On Monday afternoon, MSNBC anchor Katy Tur feared a protest by Canadian truckers against government COVID regulations was tantamount to a “national insurrection.” She then brought on a Canadian journalist who detailed the threats posed by the demonstrators: Plinko, pizza ovens, saunas, and hot tubs.
“The mayor of Ottawa has declared a state of emergency as truckers protest Canada’s COVID vaccine requirements. Thousands of truckers have virtually shutdown the city, with Canadian officials calling the situation a, quote, ‘nationwide insurrection,’” Tur warned at the top of the segment. However, she then admitted: “The protests, which have been going on for over a week – more than a week, have not resulted in any serious physical violence so far…”
Turning to CTV National News parliamentary reporter Annie Bergeron-Oliver live in Ottawa, Tur urged: “I think this might be the first introduction for a lot of Americans as to what’s going on up there, so please just explain what’s happening.” Bergeron-Oliver fretted:
Moments later, Tur again hyped: “We’ve heard it called a nationwide insurrection. It sounds like, you know, you’re talking about closed streets in the center of town there. It sounds like it’s causing quite a bit of havoc not just in that city but across the country.” It was at that point that Bergeron-Oliver breathlessly described the supposed danger posed by the protest:
Following that list of horrors, the reporter whined: “And so the big question has been, why isn’t Ottawa Police enforcing this stronger? They say they just don’t have the resources, that this situation is too volatile….it’s getting too dangerous to do much of anything.”
Tur worried: “It’s incredible to hear they have saunas set up or pizza ovens set up.”
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2:21 ET PM
KATY TUR: The mayor of Ottawa has declared a state of emergency as truckers protest Canada’s COVID vaccine requirements. Thousands of truckers have virtually shutdown the city, with Canadian officials calling the situation a, quote, “nationwide insurrection.”
CHIEF PETER SLOLY [OTTAWA POLICE SERVICE]: This is a unprecedented protest never seen in Canada. We need more help, we’re asking for that help. We’re starting to receive that help, but we need more to get this done.
TUR: The protests, which have been going on for over a week – more than a week, have not resulted in any serious physical violence so far, but they have evolved into a rallying point for opposition to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has called the protesters a fringe minority of Canadians.
Joining me now from Ottawa is CTV National News parliamentary reporter, Annie Bergeron-Oliver. Annie, thank you so much for joining us. I think this might be the first introduction for a lot of Americans as to what’s going on up there, so please just explain what’s happening.
ANNIE BERGERON-OLIVER [CTV NATIONAL NEWS, PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER]: So this is what protesters called the Freedom Convoy 2020. You can see the street behind me, it’s called Wellington, it’s a stones throw away from Parliament Hill. In the U.S., this would be like the Pennsylvania Avenue, right across from the White House.
Initially this started as a convoy of truckers and individuals who disliked the fact that the federal government had a vaccine mandate for truckers, meaning that any trucker that came into Canada, you had to have your two doses of a vaccine or now three. You needed to have a vaccine, otherwise you had to quarantine for 14 days. So that’s how it started. But really, since then, it’s grown into sort of a movement, a place where individuals opposed to all things COVID in terms of lockdowns, vaccinations in general, people who are just opposed in general to more centrist policies. It’s become a rallying cry for those individuals. So it’s really more of a protest, sort of about everything centrist and especially the liberal government.
And now this has been going on for 11 days, the streets in the downtown are blocked. You can sort of hear the horns behind me, those generally are blaring every day from about 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. And a lot of residents have not been able to sleep, they have not been able to work, and most businesses in this downtown core, a city of a million people, have now been closed for over a week.
TUR: We just heard a city official a moment ago say that he needed help, a police officer, he needed help. I believe it was more than a police officer, maybe a chief. We’ve heard it called a nationwide insurrection. It sounds like, you know, you’re talking about closed streets in the center of town there. It sounds like it’s causing quite a bit of havoc not just in that city but across the country.
BERGERON-OLIVER: Yeah, so the clip was just from our police chief here in Ottawa, Peter Sloly, and he said that the Ottawa Police is overwhelmed, that they do not have the resources able to deal with what he’s calling a siege and an occupation. And you know, this is not just a protest, Ottawa, like any capital city, is used to a protest. But here, you know, right beside me they set up a Plinko table, one of those games you would see on The Price Is Right, they have open fire pits that are burning throughout the downtown, they have villages, essentially, they build structures on the street to keep people warm, they have a full set of – I saw some pizza ovens the other day. Even in one spot, organizers had three different saunas and a hot tub set up.
BERGERON-OLIVER: And so the big question has been, why isn’t Ottawa Police enforcing this stronger? They say they just don’t have the resources, that this situation is too volatile. They have started to get a little bit stronger but most people are saying this has taken way too long and we are now at a point where all of these trucks have lots of fuel and it’s getting too dangerous to do much of anything.
TUR: It’s incredible to hear they have saunas set up or pizza ovens set up. Just one more question very quickly –
BERGERON-OLIVER: Three of them.
TUR: Where – it’s not just truckers, there’s a lot of – I’ve heard there’s Qanon supporters in the crowd?
BERGERON-OLIVER: Yeah, so, you know, over the weekend and over the last eleven days we’ve seen swastikas, we’ve seen the Confederate flag, we’ve seen flags with Justin Trudeau, our Prime Minister, in a noose. Lots of Donald Trump flags as well, people chanting, “Let’s go Brandon,” of course that political saying in the U.S., and a lot of the organizers even have connections to white nationalists groups.
And in fact, one of the main organizers, Canada Unity, they want to overthrow the federal government. They say that the unelected, appointed Senate should throw the government out if vaccine mandates are not dropped. And one, vaccine mandates in Canada are both provincial and federal and the Senate is appointed and actually has no ability to kick out elected officials.
TUR: Annie Bergeron-Oliver, thank you so much for joining us. A wild story up there in Ottawa, we appreciate all of your reporting and your time. Thank you.