On Tuesday, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau kicked off the COP15 Summit in Montreal, but midway through his opening remarks, he was interrupted by Indigenous protestors, some of whom referred to him as a "colonizer."
Standing before delegates from around the globe, Trudeau used the opportunity to claim that Canada was a "place of free expression."
"As you can also see," he told the crowd, "Canada is a place of free expression, where individuals and communities are free to express themselves openly and strongly, and we thank them for sharing their perspective."
Footage of Trudeau's statement made its way onto Twitter, where users were quick to point out that he had taken a very different tone when it came to the Freedom Convoy protestors earlier this year.
"Unless you're a truck driver. Right, Trudeau?" one user wrote.
Another user suggested that under Trudeau, Canada is only "free" for those who conform to the Liberal government's ideology.
Far from thanking members of the Freedom Convoy for "sharing their perspective," Trudeau cracked down on their protests against his Covid-19 policies.
"I think we have a robust, functioning democracy," he said while testifying at the Emergencies Act inquiry, adding that while protests are important, "using protests to demand changes of public policy is … worrisome."
He went on to explain that he didn't want to set "bad precedents" by "legitimizing" the Freedom Convoy, which peacefully occupied downtown Ottawa for weeks before being forcibly quashed by authorities.
In the months since the event took place, revelations have emerged showing that under Trudeau, the government had considered using drastic measures to disperse protestors, including potentially sending in the military.
The protestors at yesterday's COP15 Summit entered the venue to call on those in attendance to listen to Indigenous voices as they decided how to best tackle climate change. At one point, a number of them began chanting, "Trudeau is a colonizer."
They were eventually escorted out of the room, and Trudeau continued with his speech.
The COP15 Summit, which is set to run until December 19, has already garnered a fair amount of protests both inside the venue and out in the streets of Montreal.
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