Gladu, Rood distance themselves from racist flags and vandalism
Marilyn Gladu says ‘the whole economy will be destroyed and Canadians will have a hard time finding the food they need to eat’ if the federal government doesn’t end vaccine mandates for truck drivers.
The Sarnia Lambton MP and her counterpart in Lambton-Kent-Middlesex both voiced support for truck drivers whose nation-wide convoy landed in Ottawa and is occupying the downtown of the capital.
An estimated 8,000 people travelled from all over Canada, including Lambton, to Ottawa.
Some truck drivers wanted to voice their frustration with a federal vaccine mandate for drivers heading into the United States. The US also has a vaccine mandate for truck drivers.
But as the protest movement gathered steam and supporters, the rallying cry became to end all COVID-19 protocols.
There was wide spread criticism of the protest, which was still ongoing at press time. Protesters were seen carrying flags with swastikas and the Confederate Flag – a symbol of hate. Videos surfaced of protestors dancing the grave of the unknown soldier and the Terry Fox statue was dressed up as a protestor.
People living around Parliament Hill complained of being harassed when wearing a mask and businesses in the downtown closed to avoid having unmasked protestors occupying their stores. The Rideau Mall was among those which remained closed for days.
Both Gladu and Liane Rood voiced their support for the convoy but not the violence seen at the protest.
Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MP recorded a video in front of the Peace Flame before the protestors arrived.
“I stand with out truckers,” she said calling them heroes in the pandemic.
“They’re coming here to tell the Trudeau Liberals they will no longer be abused and have their rights and freedoms taken away…I will be here with the truckers…to stand for freedom.”
When reports started surfacing of the white nationalist roots of some of the organizers and stories of some protestors bad behavior including relieving themselves in the downtown and demanding meals from a homeless shelter came to light Rood denounced them.
For her part, Gladu has been talking about the vaccine mandates for truckers for some time. In a video posted to her Facebook page, the MP voices concern that the economy will fall apart without the unvaxxed truckers.
The Canadian Trucking Association says 10 per cent of drivers have not been vaccinated. While there has been a long-standing shortage of drivers, the association said losing the drivers would not lead to shortages. Gladu however said consumers are starting to see “grocery store shelves empty.”
Gladu also went down to the protest with fellow MP Candice Bergen and posted a photo of a meal the pair shared with two truckers who were not identified. Of the nearly 100 comments on the social media post, only one questioned Gladu’s meeting with the truckers.
But Gladu did distance herself from some of the more offensive events. “I support the original message of the trucker’s protest— to allow Canadian truckers to support themselves and their families, keeping stores stocked and shelves full, without the threat of their livelihood taken from them due to the vaccine mandate,” she said on social media adding she supported the “peaceful truckers who came to Ottawa to spread their message— not those who came to desecrate our monuments and spread hate.”
Gladu advocates the prime minister work with the US to get rid of the mandate or do as President Joe Biden has done and remove it for smaller companies and truckers who travel alone.