Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said truckers protesting COVID-19 mandates will get criminal records that will impact their jobs and livelihoods Friday.
“If you joined the protests because you’re tired of COVID, you now need to understand that you’re breaking laws,” the prime minister said. “The consequences are becoming more and more severe. You don’t want to end up losing your license, end up with a criminal record which will impact your job, your livelihood, even your ability to travel internationally including to the U.S.”
“We’ve heard your frustration with COVID, with the measures that are there to keep people safe,” he continued. “We’ve heard you. It’s time to go home now.”
The convoy has blocked key border crossings in parts of Ottawa and major Canadian routes, most notably the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit, Michigan, and Windsor, Ontario. The bridge is vital for car parts suppliers and manufacturers between the U.S. and Canada.
The convoy began as a protest against the government mandate requiring all truckers to be vaccinated to cross the U.S.-Canadian border. (RELATED: Biden Admin Reportedly Tells Canada To Use Federal Power To Crush Canadian Convoy)
Trudeau told lawmakers Tuesday that the “Freedom Convoy” truckers are blockading “our economy, our democracy and our fellow citizens’ daily lives” during an emergency debate Monday. The prime minister also referred to the protesters as “a few people shouting and waving swastikas.”
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson declared a state of emergency Sunday in order to receive government aid, including police and city staff resources. Police ticketed 100 people and arrested seven on “mischief” charges Sunday, and have responded to 650 calls and opened 97 criminal offense investigations since the protests began, NPR reported.
Calls for the truckers to be removed from the streets have increased due to some destroying property and threatening reporters and officials. Ottawa police plan to deploy an additional 150 officers to restore order and also vowed to tow any truck that refuses to move.
GoFundMe nuked a fundraiser Feb. 4 that raised more than $10 million in support of the convoy, citing “police reports of violence and unlawful activity.”