Trudeau slams ‘hateful rhetoric’ at trucker protest in Ottawa, won’t meet convoy – Vancouver Island Free Daily
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau denounced the “hateful rhetoric” of the convoy of truckers currently protesting COVID-19 vaccine mandates and restrictions during a press conference Monday, January 31.
Trudeau held his press conference from isolation after he and two of his children tested positive for the virus. The Prime Minister said he was feeling well and would continue to work while following public health guidelines.
Trudeau said he understands it’s frustrating to all Canadians that COVID-19 is still affecting their lives to such a degree nearly two years into the pandemic, but that some of the hatred seen during the protest, including swastikas, Confederate flags and the desecration of memorials was unacceptable.
Some protesters jumped on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and covered the statue of Terry Fox with anti-vaccine posters and an upside-down Canadian flag, drawing criticism from many officials.
“Freedom of speech, assembly and association are cornerstones of democracy, but Nazi symbolism, racist imagery and the desecration of war memorials are not,” Trudeau said. “It is an insult to memory and to truth.”
He took aim at politicians who have been seen in convoys across the country, urging them to “think long and hard about the consequences of your actions”.
Trudeau pointed the finger at Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole. Some Tory MPs have met or expressed support for the trucking convoy, although O’Toole himself has denounced the “gross disrespect” of those who desecrated memorials in the capital.
“We have seen over the past many, many months Conservative politicians sharing vaccine misinformation, encouraging conspiracy theories online and I think Erin O’Toole is going to have to think very carefully about how he takes a path that supports those people who do not. represent truckers, not to mention the vast majority of Canadians,” he said. The Canadian Trucking Alliance has denounced the desecration of monuments in the capital and has said in the past that 90% of truckers are fully vaccinated, a rate that mirrors that of the general population.
The Prime Minister said he would not meet with these protesters as he has in the past with Indigenous groups and Black Lives Matter, citing hate symbols and rhetoric adopted by some members of the truck convoy and their supporters .
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