The far-left socialist party helped pass a law to ban protests at private medical facilities in 2017, but attended the Herzig Eye Institute in Ottawa, a private clinic which treats cataracts and performs other ophthalmological surgeries.
The Ontario NDP supported a 2017 buffer-zone law preventing protests near abortion facilities.
Anyone who violates the safe zones law will face up to $5,000 in fines and six months in jail for a first offence, and fines of $1,000 to $10,000 and up to a year in jail for a second or subsequent offence. Demonstrations are banned around the eight abortion clinics in the province, resulting in a 150-metre bubble in which anti-abortion protests and advising a person not to get an abortion are also prohibited.
The Women's Care Clinic in Toronto is privately owned and bills OHIP for services. The NDP has never protested there.
Joel Harden, the NDP MPP for Ottawa Centre, was at the rally against the eye clinic and promoted the protest in advance on his social media as a rally against "private healthcare" under Premier Doug Ford.
Unions had a strong presence at the weekend rally and replicated the demonstration again on Wednesday.
Harden was against the peaceful Freedom Convoy demonstrations last year, railing against the anti-COVID restriction protests on the same Twitter account he now uses to organize his protests. Harden also participated in a counter-protest against the Freedom Convoy.
As recently as November 2022, Harden urged people to mask up indoors.