On Monday, Justin Trudeau enforced an emergency in Canada. He announced that “The Emergencies Act will be used to strengthen and support law enforcement agencies at all levels across the country.”
The Canadian Prime Minister invoked remarkable emergency powers in an effort to end protests that have blocked border crossings and paralyzed the country’s capital city of Ottawa. “Here in our capital city, families and small businesses have been injuring illegal obstruction of their neighbourhoods. Occupying streets, harassing people, breaking the law. This is not a peaceful protest,” PM Trudeau added.
The Emergencies Act has been used once in peacetime (Quebec crisis) by Trudeau’s father former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau who had invoked the earlier version of The War Measures Act in 1970. It allows the federal government to override provinces and authorize special temporary measures to ensure security during national emergencies.
In his official statement, Trudeau said that ” This is about keeping Canadians safe, protecting peoples jobs and restoring confidence in our institutions.” Trudeau’s action comes as the so-called freedom convoy protests started by the Canadian truck drivers opposing a COVID-19 vaccine mandate have turned into a rallying point for people opposing the policies of Trudeau’s government covering everything from pandemic restrictions to the carbon tax.
Protests in Ottowa have entered their 3rd week while a 6-day blockade on a bridge connecting Windsor- Ontario to Detroit-Michigan. Choking the supply chain for US carmakers was finally cleared over the weekend. Protestors have also shut down smaller border crossings in Alberta (Coutts), south-central Manitoba (Emerson) and British Columbia.
Still, four provincial Premiers said that they oppose Justin Trudeau’s plan to invoke the Act calling it unnecessary with Quebecs Premier adding, “Now is not the time to throw oil on the fire.” The Canadian Parliament would have to approve the use of the Emergencies Act measures within 7-days and it also has the power to revoke them.