Trudeau denounces Freedom Convoy, praises Black Lives Matter

by mcardinal

Chris Lange, FISM News


Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused protesters at this weekend’s “Freedom Convoy” of spewing “hateful rhetoric” and “violence” on Monday, despite media reports that the massive weekend rally was overwhelmingly peaceful. 

Trudeau delivered the remarks at a virtual news conference, and while he had no kind words for the rally’s organizers – truck drivers he once praised for keeping Canada’s commerce flowing at the height of the pandemic – he spoke glowingly of his own involvement in Black Lives Matter protests. 

“I have attended protests and rallies 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,” the Prime Minister said. “But I have also chosen to not go anywhere near protests that have expressed hateful rhetoric, violence toward fellow citizens. And a disrespect, not just of science, but of the frontline health workers and quite frankly, the 90% of truckers who have been doing the right thing to keep Canadians safe, to put food on our tables.”

Trudeau, who went into hiding Saturday as thousands of demonstrators converged on Canada’s capital city of Ottawa, still refuses to speak to Freedom Convoy organizers about their concerns over his Jan.15 vaccination mandate for cross-border truckers.

The prime minister instead chose to draw a line in the sand with the issuance of a stern warning to anyone who opposes his policies:

Canadians know where I stand. This is a moment for responsible leaders to think carefully about where they stand and who they stand with.

Canadian Conservative politician Pierre Poilievre condemned Trudeau’s “inflammatory rhetoric” yesterday, saying that the prime minister is “jumping up and down again and again” on the “raw nerve” of the Candian people.

Meanwhile, Ottawa Police on Tuesday launched a hate crime hotline through which citizens can report offenses allegedly committed by demonstrators. The hotline is an apparent response to reports that protesters desecrated a national war memorial, harassed a homeless shelter guard, and removed a pride flag from a nearby resident’s home. Some also reported seeing demonstrators displaying flags emblazoned with the Confederate flag and swastikas.

“This kind of intimidation and bullying tactics, it’s causing great angst in the community. And here’s an example of homophobia,” Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said during the news conference. “We see examples downtown of racism and antisemitism, so it’s quite a collection of people that have arrived and that are really, quite frankly, terrorizing some of our residents in their neighborhoods.”

On Monday, Poilievre also spoke out against this attempt to brush all demonstrators with a broad stroke for the misdeeds of a few in the crowd. He said instead called for “personal responsibility” and that one should “always call out evil symbols and the individuals who are individually responsible for putting them up,”

Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly said at the briefing that police had “several active criminal investigations” underway, ranging “from bribery to threats to assault to the dangerous operation of vehicles.”

Soly said hotline operators will respond to any “criminal offenses, threats, assaults, hate-related crimes and mischiefs” reported against demonstrators and vowed to launch “immediate” investigations “until we have resolved it through charge and prosecution.” 

“No matter where you live, no matter where your vehicle’s registered, if you’ve come here and committed a crime, if you have committed a hate crime, you will be investigated,” said the police chief. “We will look for you, we will charge you. If necessary, we’ll arrest you, and we will pursue prosecutions against you.”

Social media users were quick to point out Sloly’s acknowledgment on Monday that no arrests were made over the weekend, with some suggesting the creation of the hotline was Trudeau’s attempt to unfairly malign demonstrators.