Canada Invokes Emergency Powers to Stop Protests
February 15, 2022
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has invoked federal emergency powers to quell trucker protests against COVID-19 restrictions that have filled the capital city of Ottawa and other parts of the country.
Trudeau said he did not plan to use the military against the protesters but threatened to tow truckers’ cars, freeze truckers’ personal and corporate bank accounts, and suspend truck insurance. Associated Press.
“These blockades are illegal, and if you are still involved in them, now is the time to go home,” Trudeau said in an address to the nation. He did not specify when the powers would be introduced.
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said the Canadian government would also use anti-money laundering laws to prosecute crowdfunding sites that support blockers.
Some protesters said they were not moving.
“We want only one thing: to end this lockdown and these restrictions,” protested Montreal trucker Kadalyn Valcha said, according to the Associated Press.
The Associated Press reported that an earlier version of the Emergency Powers Act, called the War Measures Act, was only used once in Canada during peacetime. It was in 1970 when Justin Trudeau’s father, then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, reacted to the militant Quebec independence movement. For more than two weeks, hundreds of truckers have been blocking streets and intersections in Ottawa, including near Parliament Hill. They were joined by thousands of non-truck supporters. Over the weekend, Ottawa police forced protesters off the Ambassador Bridge, which connects Canada and the United States.
The demonstrations began as a protest against a Canadian rule that truckers must be vaccinated in order to cross the United States border. The protests quickly escalated into action against pandemic restrictions, such as provincial mask and vaccine requirements, and against Trudeau’s leadership. New York Times said.
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association said the situation did not warrant the application of the Emergency Powers Act.
On the TwitterThe association said: “The Emergency Act can only be invoked when the situation “seriously threatens the ability of the Government of Canada to maintain the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of Canada” and when the situation “cannot be effectively managed under any circumstances.” other Canadian law. Governments regularly deal with difficult situations and do so using the powers given to them by democratically elected representatives. Emergency legislation should not be normalized. It threatens our democracy and our civil liberties.”
On Tuesday, Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloli resigned under pressure over his involvement in trucker protests in the city. STV News reported.