Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “completely ignored” COVID-19 health guidelines when he chose to attend a public protest last week.
On Friday, Trudeau took part in an anti-racism demonstration in Ottawa in solidarity with George Floyd, a Black man who died at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis last month.
In a press conference Monday, Scheer expressed dismay with the prime minister, arguing that many other Canadians have been distancing and staying at home due to the ongoing pandemic.
“I understand why people are upset and confused,” stated Scheer.
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“After months of being told that they need to stay home, after months of being told that they need to listen to the advice of public health officials not to gather in large groups … after all the hardship that people have gone through, to see the prime minister completely ignore those types of guidelines and recommendations, I can understand why people are confused as to what advice they should be following and upset the prime minister seems to have completely ignored the advice of health officials.”
In his Monday briefing, Trudeau also addressed his attendance at the protest, saying it was important for him to be part of the event and to be able to listen to people.
“I hear you and I see you,” he said, addressing anti-racism activists, “as you call out systemic discrimination and unconscious bias, as you call for action, and as you call for it now.”
Additionally, Trudeau said the reality is that many people in Canada “don’t feel protected by the police. In fact, they’re afraid of them.”
“That alone would be bad enough. But systemic discrimination and racism in Canada goes much further than just policing,” he said.