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Justin Trudeau left increasingly isolated as much of world looks to move past COVID restrictions

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s support of vaccine mandates in fighting COVID-19 helped him win re-election five months ago, but now he looks increasingly isolated as restrictions are being lifted around the world.

Denmark, the Netherlands, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Israel, Britain and Spain and most of the United States are easing or lifting COVID restrictions, and most of Canada’s provincial governments are rolling them back, too.

But Trudeau has doubled down on federal vaccine mandates and this week invoked emergency powers to seek an end to weeks of protests against his government’s pandemic restrictions.

Protesters have occupied the core of Ottawa since late January and last week cut off major trade corridors to the United States.

Trudeau is trying to regain control, but has drawn sharp criticism even from some of his own Liberal Party lawmakers, including Nate Erskine-Smith, who said “divisive rhetoric” should be dropped.

“The challenge for the Prime Minister is that he’s looking dogmatic at not pragmatic,” said independent pollster Nik Nanos, founder of Nanos Research.