Ottawa: Canadian Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, trailing in opinion polls, has vowed not to back down against the “anti-vaxxer mobs” as he was struck by gravel thrown by a group opposed to vaccination mandates.
With the national election campaign entering its final weeks, Trudeau had earlier attacked his main rival, Conservative leader Erin O’Toole, for pandering towards “anti-vaxxers”. But while at a campaign stop in London, Ontario, on Tuesday, he was confronted by angry protesters.
Trudeau downplayed the incident but later acknowledged that he may have been struck by some of the projectiles.
“There was little bits of gravel,” he told reporters. “It’s no big deal.”
A rolling Nanos Research survey of 1200 people for CTV on Sunday put the Conservatives at 34.9 per cent, with the Liberals at 33.4 per cent, and the left-leaning New Democrats at 18.9 per cent. A day earlier, Nanos had the Conservatives at 35.5 per cent and the Liberals at 33 per cent.
With just two weeks left before the September 20 election, Trudeau had earlier attempted to claw back some ground from Conservative leader Erin O’Toole, who on Sunday scrapped a campaign promise to eliminate a ban on some assault weapons, a sensitive issue in Canada after mass shootings in recent years.
O’Toole “will say anything to try and get elected,” Trudeau told supporters at a campaign event in southern Ontario, Canada’s most-populous province. “That’s not leadership. That’s not integrity.”
After being criticised by O’Toole for calling the election two years early during a rising fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Trudeau assailed his rival’s opposition to vaccine mandates, including for his own candidates.