Ant-Man star Evangeline Lilly is urging Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to speak with groups protesting vaccine mandates and pandemic restrictions in the country.
The actor addressed Trudeau in a video posted earlier this week to the Instagram account for Bridge City News, a Canadian news show that airs on the Miracle Channel, a Christian television network. In the video, Lilly stated: “I want to speak to you today about your current approach to and current treatment of our fellow Canadians who are protesting your federal vaccine mandates. They have asked to meet with you, Prime Minister: medical experts, top scientists, doctors, nurses, parents, grandparents, intelligent, loving, concerned citizens.”
The actress then directly asked: “Why won’t you sit with them?”
Demonstrations began in the Canadian capital of Ottawa on Jan. 22. They started with truckers protesting a mandate requiring that truckers traveling from the United States to Canada be vaccinated. The protests soon became a rallying cry for people wishing to protest pandemic restrictions as well, spreading to Toronto, Quebec City and Calgary and blocking supply chain lines. Far-right activists are among those organizing the continued protests, which have led to multiple arrests this week, according to The New York Times.
In her video, Lilly continued: “If you’re so convinced of your own reasons for the mandates, sit down and walk the leaders of a group of 2.3 million protesters across the country, who represent many millions more across the nation, and explain it to them and ask them to listen with open hearts and minds, and then reciprocate. Listen to what they have to say with a mind open to hearing things that might go against the ideas you are entrenched in.” (On Jan. 30 on social media, a false report incorrectly attributed to Ottawa police the claim that 2.3 million people participated in the protests, but Reuters fact-checkers have debunked that number.)
The Marvel star then considered the idea that there could be solutions to “bring Canadians together right now” that the Trudeau administration has not entertained. “You unify people by finding solutions together, not by vilifying those who say there is a better way,” she said.
Added Lilly: “What we need right now from our leadership is unification, and that requires being willing to see, recognize and hear from the people sitting out in the cold at your door.”
On Feb. 14, Trudeau, declared a national public order emergency in Canada. “We cannot and will not allow illegal and dangerous activities to continue,” Trudeau said in a speech to the nation.
This is not the first time Lilly has been vocal about vaccine mandates. In January, the actress posted on Instagram that she attended a rally in Washington, D.C. “This is not safe,” Lilly wrote on social media at the time. “This is not healthy. This is not love. I understand the world is in fear, but I don’t believe that answering fear with force will fix our problems. I was pro-choice before COVID, and I am still pro-choice today.”
Elsewhere, Black Panther star Letitia Wright in December 2020 posted a link to a video questioning whether people should take any prospective COVID-19 vaccine and faced Twitter backlash.
Lilly, who plays Hope Van Dyne in the Ant-Man films, has wrapped filming on Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, which is due out in 2023. In March 2020 at the start of the pandemic, Lilly wrote on Instagram she was refusing to social distance “all in the name of a respiratory flu.” She later apologized, after backlash. “I want to offer my sincere and heartfelt apology for the insensitivity I showed in my previous post to the very real suffering and fear that has gripped the world through COVID19,” Lilly wrote at the time. “I thought I was infusing calm into the hysteria. I can see now that I was projecting my own fears into an already fearful and traumatic situation.”
Aaron Couch contributed to this report.