering and counterterrorist financing regime to deal with a vaccine mandate protest that has paralysed its capital, Canada sets a dangerous precedent for authoritarian onlookers.

Restrictive measures imposed to combat the coronavirus pandemic are slowly being lifted in countries across Europe and North America. But when Canadian lorry drivers were told that they would need to be vaccinated to cross the US–Canada border without having to quarantine, this sparked an anti-mandate protest the likes of which the country had not seen throughout the pandemic. Perhaps this is what caught authorities off-guard: while much of the world was looking forward to ditching vaccine passports and taking holidays abroad, anti-vaccine sentiment and pent-up frustration with restrictions on personal freedoms have erupted in epic proportions in the great white north.

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