Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced he will isolate following a COVID-19 exposure two days before hundreds of truckers arrive in Ottawa to protest the industry vaccine mandate.
Trudeau announced on Twitter on Jan. 27 that he had been in contact with someone who had tested positive for COVID-19. He has tested negative for the virus via a rapid test and will spend five days in isolation.
He said he felt fine and would work from home. He attended a vertical caucus retreat the same day and spoke to 158 Parliament members.
“Please get vaccinated,” Trudeau wrote.
Last night, I learned that I have been exposed to COVID-19. My rapid test result was negative. I am following @OttawaHealth rules and isolating for five days. I feel fine and will be working from home. Stay safe, everyone – and please get vaccinated.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) January 27, 2022
Trudeau’s isolation will last through Jan. 31. Thousands of truck drivers are currently participating in a convoy to the nation’s capital in protest of the vaccine mandate preventing drivers from crossing the border of the United States and Canada.
Truckers need to be fully vaccinated to make international trips and must also quarantine for 14 days after returning from the United States following a November 2021 mandate. The regulation went into effect on Jan. 15. America has a similar mandate for drivers in its trucking industry.
The “Freedom Convoy” culminates on Jan. 29, three days into the prime minister’s isolation.
The day before he announced his COVID-19 exposure, Trudeau criticized the protest during a press conference.
“The small fringe minority of people who are on their way to Ottawa, who are holding unacceptable views that they are expressing, do not represent the views of Canadians,” said Trudeau on Jan. 26.
He added that “(Canadians) who have been there for each other, who know that following the science and stepping up to protect each other is the best way to continue to ensure our freedoms, our rights, our values as a country.”
Convoy organizers estimate 50,0000 truck drivers will complete the drive on Saturday. In a press release, the group says the trip culminates in a rally to urge “the government of Canada to repeal its cross border Covid tracking passport/phone app and ALL Covid-19 vaccine mandates.”
“Any statements made indicating that we are in some way ‘separatists’ or ‘terrorists’ are categorically false and [are] an attempt to smear this movement,” Freedom Convoy stated. “It is saddening that this kind of rhetoric is coming from Prime Minister Trudeau and his government. Instead of protecting our basic freedoms outlined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a document that was ironically signed by Pierre Elliot Trudeau, Justin and his government seek to do the opposite.”
“We are peaceful, hardworking Canadians who love our community and want the betterment for all Canadians,” the organizers wrote. “The time has come to remind our politicians that they work for the Canadian people, and not the other way around.”
The group also notes that the movement’s size and “overwhelming support” now make it difficult for organizers to ensure citizens will not be disrupted by the convoy. They promised to work to limit any disruptions.
Freedom Convoy 2022 reported that more than $4.4 million CAD ($3.35 million USD) had been donated to defray participants’ expenses.