Convoy protests creating political nightmare for Liberals and Conservatives alike

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Published February 10, 2022 at 2:30 pm

OTTAWA — Toronto Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith says he agrees with his colleague Joël Lightbound that the “divisive” rhetoric about getting vaccinated has to end, even if he is not fully onside with everything the Quebec Liberal MP said.

Earlier this week, Lightbound criticized Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for politicizing the pandemic and his comments revealed fractures within the Liberals as the pressure builds on the government to find a way to end the eruption of antigovernment protests across the country.

But some Liberal MPs who agree it’s time to re-evaluate public health restrictions and COVID-19 vaccine mandates think Lightbound gave fuel both to the Conservatives and to the protesters.

Seniors Minister Kamal Khera says Lightbound’s timing was “not good” and adds confusion to an already difficult situation.

Erskine-Smith says the restrictions within federal jurisdiction should be re-evaluated based on science but also believes the protests have made it tough to have those conversations because the government cannot appear to be caving to the demands of “mob rule.”

Winnipeg Liberal Jim Carr, a former cabinet minister, says he is getting “tons of calls” from constituents who don’t care about jurisdiction and just want the protests to end.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 10, 2022.

Mia Rabson and Marie Woolf, The Canadian Press

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