Experts warn of violence as alarming demonstration ushers in new era of anti-vaccine fervour - 2022-01-12
The outside temperatures were frigid when Maxime Bernier, leader of the far-right People's Party of Canada (PPC), arrived at Saturday's 'freedom' rally in Montreal, but the rhetoric heated up quickly. Some protesters carried signs with Bernier's face on them, while others held up flags bearing Nazi imagery and comparing the Trudeau government to the Nazi regime, a not-so-subtle reminder of the anti-Semitism that often lurks just beneath the surface of the anti-vaccine movement.
In response, Bernier called Duclos a "fascist" and referred to his suggested vaccine policy as a "draconian violation of our fundamental rights and bodily autonomy."
The protests were driven mostly by opposition to vaccine mandates and curfews. On Friday, federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said provinces are likely to introduce mandatory vaccination policies in the months ahead to reduce the burden of surging COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.