Within the hours earlier than President Trump’s rally on the Ellipse, they held a small occasion in downtown Washington the place each spoke. A reside stream posted to Fb by one other nurse within the group that afternoon exhibits Choujounian on the steps of the Capitol amid a big crowd.
Although there isn’t any proof that both girl participated within the violence, their journey to Washington raises questions on loopholes within the guidelines governing journey between the USA and Canada through the coronavirus pandemic. It additionally provides a reminder of the deep ties between conspiratorial and far-right actions on either side of the border.
Canada and the USA mutually agreed to shut their land border to nonessential journey final March, and have prolonged the restrictions for 30-day increments ever since. The measures take pleasure in widespread help in Canada, and officers have indicated that they gained’t be lifted anytime quickly.
However they comprise a loophole: Canadians can fly to the USA, together with for nonessential journey, although they have to quarantine for 14 days upon their return. Trudeau has confronted strain to tighten border restrictions, and this month, Canada started requiring all air vacationers to supply a detrimental coronavirus check earlier than entry.
At the very least one Canadian flag will be seen waving in photographs and video of the mobbing of the Capitol constructing. The nurses posted a video during which they chatted with Sam, a person Nagle recognized as a “fellow Canadian,” who was current on the Capitol constructing Jan. 6. His identification couldn’t be confirmed.
The identities of the 2 Canadian nurses who traveled to Washington have been first reported by Justin Ling at Vice Information. It’s unclear what number of Canadians have been on the riot.
Jason Kung, a spokesman for World Affairs Canada, stated that the company is “not conscious of the involvement or detention of any Canadian residents in relation to the latest occasion on Capitol Hill.”
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canada’s federal regulation enforcement company, stated it has “no info that Canadians have been arrested as a part of the occasions that unfolded final week” in Washington, and referred inquiries to U.S. regulation enforcement.
Neither Choujounian or Nagle responded to requests for remark despatched to their social media accounts.
In accordance with the School of Nurses of Ontario, Nagle has labored on the London Well being Sciences Heart-Youngsters’s Hospital of Western Ontario since 2012. In a press release, the hospital stated she is on unpaid depart.
“We proceed to study of actions involving an NICU nurse at London Well being Sciences Centre that aren’t aligned with LHSC’s values,” it stated. “Upon initially studying of issues associated to participation in an area anti-masking rally again in November, LHSC took instant motion to make sure the hospital stays a protected surroundings for everybody by inserting her on an unpaid depart pending the outcomes of the investigation.”
Choujounian is listed as having labored at a long-term care house exterior Toronto from 2007 to 2020, in line with the regulatory physique’s information. In video of the nurses’ occasion Jan. 6, she stated that she was fired due to her social media posts about coronavirus restrictions, corresponding to lockdowns. Her LinkedIn profile lists her job as “Life Coach.”
For the reason that outbreak of the pandemic, there’s been a surge of curiosity in conspiratorial content material, a lot of it originating in the USA and adapting to native contexts because it spreads.
What’s emerged is a sprawling motion that mixes vaccine hesitancy, coronavirus denial and far-right conspiracies, most notably QAnon. It has spurred “anti-lockdown” and “freedom” rallies around the globe.
In Canada, the motion has led to a sequence of rallies in cities throughout the nation, together with common “anti-lockdown” occasions in downtown Toronto.
The Toronto occasion brings collectively a mixture of anti-vaccine activists, small-business house owners who oppose coronavirus restrictions and hardcore conspiracists who imagine, regardless of zero proof, that Trump is secretly waging warfare on a globalist cabal.
At an Oct. 24 rally in Toronto, a crowd of a number of hundred cheered audio system who downplayed the severity of the coronavirus pandemic and inspired members to ditch face masks. Some members carried Trump 2020 flags, others banners referencing American conspiracies corresponding to “Pizzagate.”
The subsequent week, Choujounian was a featured speaker, in line with a video she posted on Instagram, opening her remarks with “Hiya freedom fighters!” and happening to check coronavirus restrictions to “crimes in opposition to humanity.”
In November, Nagle helped arrange a “freedom rally” in London, Ontario, in line with the Canadian Broadcasting Company.
Her social media posts recommend hyperlinks to the anti-vaccination motion and covid denial. In a latest on-line panel posted to the Fb web page of a Canadian anti-vaccine group, she mentioned her plans to journey to Washington on Jan. 5 and return. Jan. 7.
In a video posted Jan. 7 as she ready to go again to Canada, Nagle accused the media of being “manipulative” and interviewed a person who described the day prior to this’s occasions, during which 5 individuals have been killed, as “peaceable.”
“I hope that helps to get a special perspective on what’s taking place right here,” Nagle stated. “To point out you, like, the solar’s out. We’re having a superb time. We’re going to begin our journey house.”