“This is our lane”: Autistics speak out against antivax rallies in Ottawa, Toronto

Image by Glacier Medical Associates

Autistics for Autistics unequivocally condemns the antivaccine convoy rallies in Toronto, Ottawa and elsewhere in Canada. The convoys, organized by Canada’s white supremacy movement and largely funded by big money from outside of Canada, are designed to create chaos and spread hate.

We have members who are Black, Indigenous and/or People of Colour who are targets of the racist terrorism that drives the rallies. Our members who live in downtown Ottawa and Toronto are afraid to leave their houses because they could be assaulted and harassed by racist ralliers. No, it’s not a few “bad apples” waving nazi flags—the entire protest is predicated on white supremacist ideology.

The modern antivax movement is fueled by the lie that “vaccines cause autism.” For the past 2 decades, antivaxxers have been arguing it’s better to revive deadly, vaccine-preventable illnesses than to have an autistic child. This ideology leads to the eugenics belief that autistic people should not even be born. It also relates to the antivax view that during pandemics disabled people and elders should be forced into isolation and left to die, rather than being cared for through simple public health measures like vaccines.

Vaccine mandates are the Trojan horse of the truckers’ rallies. Rally leaders are using the rhetoric of “freedom, rights and liberties” to normalize ideologies that dehumanize disabled people and elders—and to advance their agenda of racism and authoritarian ideology.

We condemn the federal and provincial politicians who have been cynically courting votes from the rally-goers. Equally complicit are the politicians and law enforcement officials who have been chillingly silent–refusing to take basic actions such as towing trucks and making arrests.

While we’ve been told we should “see the many sides” of the rallies, be quiet and “stay in our lane,” we disagree. As autistic people, this is our lane.

Vaccines save lives. Vaccines do not cause autism.