Posts spread fake letter from Canada's Trudeau to Ottawa protesters
Social media posts claim Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote a letter saying he is willing to meet members of the "Freedom Convoy" and its supporters protesting Covid-19 vaccine mandates, providing an image as evidence. This is false; the premier's office says the letter did not come from his team, and he has made no public moves to meet with the demonstrators.
"In a Letter, Trudeau will meet with Truckers in the Freedom Convoy, with engagement time limits based on "Jab Status"!," claims a February 9, 2022 tweet sharing a photo of a letter that shows a logo of the prime minister's office and signatures of both Trudeau and his chief of staff.
In the text of the letter being circulated, the leader of Canada's government proposed to meet with protesters, with time limits based on the Covid-19 vaccination status of the petitioner.
The image spread online as truckers led a protest in Ottawa against the Covid-19 vaccine mandates that took effect on January 15 in Canada and on January 22 in the United States. The convoy was initially downplayed by Trudeau as a "fringe minority," but the group has mushroomed, inspired protests around the world, and drawn significant financial support.
Some 400 vehicles were camped on Parliament Hill while others caused significant economic disruption by shutting down the Ambassador Bridge, stifling a key border crossing for US-Canada trade. Trudeau has vowed to "do everything" to end the border blockades.
But he had not made moves to meet with the demonstrators in Ottawa. The prime minister's office told AFP in an email on February 10 that the letter, which uses unusual formatting and wording, did not originate from Trudeau's team. "This letter is not from us," the email said.
The purported letter also proposed that a "delegate" from the protest organizers be available on "February 9th at 2:30pm to arrange details," a time at which the prime minister was scheduled to attend Question Period in Parliament. This date and time passed with no direct communication between the parties being made public.
AFP Fact Check has examined multiple inaccurate claims related to the convoy, including posts that falsely said Trudeau used his official social media to urge people to shun unvaccinated family members.