On Saturday, Canada’s major cities saw multiple peaceful demonstrations against lockdowns.
Large demonstrations occurred in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, London, Winnipeg and Vancouver and Ottawa as part of “Worldwide Freedom Day,” a global campaign against lockdowns that saw several dozen protests around the world.
Just days earlier, leftist politicians Jagmeet Singh and Naheed Nenshi claimed, without evidence, that anti-lockdown protesters were associated with far-right extremists.
Toronto saw a record-breaking anti-lockdown protest. A large and diverse group of demonstrators marched in downtown Toronto while chanting anti-lockdown slogans.
Police estimate that 5,000 people attended. One person was arrested after an altercation with police.
On May 13, the Ford government extended Ontario’s stay-at-home order for another two weeks. Despite the number of new daily cases declining steadily for the past three weeks, Ford claimed the extension was necessary to ensure a “most normal” summer.
Video taken from Queen’s Park shows thousands of people gathered to hear speeches. Among the attendees was People’s Party leader Maxime Bernier.
“We have a choice, and choice is between freedom and authoritarian government,” Bernier told the crowd.
“I choose freedom.”
In Montreal, anti-lockdown demonstrators held three separate marches, with the groups meeting to hold a large rally. Similar demonstrations took place in Vancouver.
In Ottawa, hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters marched through downtown and held a rally on Parliament Hill. According to police there were around 500 attendees.
While many anti-lockdown protests were able to continue without law enforcement intervening, in some parts of Canada, protesters were not able to protest freely. On Friday, a Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge granted the province’s government an injunction to stop Canadians from protesting COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns.
As reported by True North fellow Lindsay Shepherd, provincial and federal governments have been unable to answer whether anti-lockdown protests actually lead to COVID-19 outbreaks.