February 8th, 2022
Heather McPherson Statement on the Convoy Protests
For more than two weeks, Ottawa has been under siege from a small number of protestors using trucks to block city streets and harass citizens.
Others have blockaded the border at Coutts, and cities across the country, including Edmonton, have been subjected to traffic blockages and the overwhelming noise of truck horns.
We are all, understandably, tired of the pandemic, however what we are seeing in Ottawa, at the border in Coutts, in Edmonton, and across the country goes well beyond what is acceptable and the handling of these protests and blockades clearly demonstrate the bias of our police forces.
I will always support Canadians’ right to protest, but it is obvious that these protests are something different entirely, something very ugly that I cannot support. Overt hate, racism, and antisemitism has been a feature of these actions and protestors have repeatedly harassed, bullied, and threatened citizens.
My father was a trucker. These are not the truckers I grew up with around my kitchen table. But that’s because it’s clear that this is not about truckers at all. Most truckers – more than 90% according to their own professional association – are fully vaccinated. They have continued to work through challenging circumstances, and they deserve our thanks. The demonstrations in Ottawa and elsewhere are led by far-right extremist groups disguised as truckers, and they are directing their hate at those who are working to protect our public health.
I condemn hate in all forms. I will continue to work in Parliament to counter hate. I was honoured to second Peter Julian’s bill C-229 - An Act to amend the Criminal Code (banning symbols of hate) as an important step to countering hate.
Parliament must also face the truth about our country and our policing and use our power to rid our police forces of bias and abuse. Again and again, protests led by Indigenous people, environmentalists, or advocates for the poor and unhoused have resulted in extreme use of force by police. Yet now, with these protestors calling for the overthrow of our government, we see the RCMP and local police forces acting with extreme restraint. Police forces need to account for this hypocrisy.
I stand with our healthcare workers. The extremists who are leading these protests have taken aim at the healthcare workers who have given everything to care for us during the pandemic and every other day of their professional lives. They have been advised to not be caught outside of their healthcare facility with their ID or professional wear showing. This is unacceptable.
It’s time to stand up for the rest of Canada, to laud the Canadians who are doing the right thing, who are caring for one another. It’s time to condemn the racists and extremists who threaten our values and our democracy and arrest those who are breaking the law. And it’s time for the Trudeau government to work with municipalities to end these anti-democratic and illegal actions.