On Wednesday, a debate on the floor of Canada’s House of Commons erupted into chaos after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau falsely accused a Conservative MP, a Jewish woman, of having Nazi sympathies due to her support for the ongoing trucker protests.
Fox News reports that Melissa Lantsman, the first Jewish woman to be elected to Parliament as a member of the Conservative Party, stood up to condemn Trudeau’s attacks against the truckers. Lantsman contrasted Trudeau’s words on the campaign trail back in 2015, where he called for the government “to trust Canadians,” with his more recent comments labeling all of the protesters as misogynistic, racist, women-haters, science-deniers, [and] the fringe.”
“When did the Prime Minister lose his way?” Lantsman asked rhetorically before sitting down.
When Trudeau rose to respond, he said that “Conservative Party members can stand with people who wave swastikas, they can stand with people who wave the Confederate flag.” Almost immediately, the chamber became filled with shouts of condemnation from many MPs, demanding that Trudeau apologize for his comments. Nevertheless, Trudeau continued speaking, adding that his government “will choose to stand with Canadians who deserve to be able to get to their jobs, to be able to get their lives back. These illegal protests need to stop, and they will.”
After Trudeau’s comments, Speaker of the House of Commons Anthony Rota restored order, with a comment reminding everyone, “including the Right Honorable Prime Minister, to use words that are not inflammatory in the House.”
Trudeau was subsequently lambasted by other Conservative MPs who spoke after the incident, with MP Dane Lloyd saying that “for the prime minister to accuse any colleague in this House of standing with a swastika is shameful. I’m giving the prime minister an opportunity. I’m calling on him to unreservedly apologize for this shameful remark.” Trudeau ignored Lloyd’s remarks.
Later the same day, Lantsman spoke again and introduced a formal point of order demanding an apology from Trudeau, stating that as “a member of this House and a descendant of Holocaust survivors … it’s never been singled out, and I’ve never been made to feel less.”
“Except for today,” she continued, “when the prime minister accused me of standing with swastikas. I think he owes me an apology. I’d like an apology and I think he owes an apology to all members of this House.” Trudeau had already left the chamber by the time she started speaking again.
Trudeau has repeatedly and baselessly accused the trucker protests of having Nazi sympathies, claiming without evidence that Nazi flags have been seen flying at the protests. He has received further criticism for his controversial decision to invoke emergency powers to shut down the protests, equating the peaceful anti-mandate protests to a national emergency, calling the protests “illegal,” and authorizing the arrest of numerous protesters for simply exercising their freedom of speech.
The protests have nevertheless proven extremely successful, forcing multiple provincial governments to rescind various COVID-19 mandates. When the protests first began in late January, occupying the capital city of Ottawa, Trudeau and his family initially fled the city in fear of the protesters.