Conservative Leadership Hopeful Poilievre Says He Stands With Truckers

In open letter, Poilievre calls on Trudeau to lift all COVID restrictions and 'give Canadians back control of their lives'
By Noé Chartier
Noé Chartier
Noé Chartier
Noé Chartier is an Epoch Times reporter based in Montreal. Twitter: @NChartierET
February 11, 2022Updated: February 11, 2022

Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre, who recently announced his intention to run for the leadership of his party, reiterated his support for the Freedom Convoy in an interview with Postmedia on Feb. 10.

“I’m proud of the truckers and I stand with them,” Poilievre told columnist Anthony Furey on the Postmedia podcast “Full Comment” for an episode that will air next week.

The same day, interim Conservative leader Candice Bergen said the protesters in Ottawa have been heard and should go home, noting that the Conservative Party will continue to work on having federal COVID-19 mandates and restrictions lifted.

It is unclear from the excerpts of Poilievre’s interview published in the National Post if he agrees with Bergen’s position. A request for clarification from his office wasn’t responded to by publication time.

“[Truckers] have reached a breaking point after two years of massive government overreach of a prime minister who insults and degrades anyone who disagrees with his heavy-handed approach,” Poilievre told Furey.

“But let’s be honest, if Canadians are being inconvenienced, or in any way suffering from these protests, it is because Justin Trudeau made these protests happen and his intransigence is keeping the protests going.”

Poilievre said Trudeau is using the vaccine mandate put on truckers “as a vindictive wedge strategy to divide Canadians and demonize an apparently unpopular minority of unvaccinated people to his own political advantage.”

“But now it’s blown up in his face.”

“So he’s gotten himself into an impossible political situation. And unfortunately, the rest of the country is held hostage by his unwillingness to do the right thing, admit he was wrong, and lift these mandates,” he added.

In an open letter to Trudeau on Feb. 10, Poilievre called on the prime minister to lift all vaccine mandates and COVID restrictions and “give Canadians back control of their lives.”

“You have divided the country. You have told Canadians to fear their neighbours. You have destroyed people’s livelihoods on the basis of their personal health choices. These actions are directly to blame for the protests in Ottawa and across Canada,” he wrote.

Canada’s vaccine mandate for truckers came into effect on Jan. 15, and a U.S. mandate on Jan. 22, hence both countries would need to lift their respective mandates for unvaccinated truckers to be able to resume normal cross-border travel.

U.S. President Joe Biden has faced legal setbacks in imposing vaccine mandates, but it appears there isn’t any current legal challenge to the U.S. mandate being imposed on the trucking industry.

The American Trucking Association (ATA) has legally challenged the attempted mandate on businesses with over 100 employees but said before the border mandates came into force that “fleets should prepare to comply with the impending requirements.”

The Freedom Convoy movement has spread around the world, and there are signs that similar protests are being organized in the United States.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security told The Epoch Times on Feb. 10 that it “is tracking reports of a potential convoy that may be planning to travel to several U.S. cities.”

Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.