Canada’s prime minister, Justin trudeau, has slammed a far-right website in the final days of the country’s federal election, accusing it of spreading misinformation about coronavirus vaccines and contributing to the growing number of protests across the country.
After Wednesday night’s French language debate between federal leaders, Trudeau was asked by a member of Rebel News – a website whose contributors have included Katie Hopkins en Tommy Robinson – if he would continue to exclude the group from covering the election.
“The reality is, organizations – organizations like yours – that continue to spread misinformation and disinformation on the science around vaccines … is part of why we’re seeing such unfortunate anger and lack of understanding of basic science,” said Trudeau. “Frankly your – I won’t call it a media organization – your group of individuals need to take accountability for some of the polarization that we’re seeing in this country.”
Video of the exchange went viral on Thursday morning, quickly racking up more than 1m views on Twitter.
Rebel, founded by Ezra Levant, a Canadian broadcaster and political activist, sued and secured a last-minute victory in the courts after a federal judge said the group should be allowed to have a reporter present during both the French and English language debates.
The far-right group is often accused in Kanada of spreading misinformation under the guise of reported news.
In recent weeks, anti-vaccine protesters have followed the prime minister across the country, disrupting his events and in one instance, getting close enough to the prime minister to hurl gravel at him. On another occasion, the prime minister cancelled an event, citing security concerns.
In his response on Wednesday night, Trudeau appeared visibly frustrated with the movement to discredit vaccines.
“I salute all extraordinary hard-working journalists who put science and facts at the heart of what they do and ask me tough questions every day, but make sure that they are educating and informing Canadians from a broad range of perspectives – which is the last thing that you guys do," hy het gesê.
At the same event, the New Democratic leader, Jagmeet Singh, when asked a question by Rebel, said he does not take questions from the organization.