Trudeau, O’Toole stress need for truck drivers to get vaccinated

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Federal leaders continue to reinforce the need for truck drivers to get vaccinated against Covid-19, as convoys of protesters head to Ottawa.

“Almost 90% of truckers in Canada are already vaccinated, and the best way to continue to prevent supply chain disruptions is to ensure that everyone gets vaccinated,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said through a translator at a streamed press conference on Monday.

“I regret the Conservative Party and Conservative politicians are fearmongering to Canadians about the supply chain, but the reality is vaccination is how we’re going to get through this.”

(File photo: istock)

Canada’s truck drivers have since Jan. 15 been required to show proof of their vaccination status when returning from the U.S., or face quarantine and testing requirements. A U.S. mandate imposed on Jan. 22 now blocks unvaccinated truck drivers from entering the U.S. in the first place.

In a separate press briefing, Conservative leader Erin O’Toole did not answer repeated questions about whether he will meet with the protesters when they arrive in Ottawa, even as some Conservative MPs have shown support for the convoys on social media.

“I support getting as many people vaccinated as possible, including truckers,” O’Toole said. “We have a supply chain crisis right now.

“How can we tackle that by prioritizing vaccines, prioritizing public health, but reducing pink slips and getting goods on shelves?”

O’Toole was also critical of confused messaging last week that seemed to show the government reversing course on the vaccine mandate at the border.

“The government was floating whether they could actually change their policy to address the supply chain shortage and they decided not to,” he said.