The Ottawa protest "trying to blockade both democracy and the economy has to stop," according to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who argued tonight that Canadians should be united in fighting the COVID-19 virus instead of each other.
"The people of Ottawa don’t deserve to be harassed in their own neighborhoods," Trudeau said during tonight's emergency debate in the House of Commons.
Trudeau said Canadian voters chose vaccines and science in last September's federal election, and that responsible leadership is needed now to protect democracy.
"We have to make sure that our shared values ... (have) to be here to stay," the prime minister added as he closed his formal remarks.
Trudeau was in the House chamber for the first time this year, after announcing a positive COVID-19 test result last week as sittings resumed.
House Speaker Anthony Rota approved an emergency debate request from the NDP, which wants the House of Commons to consider what party leader Jagmeet Singh called the "crisis on our hands" and the need for federal leadership as protesters opposed to COVID-19 vaccine mandates and public health restrictions continue to occupy downtown Ottawa.
"Things cannot continue as they are," according to Singh, who wants MPs to consider:
the need for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to offer more assistance to Ottawa and other communities affected by harassment and violence
foreign funding of a clear attempt to undermine Canadian democracy and overthrow the government
the need for a plan to escape the pandemic, including vaccination and health-care capacity
longstanding problems that pre-date the pandemic such as housing affordability and the cost of living