Poilievre Rebukes Media for Portraying Trucker Convoy as ‘Extremist’ in Nature

By Noé Chartier
Noé Chartier
Noé Chartier
Noé Chartier is an Epoch Times reporter based in Montreal. Twitter: @NChartierET Gettr: @nchartieret
January 27, 2022Updated: January 27, 2022

Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre pushed back today against reporting that portrays the trucker’s “Freedom Convoy” against the government’s vaccine mandate as extremist in nature based on some comments from individuals who don’t represent the group.

Poilievre made the remarks in response to a question from a reporter in Ottawa who asked what he thought about the “extreme elements” latching on to the protest. He said the question itself spoke to a larger problem with how what he characterized as “liberal media” portray protests organized by conservative groups.

“What I think is interesting is that when there’s a left-wing protest on Parliament Hill, we don’t see the liberal media going through every single name of the people who attend, to try and find one person that they can disparage the whole group with,” he said in response to the reporter’s question on Jan. 27.

The Tory finance critic says it’s normal with such a large group of people that some could say “unacceptable things,” but those individuals should be held responsible rather than the whole group.

“That doesn’t mean we disparage the thousands of hard-working, law-abiding, and peaceful truckers, who quite frankly, have kept all of you alive for the last two years by filling your grocery shelves with the food that you eat, and filling your homes with the products that you rely upon,” he told reporters.

Poilievre cited the example of CBC employees who have accused the public broadcaster of being systemically racist, yet he said, “we don’t see the media here generalize that everyone who works at the CBC is a racist.”

“So I think that it is possible to hold individually responsible anyone who says or does anything unacceptable, while showing support for the hard-working, law-abiding, peace-loving truckers who are fighting for their freedom and their livelihoods, and on whom we have depended for our very existence over the last two years.”

Poilievre’s comments come on the heel of some media reporting individuals with “far-right” ties are supporting the trucker convoy.

The Ottawa police have warned of “parallel groups” or counter-protesters who could be intent on using violence in the capital on Jan. 29 when the various convoys arrive at the destination and morph into a protest. This could mean that the threat could stem come from far-left groups with an ANTIFA-type ideology who could see an opportunity to attack people they view as patriotic, conservative, or “far-right.”

Such incidents have occurred in the U.S. in recent months, with ANTIFA communists and anarchists attempting to break up anti-mandate rallies with ensuing violent confrontations.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed the reports of alleged extreme elements supporting the convoy in a Jan. 26 press conference.

“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, who know that following the science, and stepping up to protect each other is the best way to continue to ensure our freedoms, our rights, our values as a country,” he said.

The convoy’s organizers, Canada Unity, contested this type of labelling in a Jan. 26 statement.

“Any statements made indicating that we are in some way ‘separatists’ or ‘terrorists’ are categorically false and an attempt to smear this movement. It is saddening that this kind of rhetoric is coming from Prime Minister Trudeau and his government,” it says.

Signatories Tamara Lich and Benjamin Dichter said the convoy has received “overwhelming support” from Canadians and others around the world, countering that their protest movement has attracted “unprecedented levels of Canadians uniting.”

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole expressed his support for the truckers in a commentary in the Toronto Sun on Jan. 26.

“Thousands of Canadians have spent their hard-earned money to come to Ottawa. Any reasonable concerns must be heard. They have a right to be heard,” he wrote, before cautioning against any extremist groups that seek to co-opt the protest.

O’Toole condemned anyone who would “take advantage of the plight of the truckers” to advance “their misguided agenda,” saying no one should be making threats of “political violence” and “hate and bigotry.” He added that those who oppose the convoy protest should avoid “demonizing your fellow citizens,” and should be respectful and support peaceful protest.

Meanwhile, several other Conservative MPs have come out in support of the convoy. Conservative Deputy Leader Candice Bergen issued a statement on Jan. 25 saying she supports “peaceful demonstrations against these mandates.”

“Conservatives have been opposed to federally mandated vaccines since Trudeau introduced them; and we oppose the mandatory vaccine on Canadian truckers,” her statement says.