Unvaccinated Canadians Defy Stigma in Viral Twitter Trend

Citizens and politicians of all vaccination statuses lend their voices in support

Unvaccinated Canadians Defy Stigma in Viral Twitter Trend
Martin Bélanger from Alberta. (Courtesy of Martin Bélanger)
Noé Chartier

Many Canadians have been taking to Twitter to post their portraits and bios since Sept. 13, saying that because of their choice to remain unvaccinated they’ve been tagged with derogatory labels. And tens of thousands of people, vaccinated or not, are joining in support.

Martin Bélanger from Alberta says he posted the original tweet that started the trend on Tuesday morning.

“I'm a 55 year-old Canadian. I'm married, father to 4, university educated & perfectly bilingual. I'm an engineer, solving problems for 35 yrs. I'm a volunteer hockey coach & an avid outdoorsman. According to Trudeau, I'm an extremist who needs to be dealt with,” Bélanger wrote on his account.

Bélanger told The Epoch Times he posted his message after watching a video of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in which he made derogatory remarks about the unvaccinated.

“I had seen that video hundreds of times before, but for some reason on Tuesday it made me angrier than usual and compelled me to post my story. It took off from there,” says Bélanger.

The video is from when Trudeau gave an interview to a French television station in September 2021.

Trudeau had said there are “people who are fiercely opposed to vaccination, who do not believe in science, who are often misogynistic, often are racist.”

“There are not very many of them, but they take up a lot of space. ... As a leader, as a country, do we tolerate these people, or do we say come on.”

The format used by Bélanger went viral, with Twitter identifying the topic as trending over a few days.

Joining the trend, Devon Thompson wrote: “I’m a 34 year old Jamaican born Canadian, engineer and project manager. I am a husband and father of two young boys, 5 & 2. Because I made a different medical choice, Justin Trudeau says I am an ideologically motivated extremist, racist & misogynist."
“I'm 56. Living in AB. My son is 3rd year Uni. I have a career I love. I appreciate kindness & conversation. I discovered that freedom is one of my core values. I have lost much during C-19. Justin Trudeau says I'm an extremist who should not be tolerated,” wrote Marnie Stretch.
“I'm a 37 year old dad of three and 8th generation Canadian. I've paid enormous taxes every year since I was 15 and I employ more than a dozen Canadians. I've never taken a dollar from the government or broken the law and according to Trudeau I'm an extremist,” wrote entrepreneur and author B.R. Sutton.
At least two politicians, Alberta’s UCP leadership contender Danielle Smith and People's Party Leader Maxime Bernier, also joined in.
“I'm an educated & independent woman running to be Premier of Alberta, but because I believe no Canadian should be discriminated against for refusing a COVID vaccine, according to Justin Trudeau, I'm a misogynist with unacceptable views that must be dealt with,” Smith posted on Sept. 16.

Bélanger says he’s been caught by surprise by the phenomenon.

“Literally tens of thousands of people posted their story, and it resonates with many because it's a simple message,” he says.

“We're all Canadian, we all have a story, we're all worth listening to. It's a message for all politicians, not just Liberals. Don't take us for granted, and stop trying to divide us.”

He pushes back against assertions on Twitter that what he started is an orchestrated political campaign.

“How can I orchestrate this?” he asks. “I work as a contractor in oil & gas. I don’t even have a political party membership.”

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