Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was forced to cancel a campaign event due to safety concerns, after a horde of angry anti-vaxxers protested the liberal politician in an effort to prevent vaccine mandates for the third time on Friday.
‘I need freedom,’ one protester’s sign read, as a chorus of fellow anti-vaxxers shouted ‘F*** Trudeau!’ during a planned campaign stop in Bolton, Ontario.
Stops in Nobleton and Mississauga earlier in the day were no different, as protesters flew flags and signs to express their anger.
The Globe and Mail reports that the Bolton event was initially delayed for only two hours, before it was cancelled entirely over security concerns, as the growing crowd continued protesting.
Trudeau was diplomatic in his response following Friday’s cancellation, saying he identifies with their anger and frustration.
‘Canadians have had a hard year,’ Trudeau said.
‘And these protesters have also had a hard year… I know and I feel the anger, the frustration, perhaps the fear.’
Anti-vaxxers gather to protest Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a campaign stop in Bolton, Ontario on Friday, causing the event to be cancelled
Trudeau pictured in Nobleton, Ontario Friday, where he was again greeted by anti-vax protesters
A protester holding a ‘F*** TRUDEAU’ flag speaks with a Ontario Provincial policeman in Bolton after the cancellation of a campaign event for Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
‘But we must meet that anger with compassion.’
The liberal leader has been a target of anti-vaxxers ever since announcing a ban earlier this month on anyone who hasn’t been vaccinated from traveling by plane, train or cruise ship in Canada.
Meanwhile, all government employees, airline, and railway workers are also now required to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Trudeau further angered anti-vaxxers after pledging $1 billion to create vaccine passports throughout the country, should he be reelected in next month’s federal elections.
Trudeau waves at his election campaign tour in Nobleton, Ontario on Friday. He was met with anti-vax protesters at all three stops on Friday
Protestors react after an event was cancelled during the Canada’s Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s campaign in Bolton, Ontario on Friday
Trudeau pictured in front of a ‘Vaccines Save Lives’ sign during a campaign stop in Mississauga on Friday, where he was also greeted by a large group of anti-vax protesters
However, Trudeau’s chances at reelection could very well be in jeopardy. His planned Bolton campaign stop was the third event that day where he was greeted by large groups of angry anti-vaxxers, including an event at St. Phillips Bakery where protesters held signs stating ‘Trudeau Treason.’
A recent poll by Statistique Canada showed the two biggest reasons Canadians aren’t getting the shot, with safety and side effects highest among them at 54 percent and 52 percent respectively.
But as a whole, Canada’s national vaccination rate sits somewhere around 68 percent, beating out the US with 54 percent, the UK with 66 percent, and France, which has a 50 percent vaccination rate, according to Fortune.
A protester reacts following the cancellation of an event during the campaign of Canada’s Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in Bolton Friday
Canadians’ Reasons For Getting The Covid-19 Vaccine graph showing the two biggest reasons Canadians aren’t getting the shot, with safety and side effects highest among them
A map showing the percentage of people vaccinated by country per 100 people. Canada’s national vaccination rate sits somewhere around 68 percent
In comparison, Russia currently has only 15 percent of its population vaccinated, Japan only 23 percent, and South Africa a mere 5 percent.
‘We’ve never seen anything like this,’ a Trudeau election campaign volunteer told the Toronto Star.
‘We’re being followed around, and they’re really well-prepared … We’ve been seeing protesters from Markham to B.C. that are the same people.’
When asked whether he has contributed to the politicizing of vaccinations, Trudeau instead emphasized the need for Canada to trust the science behind vaccines.
‘We have to stand strong for what we know to be true: that science is going to help us, that it’s going to be the path forward out of this,’ Trudeau said.