Tesla CEO Elon Musk took a swipe at the Liberal government over the weekend, as he continues to show his support for the truckers who are protesting in Ottawa against COVID-19 vaccine mandates and restrictions.
“It would appear that the so-called ‘fringe minority’ is actually the government,” Musk said in a series of Twitter posts on Jan. 30, in reply to a tweet of a video showing tens of thousands of protesters in and around Parliament Hill and trucks parked throughout the city.
“If the government had the mandate of the people, there would be a significant counter-protest. There is not, therefore they do not,” Musk said.
Canada isn’t going to take more lockdowns and COVID restrictions.
— Aaron Ginn (@aginnt) January 30, 2022
The billionaire’s comment seems to be aimed at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who dismissed the protesters on Jan. 26 as being a “small fringe minority” who do not hold the views of majority Canadians.
“The small fringe minority of people who are on their way to Ottawa, or who are holding unacceptable views that they’re expressing, do not represent the views of Canadians who have been there for each other,” Trudeau said during a press conference.
Meanwhile, an Angus Reid poll released Jan. 31 shows the majority of Canadians—54 percent—say it’s time to end all pandemic restrictions and allow people to manage their own level of risk. The number of Canadians in favour of ending restrictions rose 15 percentage points, up from a similar poll conducted earlier this month that showed 40 percent in favour.
The trucker convoy, dubbed “Freedom Convoy 2022,” began as a protest after the federal government introduced a vaccine mandate for truck drivers crossing the Canada-U.S. border that came into effect on Jan. 15.
The first convoy left from the West Coast on Jan. 23 and expanded in scope as more trucks joined from different parts of the country, coming together in Ottawa on Jan. 29 to protest against various COVID-19 restrictions and mandates. Organizers have said they will not leave the capital city until vaccine mandates are lifted.
Tamara Lich, one of the organizers, responded to critics in a statement on Jan. 26, saying attempts to characterize the truckers as “separatists” and “terrorists,” were tactics used to smear the campaign. She later urged convoy members not to tolerate violence or vandalism and to report the truck number and licence plate of anyone inciting violence or hatred.
Despite Trudeau’s criticism, the convoy protest has gained global recognition, with support coming from the likes of Musk, Russell Brand, Joe Rogan, and others.
Musk first took to Twitter on Jan. 27, as the convoy was on its way to Ottawa, saying “Canadian truckers rule.” His tweet has since garnered over 400,000 likes.
“Freedom is being stripped away one piece at a time until it is gone,” he said in another tweet on Jan. 27.
As the protest continues, transport Minister Omar Alghabra commented on the possibility of imposing a vaccine mandate for truckers travelling between provinces.
Meanwhile, Trudeau announced on Jan. 31 that he had tested positive for COVID-19.
On Jan. 27, the prime minister had said he was going into isolation after finding out that he had been in contact with someone who had tested positive for COVID-19. He later said that it was one of his children who had tested positive.
Trudeau is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and received his booster shot on Jan. 4.
Omid Ghoreishi and Noé Chartier contributed to this report