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Conservative MPs cheer on trucker convoy, voice opposition to vaccine mandates

Reference: CTV News

OTTAWA -- Conservative MPs are publicly cheering on the trucker convoy that’s making its way across the country with the intent of converging onto Parliament Hill this weekend, voicing opposition to the federal government’s mandatory vaccination policies.

The so-called “freedom convoy” was sparked by outrage over a vaccine mandate recently imposed on cross-border truckers, though the convoy has garnered support from anti-vaccine mandate groups who feel requirements to be vaccinated against COVID-19 curb their freedoms, and among those who dislike Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

While organizers say they are running a peaceful and law-abiding demonstration, experts have raised concerns over the online discourse related to the trucker convoy. From social media posts expressing anti-government and violent sentiments to a suggestion that the event could be like a Canadian version of the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, experts CTVNews.ca spoke with said that the messaging and rhetoric is veering into dangerous territory.

The convoy plans to arrive in Ottawa on Jan. 29 with the intention of taking its “fight to the doorsteps of our federal government,” to demand the vaccine mandates end.

With Parliament not back in session until Jan. 31 and the hybrid virtual format still in place it’s unlikely many federal officials will be in the parliamentary precinct when the convoy rolls in, though one Conservative MP has said he’s already in town ready for its arrival.

“I want to meet those truckers when they come here this week,” said Alberta MP Martin Shields in a video posted on his Twitter account.

The Parliamentary Protective Service has told CTV News that it is aware of the planned protest and is “closely monitoring the situation.”

“The Service adjusts its security posture on Parliament Hill and within the parliamentary precinct as required,” said the Parliamentary Protective Service in a statement.

Saskatchewan Conservative MP and former party leader Andrew Scheer met with the convoy as it passed through Regina on Monday night.

“Our position is that no one should lose their job for a healthcare decision. Truckers were essential workers for two years during the pandemic, and the government hasn’t explained why things need to change," he said to supporters.

Scheer is one of several MPs who have voiced support online for the initiative as well.

In a tweet thanking the truckers, he accused the prime minister of being “the biggest threat to freedom in Canada,” while former Conservative leadership candidate and Ontario MP Leslyn Lewis suggested the vaccine mandates “promote segregation.”... Read More