‘You have allies’: Tory MPs welcome convoy figures warn of deep divides in Canada

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Key figures for convoy protests and related organizations were welcomed Parliament Hill Wednesday by a group of conservative lawmakers who assured them they have ‘allies’ in Ottawa.

And while the group professed peaceful intentions with future demonstrations, they also warned that they believe Canada was on a “dark path”, deeply “divided”, even showing similarities with countries that are declining in “Civil War.”

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The press conference in Ottawa was scheduled to coincide with a conference of the “Canada Citizens Coalition,” or C3, an umbrella group for various protesters associated with February convoy demonstrations that paralyzed downtown Ottawa and blocked several border crossings between Canada and the United States.

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The protests were reportedly triggered by opposition to federal vaccine mandates for cross-border truck drivers, but quickly turned into a festival of complaints with federal and provincial authorities.

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The federal liberal government resorted to an unprecedented invocation of emergency powers to help police clear the blockade and is now facing parliamentary scrutiny and a judicial inquiry into that decision.

According to James Topp, one of the organizers who recently went from BC to Ottawa to protest these mandates, the movement is no longer about COVID-19 public health measures. Topp, a 22-year veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces and current reservist, was charged in May with two misdemeanors for speaking out about vaccine mandates while in uniform.

“Their problem is not so much with mandates anymore, it’s their satisfaction with the federal government,” Topp said of the people he met during his march.

“There is a divide in this country that I have never seen or experienced before – I have only ever seen it in a war zone.”

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Wednesday’s press conference was held in the Valor Building, just steps from Parliament Hill, in what appeared to be an House of Commons. It was not immediately clear how the group gained access to the room.

But they were met by several Conservative MPs, including leading candidate Leslyn Lewis, Jeremy Patzer, Ryan Williams, Arnold Viersen and Dean Allison – among others.

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“The reality is that there is a political party that has been represented around this table here today, there is a political party that has risen in the House of Commons … and talked about the position that you are here with today. , “said Saskatchewan MP Jeremy Patzer.

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Conservative MPs praise demonstration of pro-pipeline convoy members – 19 February 2019

“You have allies. You have had allies all along, and so I just wanted to encourage you going forward.”

A spokeswoman for opposition leader Candice Bergen’s office said they were aware of the incident but had no help in organizing it.

“Conservatives believe Canadians should be free to express their dissatisfaction with the government in a peaceful and lawful manner,” Christopher Martin-Chan, a spokesman for Bergen’s office, wrote in a statement to Global News.

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Topp said the C3 group wants to correct a perceived imbalance between government and citizens to find a “better balance.”

It was an original goal of early convoy organizers, who suggested they wanted to form a sort of civic assembly to work with the Senate and the Governor-General to repeal public health mandates. The idea was dropped in early February, and organizer James Bauder said it no longer reflected the goals of the broader protest movement.

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“We want to work with the Government of Canada. Somehow we need to repair this country. It’s a mess,” said Tom Marazzo, who became a key spokesman for the Ottawa convoy protests and a candidate for Derek Sloan’s Ontario. party in the last provincial election.

“James (Topp) has been to a civil war. I’m not saying that’s what’s going to happen here, but there are many similarities that you know are pre-civil wars around the globe, if you look at your history, ”Marazzo added.

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“We do not want that here. We are walking a very dark road in this country. And we need help. “

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The C3 group has scheduled a two-day conference in Ottawa, which concludes this Friday, for what they call “Save Canada Summer.” Topp officially ends its march on June 30 with an event at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

They have also promised conventions every weekend from Canada Day to September 4th.

– with a file from The Canadian Press

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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