‘We won’t give in’ Trudeau says as trucker convoy protest continues

Click to play video: 'Trucker protests: Trudeau ‘not intimidated’ and ‘won’t give in’ as truckers protest continue'
Trucker protests: Trudeau ‘not intimidated’ and ‘won’t give in’ as truckers protest continue
WATCH: Trucker protests: Trudeau ‘not intimidated’ and ‘won’t give in’ as truckers protest continue – Jan 31, 2022

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he “won’t give in” to the so-called “freedom convoy” protest in downtown Ottawa.

He made the comments Monday as the trucker convoy still lined the streets around Parliament Hill, with protesters demanding an end to public health mandates, vaccine mandates, and even calling on Trudeau himself to resign.

“I want to be very clear: we are not intimidated by those who hurl abuse at small business workers and steal food from the homeless,” he said.

“We won’t give in to those who fly racist flags. We won’t cave to those who engage in vandalism, or dishonour the memory of our veterans.”

Over the weekend, a local Ottawa shelter, the Shepherds of Good Hope, confirmed some convoy protesters harassed and pressured their workers, demanding meals for “several hours over the dinner period.”

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There were also a number of hateful symbols spotted on Parliament Hill, including a swastika and confederate flags.

“To anyone who joined the convoy but is rightly uncomfortable with the symbols of hatred and division on display: join with your fellow Canadians, be courageous, and speak out,” Trudeau said.

“Do not stand for, or with, intolerance and hate.”

Click to play video: 'Trucker convoy: Ottawa protests continue for 2nd day'
Trucker convoy: Ottawa protests continue for 2nd day

The prime minister added that there is “always a right to protest peacefully,” and said that’s a right he will “defend fully.”

“There is not a right to incite violence, to perform acts of violence or to spew hatred,” he said.

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The government announced in November 2021 that all Canadian truckers seeking to cross the border from the United States would need to be vaccinated in order to avoid a 14-day quarantine. That mandate went into effect on Jan. 15.

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The United States instituted its own ban on unvaccinated truck drivers a week after Canada implemented its policy.

Trudeau isn’t the only politician to speak up about the convoy. Former U.S. President Donald Trump called out the Ottawa protest during a rally in Texas on Saturday.

“We are with them all the way,” he said. “They have really shown something.”

He said that the protesters are “resisting bravely” vaccine mandates that he called “lawless,” and “are doing more to defend American freedom than our own leaders, by far.”

Meanwhile, in the days since the trucks have hit the roads, the stated goal of the movement has become muddied.

In a GoFundMe associated with the event, which has raised over $8 million, organizers say their goal is to “put an end” to “mandates.”

However, among the crowds on Saturday, signs ranged from anti-mandates to anti-vaccines — while others wanted Trudeau out of office.

Many of the signs also called for “freedom” — and protesters say they’re willing to stick around for “as long as it takes” for them to achieve their goals.

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Click to play video: 'Holland tells trucker protesters: ‘think about how you are delivering your message’'
Holland tells trucker protesters: ‘think about how you are delivering your message’

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh made it clear he’s not thrilled with the truckers’ ongoing occupation of the downtown core. Speaking in a Monday press conference, he told the truckers it’s time for them to leave.

“The behavior we saw this weekend is wrong, and the impact on the people of Ottawa is absolutely wrong,” he said.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole, meanwhile, met with the truckers as they drove into Ottawa – but he issued a statement slamming protesters who danced on the tomb of the unknown soldier over the weekend.

“I support the right to peacefully protest but that should not be confused with blatant disrespect for the men and women who have served, inspired, and protected our country,” he said.

But Trudeau still took direct aim at O’Toole on Monday.

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“I think Erin O’Toole is going to need to reflect very carefully on how he’s walking a path that supports these people who do not represent truckers,” he said.

O’Toole fired back later that same Monday in a Facebook Live.

“Despite the fear mongering of the prime ministers and others, we only saw a handful of unacceptable incidents this weekend,” he said.

“Hateful flags. Disrespect for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. And I unequivocally condemn them.”

O’Toole added that Trudeau has decided to “demonize Canadians” during the pandemic, while the Conservative leader insisted he’s tried to take the “high road.”

Click to play video: 'Trucker protests: Solution to ending supply chain issue starts with COVID-19 vaccinations, says Trudeau'
Trucker protests: Solution to ending supply chain issue starts with COVID-19 vaccinations, says Trudeau

Meanwhile, as Parliament resumed on Monday, government House Leader Mark Holland said some MPs were nervous as they made their way past the convoy and into West Block.

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“I have spoken to a number of members who are deeply concerned, but not deterred, from coming in,” Holland said.

But, he added, “we have a responsibility to be in this place and … no form of intimidation will stop us from doing so.”

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