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Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Canada PM Justin Trudeau struggling - unable to handle truck crisis

There have been some uncharitable, unmerited comments comparing our Nation with the governance of neighbouring Pakistan and sometimes with Canada.  Imran khan led Pakistan is now in doldrums with people in Pak accusing him being the cause of many a troubles – and then there is Canada.

Recently there were International reports that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his family reportedly left their home in the country's capital and shifted to a secret location after a large-scale protest opposing COVID vaccine mandates converged on Parliament Hill.  What started as a protest dubbed as 'Freedom Convoy' against a vaccine requirement for cross-border truckers has grown into a large demonstration against the Trudeau government's coronavirus regulations.

A few months back, speaking   about farmers’ protests in India  – led by Sikh farmers for Punjab –  Trudeau had said: “I would be remiss if I didn’t start by recognizing the news coming from India about the protest by farmers. The situation is concerning. We are all very worried about family and friends Let me remind you, Canada will always be there to defend the rights of peaceful protest.” That unsavoury comments made India react strongly.  Indian foreign ministry summoned the Canadian high commissioner to India, Nadir Patel, and “informed that comments by the Canadian Prime Minister, some Cabinet Ministers and Members of Parliament on issues relating to Indian farmers constitute an unacceptable interference in our internal affairs.”

Justin Trudeau is no stranger to controversies – he  first got in trouble with the ethics commissioner in Dec 2017, when it came out that he’d broken conflict of interest rules by vacationing at the Aga Khan’s private island over Christmas. The WE Charity scandal, which broke in June when Canada was recovering from its first Covid-19 wave, led to the third ethics probe into Trudeau since his taking office in 2015, hurting his Liberal Party’s image less than a year after it lost its parliamentary majority in general elections.The SNC-Lavalin affair was a political scandal involving attempted political interference with the justice system by the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, and the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).

Miles away in Canada, Traffic has ground to a halt at the busiest border crossing in North America, as Canadian truckers and others angry with vaccine mandates spread their protest beyond Ottawa.Trucks started blocking the Ambassador Bridge linking the cities of Detroit and Windsor late on Monday, closing down traffic in both directions. On Tuesday, entry to Canada remained blocked while US-bound traffic slowed to a crawl. Each day, 8,000 trucks normally cross the bridge, which handles about 27% of trade between Canada and the US. Protesters also targeted another major border crossing in Coutts, Alberta.Canada’s capital city remained blockaded by hundreds of vehicles from the “freedom convoy” while protest organizers called for a meeting with all federal political leaders – except the prime minister, Justin Trudeau – to find a “peaceful resolution” to the crisis.

Now after all the advise to World on peace and resolving conflicts through negotiation, Ottawa police said on Tuesday that 23 arrests had been made in relation to the “unlawful demonstrations”.Ottawa deputy police chief Steve Bell told reporters that police had immobilized many of the heavy vehicles taking part in the blockade.He said about a quarter of the 418 protest trucks in the downtown area had children in them, and police were concerned for their welfare in relation to cold, noise, carbon monoxide risks and access to sanitation.On Monday Trudeau repeated his calls for an end to the protest, saying: “Individuals are trying to blockade our economy, our democracy, and our fellow citizens’ daily lives. It has to stop.”Addressing the House of Commons , the prime minister recognized that “this pandemic has sucked for all Canadians” and that “everyone is tired of having to wear masks and having to follow health restrictions,” but he noted that Canada had one of the highest vaccination rates in the world and implored his compatriots to continue listening to science.

“Those who are shouting at others because they’re wearing a mask do not define what it is to be the majority of Canadians,” he said.Only around 15% of the country’s truckers are unvaccinated and public health measures have been broadly supported. But the convoy protest has attracted a wide range of support from anti-government and fringe groups.The federal public safety minister, Marco Mendicino, said that after days of disruption and harassment including loud and persistent horn-honking, Ottawa residents feel like hostages in their own homes. “While everyone believes in the right to free speech, this convoy has crossed the line of acceptable conduct toward fellow Canadians many, many times,” said Mendicino.“There should be no differences across political parties in the way that we are dealing with this moment. It would be a terrible precedent to say that if you show up in the nation’s capital with heavy equipment and blockade the capital city that you can force reckless change in our public policy,” Mendicino said.

On Monday, an Ontario court judge approved an injunction sought by local residents to stop the honking for 10 days. But loud honking could be heard after the judgment was handed down, including from big rig trucks stationed directly in front of parliament.Tom Marazzo, an acting spokesperson for the convoy, said on Monday that the protesters wanted to go home but would not leave until the “job is done”.The initial motivation for the convoy was an announcement last year that truckers crossing the US-Canada border would need to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. But the protesters’ demands have grown to an end for all vaccine mandates, and even the toppling of the Trudeau government.  

The message from the Ottawa protesters has spread across the country and to the United States, where similar convoys are expected to arise. Late last week, Ottawa police said that the crowdfunding for the Canadian convoy had amassed considerable funding support from US individuals and groups.On Tuesday (February 8), Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took to Twitter to claim that protestors cannot stall the economy under the garb of democratic rights. The development comes two days after the Mayor of Ottawa declared a state of emergency over ‘Freedom Convoy’ protests in the Canadian capital city.In a tweet, he said, “Canadians have the right to protest, to disagree with their government, and to make their voices heard. We’ll always protect that right. But let’s be clear: They don’t have the right to blockade our economy, or our democracy, or our fellow citizens’ daily lives. It has to stop.”

Justin Trudeau vowed that the Canadian government will do everything necessary to bring the situation under control.  Dear Justin, right ! – every other Government has the same right to protect the law and law abiding citizens, and World sadly remembers the support and the voice that you shrieked those times.


With regards – S. Sampathkumar
9th Feb 2022. 

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