Canada goes to the polls on Monday and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is banking on staying in power by claiming if re-elected he would ban people from protesting outside hospitals and other medical centres. He also accused his chief rival of supporting those who oppose COVID-19 vaccinations.
Recent polls show Trudeau's ruling Liberals have recovered from early setbacks and could squeeze out another minority government in the snap Sept. 20 election he called to gain approval for how he handled the pandemic.
Organisers of previous demonstrations against vaccine mandates mobilised again across Canada on Monday and Trudeau said Conservative Party leader Erin O'Toole was "giving into his anti-vaccination fringe elements in his caucus".
O'Toole is not enthusiastic about mandates, saying he prefers use of rapid testing. He is trying to expand support by pushing more centrist policies.
Trudeau said the Liberals would make it a criminal offence to block access to buildings that provide health care, including hospitals, abortion clinics, pharmacies and testing centres.
O'Toole has repeatedly criticised Trudeau, portraying him as a scandal-hit party goer obsessed with keeping power. O'Toole highlighted photos of a young Trudeau dressed in blackface which emerged during the 2019 election race.