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February 9, 2022

Macro view: Solidarity convoys oppose vaccine and mask mandates

Experts believe that the bold occupation of Ottawa was a coordinated effort of anti-vaccine and anti-government organisations, protesting in isolation earlier but brought together under Canada’s anti-vaccine trucker protest.

Jim Stanford

Jim Stanford, economist and director of the Centre for Future Work, retweeted an article shared by Justin Ling, a freelance investigative journalist, on how conspiracy theorists steered Canada’s anti-vaccine trucker protest. Thousands of protestors gathered near the parliament hill as truckers continued to protest in Ottawa, promising to stay as long as needed to prevent the country’s vaccine requirements.  

Experts claim that Ottawa’s occupation was a result of unrivalled coordination between anti-vax and anti-government organisations and activists, and has been seized on by similar groups around the world.

The ‘freedom convoy’ that left for Ottawa on 23 January was orchestrated by James Bauder, a conspiracy theorist who has endorsed the QAnon movement and also called Covid-19 pandemic ‘the biggest political scam in history’. Bauder’s group, Canada Unity, believes that the vaccine mandates and passports are illegal under Canada’s constitution, the Nuremberg Code, and other international conventions.

Bauder’s movement got support from other groups after the prime minister, Justin Trudeau, announced last year that truckers crossing the US-Canada border would have to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Another group called the Action4Canada also launched legal challenges to mask and vaccine mandates, posing that the pandemic was carried out in part by Bill Gates and a ‘new world (economic) order’ to enable the injection of 5G-enabled microchips into the population.

Pedro da Costa

Pedro da Costa, a Federal Reserve and economy correspondent at the Market news International, retweeted an article shared by the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE), on US wages growing at its fastest pace in decades in 2021, but prices growing even faster. Data further confirmed that consumer prices have risen 4.2% ever since the Covid-19 pandemic, bringing them 4.7% above the pre-pandemic trend.

Inflation accelerated over the last three months of 2021, growing at 9.1% annual rate measured by consumer price index for all urban consumers. Meanwhile, nominal wages in the US grew faster for some sectors relative to the pre-pandemic trend, but all sectors reported below-trend real wage growth.

Data further suggested that worker pay growth slowed during the initial days of the pandemic but rose steadily since the end of 2020. As a result, both nominal wages and nominal compensation were above their pre-pandemic trends in 2021. However, prices rose sharply in last year, and is likely to remain elevated.

Robin Brooks

Robin Brooks, chief economist at the Institute of International Finance (IIF), tweeted on Europe needing a plan. Brooks stated that the high inflation and rising global yield equilibrium that economies are transitioning into post-Covid is dangerous to highly indebted sovereign countries like Italy and Greece.

Brook explains via a chart on the spread of ten-year sovereign bonds over bunds, that the spreads are still low, but rising fast. Therefore, the European Central Bank’s (ECB) quantitative easing to expand economic activity and spending in the economy post-pandemic will not be possible with high inflation.

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