Crowds waving Canadian flags lined the streets near the Lacombe Memorial Centre showing local support for the Trucker Convoy to Ottawa. The peaceful rally held on 50th Avenue spanned from 52nd Street to a little bit past 53rd Street in the downtown area of Lacombe.
The event’s organizer, Melissa Jukic says she believes it’s time to stand up for the children, the elderly, and to end all mandates.
“It's not just about vaccines. I think we've been divided as a country based off of vaccines. We need to be united as one because that's what Canada stands for. We're stronger together and together we stand up. I just believe that whether you're vaccinating or not, you should be respected regardless. The impact this has on our future, our children's future, and their children’s future needs to come to an end now,” said Jukic.
Jukic has a large family with seven children. She says their freedom is a huge aspect behind the rally as well as rights for all people and not just the vaccinated.
“We should not be muzzled no more. We should be able to see smiling faces, be able to understand one another, we should be able to have our children grow in a world where they can continue to do recreational skills with their parents there and being able to support them through that. [We should be] going into stores, able to wave at our neighbors, and have family gatherings amongst one another,” said Jukic.
She also believes the ongoing restrictions are having a negative impact on the mental health of many.
Jukic herself is unvaccinated but says she respects the right for other people to have their vaccinations. Regardless of where people stand on the topic of vaccinations, she believes it should be their choice. As an unvaccinated person, she says the ongoing restrictions are a challenge to her everyday life, especially during the winter.
“The fact that I am not allowed to enter certain areas without being masked and even the vaccinated have to be masked. Our freedom in taking our children out into public places, swimming, doing curricular activities for them so they can stay active in our one winter months is hard. I just believe that going to restaurants as a family, supporting our local businesses so they can strive and continue to strive [is important]. This has impacted us all in a very different way,” explained Jukic.
The ultimate goal for Jukic involving these protests is simple, she just wants Canadians to be heard. Overall, she was pleased to see the turnout in Lacombe.
“This isn't just about truckers, it's about our nurses, our doctors, our health care system. We need to stand for them,” added Jukic.
The organizer was also collecting donations for the Lacombe Food Bank as a way of supporting families in need in the community as well.