Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released a statement Tuesday morning expressing support for striking farmers in India.
Hundreds of thousands of farmers in India have taken to the streets to protest proposed agricultural laws which they argue will destroy their livelihoods. The laws seek to deregulate crop pricing, which the government says will break up monopolies, but opponents suggest will leave farmers at the mercy of large corporations.
“Canada will always be there to defend the right of peaceful protest,” Trudeau said in his statement. He described the situation as “very concerning,” further noting that he has “reached out to Indian authorities to highlight” Canada’s concerns.
Meanwhile, Canadians who protest against the government have frequently been subject to fines for breaking coronavirus-related lockdown restrictions. An Independent MPP in Ontario was recently handed a fine for organizing a protest at Queen’s Park, the province’s legislature, while the organizer of an anti-lockdown protest in Chatham-Kent, Ontario was fined for organizing to oppose government lockdown restrictions.
A man in Etobicoke, Ontario who attempted to open his barbeque business was handed criminal charges for refusing to comply with lockdown orders, an event which gained significant media traction.
Measures have been taken outside of Ontario to restrict freedom of assembly as well. A man was fined in Saskatoon earlier this month for protesting against mask mandates, while the Manitoba government has promised to do the same to protesters in their province.
Also in Manitoba, RCMP were sent to physically block the highway entrance to a church which was attempting to host a Sunday prayer service. Churchgoers were even prevented from listening to the service from their own cars in the parking lot due to the possibility of spreading coronavirus. According to Manitoba’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin, gatherings of cars are dangerous for the spread of coronavirus because some people might need to use the bathroom, and more than one household may be present in a single vehicle.
The lockdown measures restricting the freedom of assembly guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms are meant to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Yet despite having more than 9.4 million confirmed cases of the virus, Trudeau has encouraged protests in India while remaining silent as protesters are fined and arrested in Canada.
A spokesman from the Indian Ministry of External Affairs condemned Trudeau’s comments, describing them as “ill-informed” and “unwarranted.”
Trudeau defends the right to protest in India as Canadians are arrested and fined for doing the same | The Post Millennial