In early 2022, the Canadian government found itself confronted by a group of truck drivers—in what came to be known as the “Freedom Convoy”—protesting government-imposed restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This article evaluates how mediation could—and should—have been used as an effective means for the government and protestors to resolve their dispute. It begins by defining the government health and safety measures that prompted the protests and describing the ensuing protest movement by the Freedom Convoy. The article then discusses the protest’s implications on commerce and on the communities where it was located. Next, the article describes the unilateral approach the Canadian government took to shutting the protests down by force. The article then explores some of the general benefits of mediation as a dispute resolution process, and argues that mediation could have been used to avoid some of the consequences of the Canadian government’s retaliation to the Freedom Convoy protest. To demonstrate the potential benefits of the proposed mediation, that such a mediation could have been successful, and that a procedure exists that an appointed mediator could have followed, the article compares the proposed mediation to two well-established types of mediation: public policy mediation and labor–management mediation. The article goes on to address counterarguments by acknowledging some potential benefits of the government’s unilateral approach, but maintains that mediation could have achieved those benefits as well, particularly an expedient return to the flow of commerce. Finally, the article pushes back on the argument that a “failed mediation” would have been a waste of time, as even mediations with no agreements can bring some satisfaction to the parties involved. The article does not attempt to advocate for what the results of such a mediation should have been.
Teresa (Tessa) Griego,
Shifting into “Neutral”: Evaluating Mediation as a Peaceful Alternative to the Forceful Resolution of the 2022 Canada–Freedom Convoy Dispute,
23 Pepp. Disp. Resol. L.J.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.pepperdine.edu/drlj/vol23/iss1/3