Darrin Calcutt

On Day 17 of the Truckers for Freedom Convoy, five provinces announced they’re shedding COVID restrictions, a Liberal MP broke rank with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the trucks in Ottawa stayed put. 

Alberta premier Jason Kenney announced that he would be dropping his province’s vaccine passport effective midnight tonight, the first province in Canada to do so.

Alberta was joined by Saskatchewan and Prince Edward Island, who also announced plans to drop their vaccine passports. Quebec and Newfoundland & Labrador also stated they would be lightening restrictions, but not passports and mask mandates.

Saskatchewan premier Scott Moe announced his province will be dropping the proof-of-vaccination system as of February 14, with the mask mandate lifted by the end of the month. 

PEI announced that capacity limits will gradually increase through February and March and that by April PEI “aims to phase out all public health measures at the earliest possible times.”

In Ottawa this morning, Quebec MP Jöel Lightbound held a press conference where he publicly broke rank with Trudeau, criticizing the divisive tone that his government had set since being re-elected in September. 

“I can’t help but notice with regret that both the tone and policies of my government changed drastically on the eve and during the last election campaign,” Lightbound said. 

“I’m still hopeful that the government will change course.” 

Lightbound called on his government to stop dividing Canadians. 

He also confirmed to the press that other Liberal MPs feel a similar way. “There are a few of them,” he said, that share his “discomfort” with the tone of the government.

In Question Period, Conservative interim leader Candice Bergen accused Justin Trudeau of “causing division by overtly politicizing vaccines.” Bergen went on to demand an answer to when the government was going to end all federal COVID restrictions. 

Trudeau again accused the Conservatives of not following the science. 

Speaking to the press about his own MP’s criticism of the government’s handling of COVID, Trudeau said, “we’re all sick and tired of restrictions, of mandates, of having to make sacrifices…it’s really, really tiring for all of us.” 

Trudeau went on to say that “(vaccine) mandates are the way to avoid further restrictions.”

The trucks in Ottawa remained idle on Wellington Street and throughout the downtown core today. 

Footage from on the ground shows that the truckers aren’t prepared to move and that efforts by the Ottawa Police to crack down on resources are not deterring the protesters. 

One protester can be seen dancing along peacefully to the song ‘We Are Family’ today. 

In Coutts, Alberta, the truckers at the border were not satisfied with Kenney’s announcement. 

Immediate reaction from the scene shows leaders of the blockade warning that Kenney is “backpedaling like crazy” and that he’s “making excuses for what happened in the past”. 

They went on to say that “he is leaving an open door with future variants, to put in mandates again.”

Conservative leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre announced today that he has launched a petition “to end passports, mandates and restrictions.” 

The Givesendgo in support of the truckers at the time this article was published had reached USD $6,950,076.


  • Harrison Faulkner

    Harrison Faulkner is the host of Ratio'd and co-host of Fake News Friday. He is also a journalist and producer for True North based in Toronto. Twitter: @Harry__Faulkner