Canadian airlines cancel flights and call for an end to travel restrictions

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Outaouais: Canada’s two major airlines have demanded that Ottawa roll back travel restrictions related to COVID-19 amid ongoing protests over vaccination mandates that have overwhelmed the nation’s capital.

The current wave of protests against COVID-19 measures began when thousands of demonstrators gathered in Ottawa to express strong opposition to vaccination mandates for truckers crossing the Canada-US border.

WestJet Airlines Ltd. canceled 20% of its flights in March amid continued uncertainty over trucker protests, The Globe and Mail newspaper reported.

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“It is disappointing that Canada remains stagnant in its approach and continues to make travel inaccessible and punitive for Canadians and incoming tourists,” said acting chief executive Harry Taylor while adding that travel advisories and requirements tests were meant to be temporary.

Earlier Sunday, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson declared a state of emergency in the city.
Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino announced Monday that federal police have approved Ottawa’s request for additional officers to quell the protest.

“I can confirm that the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) have received and approved a request for additional officers,” Mendicino said during an emergency debate on the situation.

Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the truckers’ protest unfolding in Ottawa must end, citing the disruption it has caused to the economy and local residents.

“Individuals are trying to block our economy, our democracy and the daily lives of our fellow citizens, this must stop,” Trudeau said in a speech to the Canadian Parliament on Monday evening.

“The people of Ottawa don’t deserve to be harassed in their own neighborhood. They don’t deserve to be confronted with the inherent violence of a swastika fluttering on a street corner or a Confederate flag.

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