Trudeau defends vaccine mandates and Emergencies Act decision in CBC interview

'It was their choice and nobody ever was going to force anyone into doing something they don't want to do,' said the prime minister.

Trudeau defends vax mandates and Emergencies Act decision  in CBC interview
The Canadian Press / Adrian Wyld
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Justin Trudeau sat down earlier this week with CBC radio host for The House and national affairs editor, Chris Hall.

The prime minister told Hall that people who decided not to get vaccinated made a choice that comes with consequences. “It was their choice and nobody ever was going to force anyone into doing something they don't want to do,” Trudeau said.

In an interview today with CBC Morning Live host Heather Hiscox, Hall shared this clip of his conversation with Trudeau, saying:

I will always call out unacceptable rhetoric and hateful language wherever I see it. And you will remember in the last election, we saw an awful lot of it during the campaign. And I was never talking about people who are hesitant towards a vaccine, but, you know, trying to be reasonable about it and trying to stay safe. My point was that there are people who are deliberate trying to stir up hate and intolerance and misinformation. And we do need to call out those folks.

The federal government did lift most restrictions this week, although it doesn’t seem to have stopped protesters who are rumoured to make an appearance at the nation's capital for the Canada Day long weekend.  

“Trudeau spoke at length during The House interview about the unrest, how his government responded to it and whether his own comments referring to the protesters coming to Ottawa as a 'small fringe minority' holding 'unacceptable views' contributed to the anger,” Hall wrote.

He also added that Trudeau reminded him of his father, Pierre. “Like his father, the younger Trudeau isn't inclined to shrink from a political fight, including over his decision to invoke the Emergencies Act,” said the national affairs editor

Trudeau said that by using such power in the Act, it didn't block free speech, and according to what Hall had to say, Trudeau's government agreed that the Emergencies Act was used because of the illegal events that were going on.

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said earlier this year that the Emergencies Act was invoked because the police requested it. However, Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland both said they didn’t hear anything like this from the police about invoking this Act to begin with.

Trudeau answered this confusing point by telling Hall, “we saw that one of the only tools we had that was going to be effective in the timeframe necessary was to bring in the Emergencies Act.” 

Hall stated:

Opposition MPs are demanding full access to the decision-making process before the Act was invoked. But witnesses, including RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki and CSIS Director David Vigneault, have told them they don't have the power to disclose their conversations or advice to cabinet.

The prime minister told The House that the government will release those situational reports and what he called “the reality that we were facing across the country.”

But demands that he waive the long-standing practice of maintaining cabinet confidentiality will not be met, he said, to ensure ministers have the confidence to speak freely on matters of national importance.

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