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Maguire says truckers essential

The Freedom Convoy
Ottawa trucks Untitled
Convoy of trucks in Ottawa near Parliament Hill during the week of Feb. 1, 2022

This week, through email correspondence, the Empire-Advance asked several questions of MP Larry Maguire, representing Brandon-Souris constituents:

What you are you seeing with the Freedom Convoy?

My Parliamentary office is located right on Wellington Street and the trucks are parked below. Everything I have personally witnessed has been peaceful. 

As reported on the news, there were a few unsavoury characters around on the weekend. I know everyone in Parliament condemns the hateful flags and the disrespect shown at the War Memorial or to statues. There is zero tolerance for that sort of behaviour.

Have you met with organizers? What are they asking for?

I have spoken to some of the truckers, but I haven’t met with any of the organizers. The folks who I spoke to want the Liberal government to work with the US administration to drop the recent mandate imposed on truckers. I think that is a very legitimate concern and reason to speak out.

Since the very beginning of the pandemic truckers were deemed essential. That has not changed and there has been no specific reason given why they were no longer deemed essential. I don’t believe that’s a fringe position.

Is the Government going to hear the demands of this movement that bills itself as a freedom movement for Canadians?

All these truckers worked throughout the entire pandemic. I don’t think the Prime Minister calling truckers names or ratcheting up the rhetoric is doing anyone any benefit. It’s frustrating to see the Prime Minister dismiss their concerns without taking the time to understand where they’re coming from.

I don’t know if the Prime Minister or Liberal Cabinet Ministers will be willing to meet with any of the truckers. I also don’t know if the Prime Minister will be changing his tune towards those who want to see changes with the various regulations he’s implemented during the pandemic.

What are conservative MPs saying? Is there support for the Freedom Convoy there in Ottawa?

For weeks our Conservative MPs have been calling on the Liberal government to work with the US Administration to drop their plans to impose this mandate on truckers. I think that position is supported by every single Conservative MP in our Caucus. Since the very beginning, we have supported the use of rapid tests for those who are unvaccinated in federally regulated jurisdictions.

Many Canadians have chosen to receive a COVID vaccine, others have elected to wait for different types of vaccines, while others have expressed that they won't be getting vaccinated. Whatever the case, we believe by using rapid tests for those who are unvaccinated, we can balance everyone's individual health decisions and help identify those who have contracted the virus.

COVID-19 is here to stay, and we need to learn to safely manage its presence. We can live our lives, without fear, by utilizing all the public health tools available, while allowing our borders to stay open.

Continued sweeping shutdowns will not fix the underlying problem of lack of surge resources in Canada’s healthcare system. That’s why in the last election, we promised a collaborative approach to building provincial healthcare capacity as part of an historic $60 billion increase to healthcare transfers. 

We need to make sure that people, families and businesses can resume their lives and give them the tools to do so. People want to live a normal life again as soon as possible.