Interim leader of Canada’s opposition Conservative Party Candice Bergen says the situation unfolding in the nation’s capital as police clamp down on protesters was created by the prime minister “and his desire to divide Canadians.”
“I’m disturbed & saddened by what we are seeing today in Ottawa. This situation was created by the PM & his desire to divide Canadians,” Bergen said in a tweet on Feb. 18. “It’s time for MPs to return to the House tomorrow to stop the overreach by this government & restore unity, wholeness & hope back to our nation.”
Police escalated their operation against protesters in Ottawa on Feb. 18, making over 100 arrests and towing over 20 vehicles. Mounted police and officers on foot advanced on demonstrators, with horses in some instances knocking down protesters.
The expanded operation comes after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act on Feb. 14 for the first time since it was passed in 1988.
Conservative Sen. Leo Housakos echoed Bergen’s remarks, saying Trudeau is responsible for the situation in Ottawa.
“What’s happening in Ottawa today is squarely at the feet of one person. Justin Trudeau. He pushed through with a cynical mandate for political expediency when all indicators were that it was time to ease up on such measures,” Housakos said on Twitter on Feb. 18. “Justin Trudeau and only Justin Trudeau owns this.”
The protests in Ottawa were initiated by truck drivers opposed to the federal government’s requirement that all truck drivers crossing the U.S.-Canada border need to have COVID-19 vaccination. The protest movement grew as many people from across the country opposed to COVID-19 vaccination mandates and restrictions joined in.
During the 2021 election campaign, the Liberals made COVID-19 vaccination mandates an election pledge. After winning a minority government in the Sept. 20 election, the Liberals made COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for air and train travel, as well as for federal employees.