Crowds have thinned out considerably on Parliament Hill and the surrounding area, where anti-COVID restrictions demonstrators have been protesting for days. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he will not meet with anyone involved, noting reports that some participants have been seen harassing local businesses, waving Nazi flags, defecating on residential lawns, urinating on National War Memorial and stealing food from the homeless. (Global News)
Here are some experts from McGill University that can provide comment on this issue:
Daniel Béland, James McGill Professor, Department of Political Science and Director, McGill Institute for the Study of Canada
“The ‘Freedom Convoy’ against vaccine mandates and passports puts Erin O’Toole and his party in a tough political position, which may prove to be electorally challenging for them over the long-term. They need to take into account both the rise of the People’s Party of Canada in the polls and the preferences of the majority of Canadians who support many of the public health measures that the protesters have gathered in Ottawa to oppose.”
Daniel Béland is the Director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada and a James McGill Professor in the Department of Political Science. He specializes in the fields of Canadian and comparative politics, as well as the study of public policy, including social policy.
daniel.beland [at] mcgill.ca (English, French)
Shannon Sampert, Eakin Visiting Fellow in Canadian Studies, McGill Institute for the Study of Canada
“There is much to be concerned about in the ‘Freedom Convoy’ and, in particular, the participation of the alt-right element in the movement. While there are those who will say they are outliers, one of the main organizers of the Go Fund Me page, Tamara Lich, is involved with the Maverick Party, does not believe in climate change and is openly anti-immigration. No one can be surprised by what happened in Ottawa over the weekend given the Yellow Vest protests in 2019. No credible politician should be speaking with these protesters when there are Nazi flags and protest signs calling for the assassination of the Prime Minister.”
Shannon Sampert recently joined the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada as the Eakin Visiting Fellow in Canadian Studies, where she is teaching a course on public affairs and leadership in Canada. Her work covers the intersections of media, politics, and gender and she is interested in connecting academics and their research to the general public.
shannon.sampert [at] mcgill.ca (English)