Politics

Trudeau says Canadians are 'angry' and 'frustrated' with the unvaccinated

With the Omicron-driven pandemic wave sweeping the country, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canadians are growing more "angry" and "frustrated" with people who still refuse to get vaccinated.

PM's comments come after President Macron vowed to pressure France's vaccine holdouts

Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos, left, looks on as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a news conference on Parliament Hill on Wednesday. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

With the Omicron-driven pandemic wave sweeping the country, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canadians are growing more angry and frustrated with people who still refuse to get vaccinated.

Trudeau said that while most Canadians have stepped up to get their shots — putting Canada near the top of the list of countries with the highest vaccination rates — the unvaccinated remain a problem. 

"It's not just about governments and health workers frustrated that there are Canadians who still continue to choose to not get vaccinated. It's fellow Canadians as well," he said.

"When people are seeing cancer treatments and elective surgeries put off because beds are filled with people who chose not to get vaccinated, they're frustrated.

"When people see that we are in lockdowns or serious public health restrictions right now because of the risk posed to all of us by unvaccinated people, people get angry."

WATCH | Trudeau pleads with the unvaccinated:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pleads with the unvaccinated to get the shot

11 months ago
Duration 2:13
Trudeau said that the best way out of the pandemic is still for Canadians to get their vaccines as soon as possible

According to CBC's vaccine tracker, almost 87 per cent of Canadians aged five and older have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 80.6 per cent are fully vaccinated.

While those rates are high, Trudeau said the record case numbers being driven by the Omicron variant are leading to more hospitalizations and forcing cancellations of elective surgeries, putting Canadians' health at risk.

"That front-line health worker who's giving you your first dose of the vaccine, even now in January 2022, will be immensely pleased to be able to give you that first dose of vaccine, even today," Trudeau said. "Because they'd much rather be giving you an injection of vaccine than intubating you in an ICU."

Trudeau made his comments after French President Emmanuel Macron said that his own frustration with vaccine holdouts has led to legislation designed to "piss off" the unvaccinated.

WATCH | How rapid tests could be used:

Feds to deliver additional 140 million rapid tests to provinces, territories this month

11 months ago
Duration 12:16
Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc says while rapid tests are not "a magic bullet" or "perfect answer" to the Omicron surge, they are part of "having safe workplaces".

Facing an election in April, Macron unveiled a draft bill that would make it mandatory for people to show proof of vaccination to enter a restaurant or cinema or to take the train.

Macron also said the unvaccinated are "irresponsible" and that he plans to make their lives so complicated that they'll feel compelled to get the shot.

With files from Reuters

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