Ontario Premier Doug Ford ‘extremely disturbed’ to see hate symbols at trucker protest

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he was ‘extremely disturbed’ to see protesters in truck convoys vandalizing monuments and displaying hate symbols as they demonstrated on Parliament Hill over the course of of the weekend.

On Saturday, thousands of truckers and supporters rallied in Ottawa to oppose cross-border vaccination mandates and other public health restrictions, causing a traffic jam on the city’s downtown roads. Schools, shopping malls and vaccination clinics were forced to close following the protest.

The so-called “Freedom Convoy” protests are now in their third day in the nation’s capital.

Throughout the weekend, police confirmed they were investigating “several” criminal acts linked to the protest, including the desecration of monuments, threatening behavior and damage to a city vehicle.

Some protesters were also seen holding signs and flags with hate symbols.

In a statement Monday, Doug Ford said that while “the right to peaceful protest is central to our Canadian identity,” he was “extremely disturbed” by some of the incidents in Ottawa.

“However, I was extremely disturbed to see certain individuals desecrate our most sacred monuments and brandish swastikas and other symbols of hatred and intolerance this weekend,” he said.

“It has no place in Ontario or Canada. Not now. Never.”

He went on to say that all of Ontario is “united” in their desire to end the pandemic and return to normal life.

The comments came an hour after Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca released a brief statement calling on the premier for not speaking out sooner.

“Ottawa just saw an angry mob fill its streets with hateful flags and symbols, defacing the National War Memorial and the statue of Terry Fox. Not a word from Doug Ford and his curators. They have to go,” Del Duca said.

Ottawa police say he is it is unclear when the protest will end. According to the Canada Unity website, several events are scheduled for Monday, including a speaker series at Confederation Park and “no-mask shopping.”

James V. Hayes