Wednesday, February 21

Canada’s Trudeau ‘not intimidated’ by trucker protest, says he has COVID


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OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday said Canadians were disgusted by the behavior of some people protesting against COVID-19 vaccine mandates in Ottawa and said he would not be intimidated.

Dozens of trucks and other vehicles have jammed up the city center since Friday. Thousands descended upon Parliament Hill to complain about Trudeau, COVID-19 vaccine mandates and masking requirements.

Police said most demonstrators have been peaceful but local residents complain about the non-stop blaring of truck horns and some demonstrators using the streets as a toilet. Some also harassed a homeless shelter and demanded staff give them food – the shelter said on Twitter https: //twitter.com/sghottawa/status/1487854425368633344?s=20&t=kEg-rFCfLexiGKxwSlRv1A – while others flew Nazi flags.

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“We are not intimated by those who hurl abuse at small business workers and steal food from the homeless,” Trudeau told a news conference.

“We won’t give in to those who fly racist flags. We won’t cave to those who engage in vandalism … There is no place in our country for threats, violence, or hatred.”

Senior members of the official opposition Conservative Party, which last year lost its third consecutive election to Trudeau’s Liberals, have praised the demonstrators.

Trudeau said Conservative leader Erin O’Toole should “reflect very carefully on how he’s walking a path that supports these people who do not represent truckers.”

But the Conservatives say Trudeau is ignoring the pain of thousands fighting for their livelihoods.

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“This country right now is a raw nerve and the prime minister is jumping up and down on it again and again with his inflammatory rhetoric,” finance spokesman Pierre Poilievre told the House of Commons.

Trudeau earlier announced he had contracted COVID-19 https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-canada-trudeau-idCAKBN2K5191 but was feeling fine and would be working remotely. For security reasons he was moved to an unspecified location on Saturday.

‘AS LONG AS IT TAKES’

Police on the weekend said they expected some trucks would start leaving by Monday, even as some protesters insisted they would stay.

One of the groups involved said it wanted to gather 1,000 people to go into a mall and shop without masks. The Rideau Centre, a large nearby mall, said it would be shut for a second day on Monday.

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The demonstration started as a protest against a vaccine requirement for cross-border drivers https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/canadas-trudeau-slams-fear-mongering-over-covid-vaccine-mandate-truckers-2022 -01-24, but then developed into a demonstration against Trudeau and COVID-19 policies in general.

According to trucking executives, around 90% of drivers have been inoculated. The Conservatives argue the cross-border vaccine mandate is causing shortages of food imported from the United States and driving up inflation.

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra disagreed, telling reporters that “this mandate has not had a measurable impact on the volume of traffic crossing our borders.”

Truck driver Marian Tudor said he could no longer haul goods across the border because he is unvaccinated. He was parked in front of parliament with a trailer full of food, suggesting he planned a long stay.

Tudor, 61, said he was willing to stay “as long as it takes, until we get these mandates removed for everybody.” He accused the government of using “fake science.” (Additional reporting by Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernadette Baum, Howard Goller, Bill Berkrot and Aurora Ellis)

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financialpost.com