Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s day of whistle stops in the Ottawa area ended early Friday as anti-liberal protesters gathered outside a brewery ahead of his arrival.
After uneventful stops in Gatineau Park in Quebec and two Ottawa suburbs earlier in the day, Trudeau was on his way to Brasserie Etienne Brule Brewery in Embrun, Ontario, about 30 minutes east. from Ottawa. The event was canceled before he arrived.
A dozen protesters gathered in front of the brewery, including one carrying a flag displaying a profanity directed at Trudeau, and another recording the establishment on his phone.
Plainclothes RCMP officers were stationed outside.
The brasserie itself was packed, both inside and on the terraces. Three of these customers, seated on the back terrace, were asked to leave by a brasserie employee. One of them, a woman, approached the RCMP officers, appearing to chat briefly with them before walking away.
The Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement that while the event “unfortunately” had to be cancelled, the Prime Minister is looking forward to being back soon.
Government sources confirmed that the presence of the convoy’s apparent supporters was behind the cancellation. The presence of a large crowd of people inside the restaurant added to the risk in the event of an escalation.
This is the second time in less than two months that Trudeau has been forced to withdraw from a scheduled appearance due to the presence of people espousing views similar to those of the “freedom convoy” protesters who blocked the downtown Ottawa for three weeks last winter.
On May 24, more than 100 protesters gathered outside the doors of a banquet hall in Surrey, British Columbia, one carrying a makeshift gallows with a noose, and Trudeau Treason writing on it. Trudeau chose to address the fundraising event virtually.
Trudeau has been harassed by protesters regularly since the last federal election. An election stop in Bolton, Ont., was called off due to the presence of a large crowd of protesters.
At a later event in London, Ontario, a handful of gravel was thrown at him as he boarded his tour bus. A man was later charged with assault with a weapon.
This man was also arrested in February in Ottawa during the convoy protests.
Protesters largely rally against COVID-19 restrictions, including vaccination mandates and mask requirements, but some have also demanded that Trudeau resign or be removed from office.
Before Embrun’s event on Friday, Trudeau’s big debate of the day was his new cropped haircut – a man on an ice cream shoot in the Ottawa suburb of Orleans was one of many to noticed the cut locks and made a comment.
Trudeau also visited a family’s home in Ottawa to discuss a “climate action incentive” payment Canadians received from the federal government. Some neighbors gathered as curious onlookers, but no protesters were visible there.
Earlier in the year, a “Freedom Convoy” base camp was set up in Embrun during the blockades that gripped Ottawa for three weeks.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on July 15, 2022.