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Ontario Premier Doug Ford appeared to echo arguments from the Freedom Convoy protesters demanding coronavirus restrictions be lifted, saying Canadians need to respect “democracy and freedoms and liberties.”
“There’s rebel rousers, and there are just hard-working people that just don’t believe in it, and that’s their choice,” Ford said Tuesday of Canadians protesting the country’s vaccine mandates. “This is about democracy and freedoms and liberties. I hate as a government telling anyone what to do, we just have to get out of this and move forward and protect the jobs.”
Ford and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kieran Moore announced the end to capacity limits within most indoor establishments on Monday and said Ontario’s vaccine passport system will end March 1. Four other Canadian provinces – Alberta, Saskatchewan, Quebec and Prince Edward Island – said last week they were lifting some coronavirus restrictions.
The announcement comes after Ford declared a state of emergency on Friday in response to protests at the Ambassador Bridge, which connects Canada and Detroit, and Ottawa. Ontario is Canada’s largest province by population.
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Ford addressed the public on Tuesday and said the world needs to “just move forward” from such coronavirus restrictions.
“Everyone’s done with this, like, we are done with it,” Ford said of capacity limits. “Let’s just start moving on, cautiously. The world’s done with it, let’s just move forward.”
“We just have to be careful, make sure we wash our hands and move forward.”
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On the topic of vaccines, Ford said that regardless of how many boosters a person receives, they can still be infected with COVID-19.
“We also know that it doesn’t matter if you have one shot or 10 shots, you can still catch COVID-19,” he said.
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“You see the prime minister, he has triple shots, and I know hundreds of people with three shots, who caught COVID-19, we just need to be careful, always make sure we wash our hands and move forward.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau received both jabs of the vaccine over the summer, as well as a booster shot on Jan. 4. He announced he tested positive for the coronavirus on Jan. 31.
The trucking Freedom Convoy left from Vancouver for Ottawa at the end of January to protest the federal government’s vaccine mandates for cross-border truckers. The protests soon spread to other areas of the country, with Canadians demanding an end to local and federal coronavirus mandates.
Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act this week, which gives power to the Canadian government to prohibit public assembly, restrict travel and requires businesses such as tow companies to act on the government’s demands. The Canadian government also announced banks can freeze protesters’ bank accounts without the use of a court order.
“This is Canada, it’s supposed to be a free country,” an 83-year-old-man named Joachim Machnic told Fox News this week. “We have the right to protest” and “now we’re even being denied the place to protest.”
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Toronto-Dominion Bank has frozen two personal bank accounts supporting the Freedom Convoy protesters, one of which included $1.1 million.