A picture of the tiny tree growing out of a rock in the middle of Fairy Lake. The word HOPE is next to the tree.

Photo Credit: Adam Gibbs / Natural History Museum

Where is the Hope in Honking?

We're a little like the folks who supported the convoy, but not in ways you expect

Hope and trust are hard in 2022

Folks across the country have been waving Canada flags and honking horns on Saturdays for weeks now. For some of us, the horns are annoying. The traffic is terrible. And COVID protections are loosening, so why keep this up?

But for others, the horns sound like hope.

If you’re like us, you’re probably sort of fed up. But maybe you’re also a little impressed. How can anyone pay attention to one thing long enough to join a convoy every weekend? Some of us can’t even remember what day our favourite show comes out!

The team at Canadaland interviewed three people who gave money to the original convoy in Ottawa. In some cases, they gave a lot of money. So we tuned in to see if we could learn why the highways still fill up with flags on Saturday afternoons.

And it turns out we have a few things in common with the convoy supporters they interviewed. We go about things a little differently than they do. But in some important places, we overlap.

They don’t trust the government

The three people interviewed on Canadaland don’t trust the government. But, guess what—neither do we!

Since COVID hit, it seems like you either have to trust the government entirely or hate it. There’s no middle ground.

But you know what? It’s hard to trust the government when they’re bad at managing emergencies. Or when they don’t give us all the COVID information we need. Or when they give heaps of public money to big corporations.

But we need to remember that governments can be a force for good. Governments can help us do big things we can’t do on our own. Government can help us raise the bar for everyone. But our governments in Ottawa and Victoria seem to have lost their way.

But the convoy folks seem really focused on Trudeau. Let’s be real. He messed up huge by going on vacation instead of meeting with the Indigenous people who had just discovered the unmarked graves of children.

Folks with “Fuck Trudeau” signs plastered to their cars say he’s a member of the elite. That he doesn’t care about regular people. And when you compare him to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, it’s easy to see why.

Zelensky got into a bunker and ate with his people when Russian bombs started falling. He cries on TV when he talks about how much he loves his people. And his people see themselves in him.

That’s what leaders look like. And it’s damned hard to picture Trudeau in a bunker.

They don’t trust the media

And again, neither do we! That’s part of why we started VanIsle News in the first place.

Folks in the Canadaland interviews said that the media aren’t telling the whole story. Instead, they said the media just wants people to be afraid. And it’s not hard to see how folks might think that.

In the news business, there’s a sad saying, “if it bleeds, it leads.” That’s because, as humans, we tend to get really focused on the bad stuff. So the media figured out a long time ago that bloody stories sell lots of papers.

But lots of people turn away from lots of bad news. One woman Canadaland interviewed said she stopped looking at the news 20 years ago. She said that every time she looked, there was a story about someone being murdered.

And with COVID, the fire hose of bad news has been hard to ignore.

Here’s where we think differently than the convoy supporters, though. We don’t believe the media is run by evil masterminds who want you to be afraid all the time. But we do think there are big problems.

For one, small, local newspapers can’t afford to keep running, so we lose a lot of important local stories. It’s hard to trust media outlets that don’t know where we come from.

With the small outlets gone, most news comes through big companies who want to make a lot of money. So guess what makes a lot of money? Yep—bad news. And what costs a lot of money? Engaging journalism that digs up stories about corrupt politicians.

News media is broken. And it’s going to take a lot of hard work to fix it.

They need something to be hopeful about

All three of the folks who Canadaland interviewed said they needed some hope. Wow, we can really relate to this one.

After two years of COVID and a new war in Europe, we all need a little hope.

The folks who supported the convoy said that seeing people coming together for a cause gave them hope. But we see hopeful things all the time. Right here on VanIsle.

We see people in Tahsis and Zeballos who supported one another when the power was off for a week.

We see folks on the Island coming up with new companies, new products, and new ways of running old industries.

We see people coming together to tackle scary things like climate change. And to bring our rivers back to life. Right here at home.

There are incredible communities here on VanIsle. So maybe next Saturday, more folks will go hang out in their communities instead of honking alone in their cars.

Because that’s where the real hope is.