Bergen advised against telling truckers to leave Ottawa, said protests should be made ‘PM’s problem’

Bergen advised against telling truckers to leave Ottawa, said protests should be made 'PM's problem'

Newly elected interim Conservative Party Leader Candice Bergen advised senior Conservative MPs not to tell members of the trucker convoy to leave Ottawa and instead make the protests the prime minister’s problem, according to an internal email obtained by CTV News.

In an email sent on Monday, the then deputy leader told her colleagues “I don’t think we should be asking them to go home.”

“I understand the mood may shift soon. So we need to turn this into the PMs problem. What will he take the first step to working toward ending this?”

CTV News has contacted Bergen’s office for comment.

Bergen has been vocally supportive of the Freedom Convoy that has blockaded downtown Ottawa for almost a week, in protest of vaccine mandates and other public health restrictions.

The leadership of the convoy says they won’t leave until the government lifts policies they say impede personal freedoms.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Liberal MPs, as well as NDP and Bloc Quebecois MPs, have all called for the protesters to vacate.

The convoy has been a source of divisiveness for the Conservative Party, with some MPs coming out in support and others being hesitant to comment at all.

Bergen’s strategy, to make it the prime minister’s problem, was deployed in the House of Commons during question period on Thursday.

“Where is the olive branch, because Canadians are looking for an olive branch…The government doesn’t have to agree. They don’t have to even like the protesters and the trucks that are parked outside but they need to provide a solution. So could they please tell Canadians what the solution is to get past this impasse?” she asked.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland instead cited the need to speak out against racist and hate-fuelled symbols and the movements that tolerate them.

Images of holding the Confederate flag and signs with drawn on wastika symbols have gained attention nationwide.

“I’m afraid this is classic gaslighting, and it’s very disappointing to see the deputy leader do that when we are in the middle of what’s going on on the streets right now in Ottawa. There’s nobody in this House that tolerates racism,” Bergen said.

Former Conservative cabinet minister James Moore said it’s a “mistake” for the Conservatives to continue to support the convoy.

“I think it’s fine to side with people who have anxiety about, you know, closing down the border issues and some of the pragmatic issues of vaccine mandates. That’s an entirely separate conversation from what’s happening now,” he said during an interview on CTV News Channel’s Power Play.

During an interview with CTV News Channel Thursday evening, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson called on Bergen to apologize, saying political points should not be made on the backs of the people of Ottawa.

“If that’s true, that’s really a disgraceful performance by the new leader of the Conservative party,” Watson told CTV News Channel Thursday evening.

“To make political points on the backs of the people in our city who have suffered for almost a week now is absolutely disgraceful.”

“My hope is that, if it is true and it emanated from her office, that she apologized. People who are suffering the most should not be a political football tossed around.”