Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday slammed the massive Freedom Convoy of Truckers that rolled into the city over the weekend, accusing the truckers of “flying racist flags, desecrating a war memorial, insulting small business owners, and stealing from the homeless.
Trudeau left his Ottawa residence on Saturday as the Freedom Convoy was converging on the city, and reportedly spoke from an undisclosed location in the National Capital Region.
Trudeau, who received his booster shot on January 4, confirmed that he has tested positive for COVID-19, and urged everyone to “get vaccinated and boosted.”
This morning, I tested positive for COVID-19. I’m feeling fine – and I’ll continue to work remotely this week while following public health guidelines. Everyone, please get vaccinated and get boosted.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) January 31, 2022
In a transparent attempt to delegitimize the popular protest, Trudeau seized on media reports of two problematic flags that were seen over the weekend near the Freedom Convoy—a Nazi flag, and a Confederate Flag—and the alleged vandalism of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The flags were carried by suspected infiltrators who were not welcome at the event.
In his comments, Trudeau used the isolated incidents to smear the thousands of decent, law-abiding Canadians at the protest.
“I know you’re wondering about what we saw in our Capital city this weekend,” Trudeau intoned. “As my friend Irwin Cotler said on Saturday, freedom of expression, assembly, and association are cornerstones of of democracy; but Nazi symbolism, racist imagery, and desecration of war memorials are not. It is an insult to memory and truth,'” he continued.
“Over the past few days Canadians were shocked and frankly disgusted by the behavior displayed by some people protesting in our nation’s capital,” Trudeau added. “I want to be clear, we are not intimidated by those who hurl insult and abuse at small business workers and steal food from the homeless. We won’t give in to those who fly racist flags. We won’t cave to those who engage in vandalism or dishonor the memory of our veterans.”
While slamming the Freedom Convoy as something he would never go near, Trudeau pointed out that he is not against all demonstrations. He said he has attended Black Lives Matter protests in the past because he agreed with “their concerns and their issues.”
“I have attended rallies and protests in the past when I agreed with the goals, when I supported the people expressing their concerns and their issues—Black Lives Matter is an excellent example of that. But I’ve also chosen not to go anywhere near protests that express hateful rhetoric, violence toward fellow citizens, and a disrespect not just of science, but of the frontline health workers and quite frankly the 80 percent of truckers who have been doing the right thing to keep Canadians safe.”
Justin Trudeau says that he will not support or "go anywhere near" the Freedom Convoy for expressing a "disrespect" of frontline health workers, "hateful rhetoric" and "violence towards citizens," unlike Black Lives Matter, which he endorses and whose protests he has attended. pic.twitter.com/JAPseQ9vXD
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) January 31, 2022
Trudeau said the protesters have made their voices heard and that the demonstration “needs to stop.”
“There is no place in our country for threats, violence or hatred, so to those responsible for this behavior, it needs to stop,” he said.
“To anyone who joined the convey but is rightly uncomfortable with the symbols of hatred and division on display, join with your fellow Canadians,” Trudeau intoned. “Be courageous and speak out. Do not stand for or with intolerance and hate.”
On January 30, Ottawa police confirmed that there are several criminal investigations underway in relation to the desecration of the National War Memorial and the Terry Fox statue, as well as “threatening/illegal/intimidating behaviour to police/city workers and other individuals and damage to a city vehicle.”
While Trudeau and the corporate media are focusing on a few negative, highly suspicious incidents, the truth is, the Freedom Convoy has been an overwhelmingly peaceful, patriotic and joyous event.
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) January 31, 2022
"What's the latest?"
"I've heard we've got over a 120k trucks around Ottawa and in Ottawa." pic.twitter.com/4PkK6bLLN8
— The Columbia Bugle 🇺🇸 (@ColumbiaBugle) January 31, 2022
30.01. Ottawa – "policemen", that's how you behave towards the people! pic.twitter.com/eQdgBn3mTa
— Wittgenstein (@backtolife_2019) January 31, 2022
Meanwhile in Truckistan pic.twitter.com/86mkALutHf
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) January 30, 2022
Sound on! Monday morning 8 am, Ottawa. The sound of freedom. pic.twitter.com/PEkFU3Shei
— RadioGenova (@RadioGenova) January 31, 2022
The truckers know why they are fighting 🇨🇦🙏🏻🇺🇸
May God bless and keep thempic.twitter.com/UtDKJlLUXR
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) January 31, 2022
— Wittgenstein (@backtolife_2019) January 31, 2022
Trudeau: "Truckers in Ottawa hateful and violent"
Truckers in Ottawa… pic.twitter.com/CWSO0vwKcr
— Wittgenstein (@backtolife_2019) February 1, 2022
Members of the convoy say they plan to stay as long as it takes for their concerns to be addressed.