AUGUSTA, Maine — A Hancock County lawmaker likened Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to a dictator on the floor of the Maine House of Representatives on Wednesday, saying the leader’s response to trucker blockades have “destroyed” protesters’ rights.
The remarks from Rep. Sherman Hutchins, R-Penobscot, after Trudeau invoked emergency powers this week in a way that allows police to declare blockades that have come across the country in protest of lingering COVID-19 restrictions illegal, including the most high-profile one that has choked the downtown area of Ottawa for nearly three weeks.
The truckers, who call themselves the “Freedom Convoy,” began their protests in response to a vaccine requirement for truckers entering the country. They have changed into a broader attack on Trudeau and his Liberal Party of Canada as well as more virus-related precautions and have gotten donations and vocal support from some U.S. conservatives.
Blockades also focused on vital border crossings and halted the flow of goods for days. The Canadian government cleared the final border crossing blockade between North Dakota and Manitoba on Wednesday, making it the first time in two weeks that all crossings were clear.
Hutchins took to the House floor at the end of a Wednesday session to say he was preparing a symbolic resolution for the body to consider in support of the truckers and condemning the government, including a reference to “the impending death of the Canadian democracy.”
He continued by saying “the premier of Canada is replacing himself with Dictator Trudeau” and is “demanding blind obedience” and using “excessive force and arrest to silence peaceful protesters.” Any such resolution is certain to fail in the Democratic-led Legislature.
Hutchins is an arch-conservative lawmaker who joined a protest of State House mask rules last May alongside six other state representatives. They were briefly booted from their committees for refusing to comply, but they have all followed the rules in recent months.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.