After confirming he and two of his children tested positive for COVID-19, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the actions of the demonstrators in Ottawa.
"Over the past few days, Canadians were shocked and, frankly, disgusted by the behaviour displayed by some people protesting in our nation's capital. We are not intimidated by those who hurl insults and abuse at small business workers, and steal food from the homeless.PM Justin Trudeau
"We won’t give in to those who fly racist flags, we won’t cave to those who engage in vandalism or dishonour the memory of our veterans... There is no place in our country for threats, violence or hatred."
He confirmed that he will not meet with this convoy of protestors.
"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, but I have also chosen to not go anywhere near protests that have expressed hateful rhetoric, violence towards fellow citizens and a disrespect, not just of science but of the frontline health workers, and quite frankly, the 90 per cent of truckers who have been doing the right thing to keep Canadians safe, to put food on our tables," Trudeau said.
"There is always a right to protest peacefully that I and others will defend fully as part of this democracy. There is not a right to incite violence, to perform acts of violence or to spew hatred."
The prime minister said that all individuals who have engaged in this behaviour over the past days "need to stop."
"To anyone who joined the convoy but is rightly uncomfortable with the symbols of hatred and division on display, join with your fellow Canadians, be courageous and speak out," Trudeau said.
"To the nearly 90 per cent of truckers across the country who have gotten vaccinated, who continue working hard to keep us fed and keep our economy moving, thank you... We have relied on you and you can rely on us to continue to stand with you and allow you to do your jobs safely."
Conservatives 'exploiting people’s fears'
Canada's prime minister also called out politicians who are "exploiting people’s fears," particularly Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole, who met with truckers on Friday.
"I think all politicians need to think very carefully about who they’re supporting, about what messages they’re putting out," Trudeau said.
"We have seen over the past many, many months, Conservative politicians sharing disinformation about vaccines, encouraging conspiracy theories online and I think Erin O’Toole is going to need to reflect very carefully on how he’s walking a path that supports these people who do not represent truckers, let alone the vast majority of Canadians."
When asked specifically about individuals in Canada who have questions about COVID-19 vaccines, the prime minister stressed that vaccines are safe and effective, and are "the way to get through this pandemic."
"Yes, the concerns expressed by a few people gathering in Ottawa right now are not new, not surprising, are heard, but are a continuation of what we’ve unfortunately seen in disinformation and misinformation online, conspiracy theorists about microchips, about god knows what else that goes with the tinfoil hats," Trudeau said.
"We have been clear every step fo the way that the work our frontline health workers, the work our scientists and researchers are doing, the people at Health Canada, the people working on these vaccines all around the world, is the work that will get us trough this, get us back to the things we love."