For the past several days, the Mayor of Ottawa, Jim Watson, has basically functioned as the Prime Minister of Canada. This is because the country’s actual Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, went into hiding a couple of days before the truck convoy showed up in Canada’s capital city, Ottawa.
Now I may not agree with what Watson did, but at least he was trying to do something as thousands of truckers poured into Ottawa demanding an end to the federal government’s COVID mandates.
Not only were people watching this event around the world, it was also a federal matter, not a municipal one. Watson even pleaded to Trudeau for help by setting up a dialogue with protestors:
Instead, Trudeau came out of hiding to once again insult the tens of thousands of Canadian participating in the ‘Freedom’ demonstrations taking place across the country:
Having, a few days earlier, referred to them as Nazis and racists:
But people are asking a bigger question, why is the Trudeau government still imposing COVID mandates when Omicron is no worse than the seasonal flu?
And because of this, there are cracks appearing. One of Trudeau’s own Liberal Members of Parliament, Joel Lightbound , publicly criticized Trudeau’s mandates and his approach.
He was critical of Trudeau’s divisiveness and added others in the Liberal party are feeling the same. He wondered why his government is stubbornly refusing to adjust the COVID mandates in light of Omicron.
He called on the demonstrators to end their protest and for the Trudeau government to address their concerns.
The federal government needs to quickly offer a road map for the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, according to Quebec Liberal MP Joël Lightbound, citing mental health concerns from pediatricians and the parents of depressed children, and the inability of many to earn a living from a “MacBook at their cottage.”
Lightbound, MP for Louis-Hébert, chair of the industry committee and the Quebec Liberal caucus, and a former parliamentary secretary to the finance minister, said the Liberal government has changed in policy and in tone since last year’s election campaign and appears unwilling to adapt to the evolution of the pandemic.
“Now the approach stigmatizes people and divides people,” he told reporters this morning, pointing to the loosening of restrictions in European countries with lower vaccination rates than Canada.
Lightbound said he raised his concerns in caucus to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, but owes it to constituents to publicly voice his concerns. He said other Liberal MPs share his concerns and that the party has historically been “open for dissent and different opinions.”
Lightbound wants the federal government to: provide “quantifiable parameters” for current measures such as the threshold for hospitalization publish studies and scientific advice underpinning current measures start negotiating with the provinces on the Canada Health Transfer, calling the federal position “hard to understand” in terms of the timing of negotiations.
Lightbound also said demonstrators causing disruption and gridlock in Ottawa need to move, but their concerns need to be addressed.
While Trudeau remains defiant and divisive, the premiers of Canadian provinces are now talking about ending their provincial Omicron mandates:
“The protected class versus the working class, East versus West, urban versus rural — the protest is a marker of all these unfortunate divides.“