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Liberals would criminalize blocking health facilities and threatening workers


OTTAWA – A re-elected Liberal government would make it a criminal offense to block access to buildings that provide health services and to threaten or intimidate those who work there.

Speaking in Vancouver on Monday, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said it was “not acceptable” for hospitals across the country to have to erect barricades to protect against anti-vaccination protests.

“Knowing that a nurse, entering a late shift, crossing a parking lot, might be afraid that there is someone spitting at her or yelling obscenities at her – this is not correct,” said Trudeau.

“It’s really unfortunate that we have to get to this point where we have to stress that this is not something that should be done.”

Several protests were scheduled for Monday in hospitals across Canada to raise concerns with public health measures put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19, including documentation of proof of vaccination.

A group called Canadian Frontline Nurses has sought to rally supporters for a “silent vigil to honor those affected by the measures put in place over the past year and a half.”

They say they are taking a stand against “tyrannical measures and government excesses”.

Provincial and municipal politicians have issued warnings regarding the protests.

As their platform points out, the Liberals would also introduce legislation to ensure that businesses and organizations that decide to require proof of vaccination from employees or customers “can do so without fear or legal challenge.”

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole on Monday condemned all harassment outside hospitals.

“This harassment of our front line nurses, the doctors, is totally unacceptable. We all owe a huge debt of thanks to our front lines, these nurses, the people in our hospitals. I appreciate and respect them, ”he said.

The party’s platform says a Conservative government would pass the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act to prevent protesters from blocking key infrastructure. It specifically refers to the Wet’suwet’en train blockages last year.

“Peaceful protest is a fundamental right in Canada, but upholding the rule of law means that illegal blockades that shut down critical infrastructure, threaten access to vital supplies or endanger lives cannot be tolerated,” indicates the document.

O’Toole said he had “great faith” in local law enforcement to ensure people can access services.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said there was “no room at all” for protests that threaten healthcare workers or patients.

“It is wrong, this is not the place of protests,” he said. “What we are doing at the federal level to achieve this goal is that we would make it an aggravating element of a sentence if someone threatened in any way a healthcare worker, threatened patients, interfered with their ability to access care. ”

The Liberals’ campaign pledge would include protections around hospitals, vaccination clinics, testing centers, pharmacies and abortion clinics.

Trudeau said there are already provisions in the Criminal Code of Canada that prevent the intimidation of journalists or those working in the justice system. He said it was time to include healthcare workers under this umbrella.

“We believe these people deserve our highest level of protection because they have done so much for all of us in the past 18 months,” he said.

Health care workers called on protesters to carry their message to provincial and federal legislatures.

“Get away from patients, get away from healthcare workers, we don’t want to see you there, we don’t want to hear from you there. Talk to the people who can make decisions and make policy changes if you don’t like them, but leave us alone, ”Dr. Michael Warner, intensive care unit doctor at the hospital, told CTV on Monday. Michael Garron of Toronto.

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