Unvaccinated Canadians defy stigma in viral Twitter trend

Many Canadians have taken to Twitter to post their portraits and biographies since Sept. 13, saying how their choice to remain unvaccinated has left them with derogatory labels.

Alberta’s Martin Belanger says he posted the original tweet that started the trend Tuesday morning.

“I’m a 55-year-old Canadian. I am married, father of 4, university graduate and fluent in two languages. I’m an engineer, I’ve been solving problems for 35 years. I am a volunteer hockey coach and an avid outdoorsman. According to Trudeau, I am an extremist who must be dealt with,” Bélanger wrote in his account.

Belanger told the Epoch Times that he posted this after watching a video of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in which he made disparaging remarks about the unvaccinated.

“I had watched this video hundreds of times before, but for some reason on Tuesday it made me angrier than usual and compelled me to post my story. It took off from there,” Belanger says.

The video is from when Trudeau gave an interview to French television in September 2021.

Trudeau had said there are “people who vehemently oppose vaccination, who don’t believe in science, who are often misogynists, who are often racist.”

“There aren’t many of them, but they take up a lot of space… As a leader, as a country, do we tolerate these people or do we say, come on.”

The format used by Bélanger went viral, with Twitter identifying the topic as trending for several days.

“I’m a 34-year-old Jamaican-born Canadian engineer and project manager. I am a husband and father of two little boys, 5 and 2. Because I made a different medical choice, Justin Trudeau says I am an ideologically motivated extremist, racist and misogynist,” wrote Devon Thompson.

“I’m 56. I live in AB. My son is in 3rd year Uni. I have a career that I love. I appreciate the kindness and conversation. I discovered that freedom is one of my core values. I lost a lot during C-19. Justin Trudeau says I am an extremist who should not be tolerated. wrote Marnie Stretch.

“I am a 37 year old father of three and an 8th generation Canadian. I have paid huge taxes every year since I was 15 years old and employ over a dozen Canadians. I have never taken a dollar from the government or broken the law and according to Trudeau I am an extremist.” wrote entrepreneur and author BR Sutton.

The trend has spread to at least one politician, with Alberta UCP leadership contender Daniel Smith joining in.

“I am an educated and independent woman running for Premier of Alberta, but because I believe that no Canadian should be discriminated against for refusing a COVID vaccine, according to Justin Trudeau, I am a misogynist with unacceptable views, with that we have to deal with,” she published on September 16.

Belanger says he was surprised by the phenomenon.

“Literally tens of thousands of people posted their story. And it resonates with many because it’s a simple message,” he says.

“We are all Canadians, we all have a story, we all deserve to be heard. This is a message for all politicians, not just liberals. Don’t take us for granted and stop trying to divide us.”

Bélanger rejected claims on Twitter that what he had started was a staged political campaign.

“How can I arrange this?” he asks. “I work as an entrepreneur in the field of oil and gas. I don’t even belong to a political party.”

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Noah Chartier is a reporter for the Epoch Times based in Montreal. Twitter: @NChartierET Gettr: @nchartieret

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