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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

DAN ALBAS -- When I was on the Government side of the House there were often protests against former PM Stephen Harper

 

For the most part, events that are the focus of attention in Ottawa are seldom the same concerns that I hear from citizens locally. This is why Ottawa is often referred to as “the Ottawa bubble”.

This week all of that changed.

The focus of many across Canada has been on Ottawa as the trucker “freedom convoy” has arrived in addition to news mid-week that the Leader of the Official Opposition was also voted out as leader by a Conservative caucus vote. By the time you read this there will likely be a new interim leader of the official opposition that will have been elected by Conservative MP's.

As for the “freedom convoy”, it is less clear what will become of this protest movement currently shutting down much of the downtown area around Parliament Hill.

During my time in Ottawa, I have been fortunate to sit on both the Government and Opposition sides of the House. Over that time frame I cannot recall the exact number of different protests that have occurred on the front lawn of the House of Commons, but it is fair to say a great many.

It is unfortunate, but not uncommon, that fringe groups with a different message or agenda will also join in on a protest. Sadly, this has occurred with the Freedom Convoy in Ottawa where some individuals have used the protest as an opportunity to spread hateful messages and symbols.

Examples include use of Nazi and Confederate flags, disrespect of national moments, and other actions that have no place in Canada.

Fortunately, all Parliamentarians have condemned these hateful messages through various channels including some resolutions that passed unanimously in the House of Commons.

That said, there are many peaceful, law abiding citizens, the majority of them professional truck drivers, who have expressed other areas of concern most often not the opposition to vaccination but a mandatory vaccine mandate where one can lose their job if they are not vaccinated.

Other concerns have been raised against the Prime Minister specifically as well his Liberal Government. From my perspective this is also not uncommon.

When I was on the Government side of the House there were often protests against former PM Stephen Harper.

Last year we witnessed protests where rail lines and some highways were shut down in opposition to energy projects. During the protests last year PM Trudeau was quoted by CTV News as saying,

“Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the disruptions must be resolved through dialogue, not by ordering in the police.”

The PM further added...

“We are not the kind of country where politicians get to tell the police what to do in operational matters,”.

While Prime Minister Trudeau, in the past, has recommended dialogue as a means to resolving peaceful protests, in the case of this current protest, the Prime Minister is refusing to meet with any of them.

My question this week:

Do you agree with the Prime Minister’s decision?

I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca (mailto:Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca) or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.





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