Saying he’s inspired by frontline workers facing harassment on the job, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said today he won’t let “the mob” control his campaign after he was sprayed with gravel during a raucous protest in London, Ont. yesterday.
“No one should be doing their jobs under the threat of violence or acts that put them in danger,” he said during a campaign stop in Montreal today.
“There are health care workers across the country who are getting hassled and intimidated and bullied as they are going in to work to keep people safe and alive. There are store clerks, waitresses, people going about their daily lives getting yelled at and pushed around for wearing masks, for being vaccinated. That’s not how we do things in Canada.”
Several protests were staged outside hospitals, police headquarters and other busy areas across Ontario last week in response to Premier Doug Ford’s announcement of the province’s COVID-19 vaccine passport plan on Wednesday.
Similar protests were staged against COVID-19 vaccinations across British Columbia, with thousands of demonstrators gathered outside hospitals in Vancouver, Kelowna, Kamloops, Victoria, Prince George and Nanaimo.
Trudeau’s comments came a day after he was sprayed by gravel as he boarded his bus, which was surrounded by outraged protesters.
Trudeau later confirmed to reporters on the campaign plane that he was hit by gravel but said he was fine.
Trudeau described the protesters as a “mob” and “practically foaming at the mouth,” while drawing a distinction between anti-vaccine protesters and those who are merely hesitant.
“We will not let them win. They will not interfere with the way this election is presenting a clear choice to Canadians,” he said.
Trudeau had to cancel an appearance earlier in the campaign due to angry crowds. While promising to not back down in the face of angry protests, he also said he will listen to the RCMP’s advice regarding security.
Trudeau said he talked to the Mounties after the gravel incident and told them he was OK, adding that he will leave any discussion of charges up to police.
Bernier condemns violence
Many protesters in the crowd Monday were sporting purple and waving People’s Party of Canada signs.
PPC Leader Maxime Bernier condemned the gravel incident on Twitter Tuesday morning, but added that no leader made a statement when he was egged last week.
“Someone hit me with an egg last week. I note that none of the other party leaders made any statement,” he said.
“Some idiot threw pebbles at Mr. Trudeau yesterday. I condemn it. Words are our weapons. But physical violence is always wrong.”
While making an announcement on climate change in Toronto, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said he was worried about Trudeau, his family, the journalists travelling with the campaign and party volunteers.
“I can’t imagine that I’m saying this in 2021 — don’t throw stones at people because you disagree with them. That is basic. That should not be happening,” Singh said.
“But these are some clearly troubled people who think it’s OK to throw stones at someone.”
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole sent a Twitter message Monday night calling the incident “disgusting” and condemning it “in the strongest terms possible.”