The World Unity convoy gathers outside of Winnipeg and announces a new message of peace

A convoy has formed in Dugald, Man., a year after convoy protesters smothered downtown Ottawa and blocked border crossings.  (CBC - photo credit)

A convoy has formed in Dugald, Man., a year after convoy protesters smothered downtown Ottawa and blocked border crossings. (CBC – photo credit)

A convoy this weekend set up an area south of Dugald, some 20km east of Winnipeg, where hundreds are expected from across the country to gather at what is known as “Camp Hope.”

Many members of the Manitoba convoy say they were part of the so-called Freedom Convoy in early 2022 that choked down downtown Ottawa and blocked border crossings in protest of COVID-19 mandates.

The Manitoba convoy was lined up just a day after the final report of the Emergencies Act inquiry was presented in the House of Commons, which found the federal government had reached the threshold for deployment last year. Organizers say their event is different from the Ottawa lockdown that ended a year ago.

“Camp Hope is not here to take down the government. We’re not here to block roads,” Camp Hope owner Walter Hiebert told CBC on Saturday.

“Camp Hope has nothing to do with the convoy … That pushed the mandates; this is what we bring. Bring people back together and bring groups back together and bring peace.”

Hiebert, who said he was pepper sprayed twice during the Ottawa blockade, owns the 50-acre property. He said the event was meant to “bring hope” to those suffering, as suicide has affected many families, including his own.

“God put it on my heart to build Camp Hope…there are so many lost souls right now,” he said.

In an email to CBC, Manitoba’s RCMP said they are aware of the Dugald convoy and are working with Winnipeg Police to ensure safety and prepare for a possible increased number of vehicles on nearby freeways.

The group is in “constant communication” with law enforcement, who visit the camp a few times a day, Hiebert said.

“We want to protect the police. The police want to protect us. We want to work with her and try to restore Canada.”

Peace, Love, Unity: Organizer

James Bauder, co-founder of the group Canada Unity and co-organizer of last year’s protest in Ottawa, previously announced a “Freedom Convoy 2.0” in January to take place in Winnipeg.

Bauder later said in a Facebook post that he was canceling the event for unspecified security reasons. The event was designed to draw attendees from across the country to the heart of the continent, which Hiebert says is a goal of Camp Hope.

“We are here to bring people together again, in peace, love and unity,” he told CBC on Saturday.



Hundreds are expected and a steady stream of people, including families with children, were seen entering the camp site while CBC was there. Speeches, music events and workshops were planned for the day.

The camp has rules designed to prevent people from using drugs and alcohol, Hiebert said, and there have been no incidents so far.

“We want to do this in peace,” he said. “The whole world is watching.”

Province sees emergency law as ‘excessive’

On Friday, Emergency Law Inquiry Commissioner Paul Rouleau said “a failure in policing and federalism” had created conditions that reached the very high threshold needed to invoke the Emergency Law last winter.

Calling out the Ontario police and government for missteps in their responses, he said government leaders at all levels at urgent moments “must rise above politics and work together for the common good.”

“Unfortunately, this did not always happen in January and February 2022,” he wrote.

It was the first time the law had been triggered since its inception in 1988.

Manitoba Attorney General Kelvin Goertzen said at a news conference on Friday that the province viewed the application of the law as “overkill.”

“Our position with the federal government remains that we do not need the powers of the emergency act in Manitoba,” he said.



A protest site in downtown Winnipeg was originally established in early 2022 in response to the federal government’s imposition of a vaccination order for truckers entering the United States, but it attracted a variety of groups disaffected by COVID-19 health restrictions .

The protest was eventually broken up, as was a blockade in Emerson, about 70 miles south of Winnipeg on the Canada-US border, which Goertzen attributed to the work of the Manitoba RCMP and the Winnipeg Police Department.

Protests are part of a democratic society, but Goertzen said the province would not accept any more blockades.

“People have the right to protest, but that right does not extend to disrupting the lives of others.”

In response to the final report of the Emergencies Act inquiry, Hiebert said only that he was “praying for the government”.

Coalition forms, convoy resists

A new coalition of nearly two dozen community and church groups, unions and organizations was formed in Winnipeg earlier this week and expressed concern about the Dugald convoy but said no counter-protests were planned for this weekend.

Community Solidarity Manitoba was launched at an event held Thursday at Broadway Disciples United Church to address social and racial inequalities and gaps in health care for Manitobans.

They called on the province and city of Winnipeg to ensure the health and safety of all Manitobans and to stop the Dugald convoys from carrying symbols and epithets of hate, as they say happened during last year’s protests in Winnipeg .

“Freedom of assembly does not extend to targeted harassment,” said coalition spokeswoman Diwa Marcelino.

At the end of the event, a man not affiliated with the coalition brandished an image of a swastika and urged viewers to do “really good journalism” about the symbol’s meaning beyond Nazi Germany. He refused to give his name and was ordered by the church minister to leave.

Hiebert claimed the weekend convoy’s message was peace and love. He said only the Canada and Camp Hope flags would be allowed to fly and people would abide by the rules.

“We are here to welcome everyone. If they do not follow Camp Hope rules, they will be asked to leave the premises.”



Camp Hope is scheduled to be completed by Tuesday. Hiebert said their intent was to bring people together rather than fight the government.

“We can stand together. We don’t have to fight,” he said.

“We’re trying to save our nation.”


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