Ontario Premier Doug Ford commented on the ongoing trucker convoy protest in Ottawa Tuesday, saying “people have to move on.”
“You know, I hear you. I hear the protesters. The province hears the protesters. The country hears the protesters,” Ford said at a press conference Tuesday morning in Ajax, Ont.
“Now it’s time to let the people in Ottawa get back to their lives. These businesses that have been closed for a while now — the restaurants want to reopen.”
Crowds have thinned out considerably on Parliament Hill and the surrounding area, where anti-COVID restrictions demonstrators have been protesting for days.
But those that remain say they are staying put until all the restrictions are lifted, with the president of the Ottawa Gatineau Hotel Association saying some protesters have been extending their stays at hotels, or are asking to rebook for the coming weekend.
The disruption caused by the protest has caused some businesses in Ottawa to close indefinitely, just as the provincial government eased COVID restrictions Monday allowing various facilities to reopen, including gyms and indoor dining at restaurants and bars.
“People have to move on. Let the people of Ottawa live, let the businesses open up,” Ford said.
The premier again condemned the presence of Nazi and confederate symbols at the protest over the weekend, and the desecration of the National War Memorial.
The trucker convoy demonstration initially began as a protest against the vaccination mandate for cross-border truckers to avoid quarantine, but morphed into a demonstration against COVID-related restrictions and mandates as a whole.
Both Canada and the United States now have a vaccine mandate in place for cross-border truckers.
A reporter also asked the premier whether he supports that mandate.
“People may disagree one side or the other, but I’m going to support getting vaccinated and that’s no shot against the truckers,” Ford said.
“I think the world of the truckers. I’ve supported them from day one and appreciate and am very grateful of everything they’ve done and continue to do throughout this pandemic.”
He noted that the vast majority of truck drivers are vaccinated.
— With files from The Canadian Press