Canada: Facing ongoing protests, provinces ease restrictions


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While central Ottawa remains blocked by protesters over health restrictions, such as bridges linking the U.S. and Canada, several Canadian provinces released ballasts on Tuesday. As a result, Saskatchewan and Alberta will ditch vaccine passports, while Quebec has announced a detailed timeline for future reductions.

Facing the resolve of demonstrators who have locked down the capital’s central Ottawa for more than ten days, a campaign appears to have begun in Canada on Tuesday, February 8, to ease Covid-19 health restrictions, one of the strictest in the country. World.

Some provinces have therefore announced new relief measures: Saskatchewan and Alberta (centre) will drop vaccine passports entirely, arguing that “the advantages no longer outweigh the costs.” For the first time since the implementation of new restrictions related to the Omicron wave, Quebec has announced a detailed timeline for relief.

Although the epicentre was in Ottawa, the entire country was shaken by the movement. Known as the “Freedom Convoy,” it was originally a protest against the decision to force truck drivers to get vaccinated to cross the border into the United States. But it quickly turned into a campaign against holistic health measures and against the government.

blocked border bridge

In central Ottawa, where between 400 and 500 trucks still occupied the streets Tuesday in opposition to health measures, the situation in the city was “out of control” and sparked a state of emergency this weekend. Truck drivers, who have been banned from honking their horns following a court ruling since Monday, have found another way to express themselves: roaring the truck’s engine, making the air impossible to breathe.

Outside Ottawa, the movement continued to spread: The Ambassador Bridge, a key trade route between Ontario and the U.S.’s North American neighbors of Detroit, was blocked by demonstrators on Tuesday.

There could be “serious consequences” for the economy if this continues, authorities and companies have been warned. The suspension bridge is vital to the auto industry, as well as to U.S. hospitals that employ many Canadian nurses.

Wider-than-expected popular support

In Canada, where most provinces have stricter sanitation measures than elsewhere in the world, the campaign has seen wider popular support than authorities expected. A third of Canadians support the movement, and 44 per cent of vaccinated people understand “the reasons and frustrations expressed by protesters,” according to the latest poll.

But Justin Trudeau “is betting that the movement will go away on its own,” said Félix Mathieu, a political scientist at the University of Winnipeg. On Tuesday, however, a rare dissonance was heard among Justin Trudeau’s Liberal ranks. Quebec MP Joël Lightbound condemned the stricter measures than elsewhere, explaining that he was “disturbed by the direction the government has decided to take in managing the pandemic”. He called for a “more unified” and less “divisive” approach.

with AFP


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