Critics are slamming a government-funded Canadian news outlet for suggesting Russia is behind the popular “Freedom Convoy” protest, where truckers drove across the country in protest of a vaccine mandate.
“I do ask that because given Canada’s support of Ukraine, in this current crisis with Russia, I don’t know if it’s far-fetched to ask,” CBC host Nil Koksal told Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino Friday.
“But there is concern that Russian actors could be continuing to fuel things as this protest grows. But perhaps even instigating it from, from the outset.”
Video of the exchange had been viewed nearly half a million times as of Sunday morning.
“Again, I’m gonna defer to our partners in the public safety of trained officials and experts in that area,” Mendicino responded, deflecting the question.
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“What I can tell you is that we do have courses on site right now who are watching the conduct of this convoy very carefully. And we’re providing direction and guidance to residents to ensure that there is a peaceful protest but, at the same time, providing direction and guidance to residents,” Medocino added.
The CBC is a Canadian public broadcaster that is funded by the government. The Freedom Convoy has been described as a grassroots movement; it has no known ties to Russia.
Koksal’s remarks set off a torrent of criticism on Twitter, with people slamming the current state of media, questioning how the clip is real and slamming liberals for focusing on “Russia, Russia, Russia.”
The Freedom Convoy left Vancouver for Ottawa Jan. 23 to protest the federal government’s vaccine mandates for cross-border truckers and is calling for an end to coronavirus restrictions.
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The protest has gained sweeping support in recent days, and the spokesman of the convoy called the protest “impressive” last week. He claimed it was more than 40 miles long, which would break the world record for longest convoy.
A GoFundMe page for the protest has also raised more than $8 million since it was created Jan. 14.
“We are a peaceful country that has helped protect nations across the globe from tyrannical governments who oppressed their people, and now it seems it is happening here,” the GoFundMe page states. “We are taking our fight to the doorsteps of our Federal Government and demanding that they cease all mandates against its people. Small businesses are being destroyed, homes are being destroyed, and people are being mistreated and denied fundamental necessities to survive,”
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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, however, condemned the convoy and said it is composed of a “small fringe minority” of people who hold “unacceptable views.”
Ahead of the convoy making it to Ottawa, the Canadian province of Nova Scotia made it illegal for people to gather along a highway to support the truckers. Those who disobeyed the directive faced fines between $3,000 to $10,000, while corporations faced fines between $20,000 and $100,000.
The convoy made it to the Canadian capital Saturday, and thousands of people were seen on the streets in support of ending the coronavirus restrictions.
CBC’s PR team did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment on Koksal’s remarks and the subsequent backlash.