Trudeau Revokes Use of Emergencies Act

'The situation is no longer an emergency,' he says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 14, 2022 5:59 PM CST
Updated Feb 23, 2022 6:40 PM CST
Trudeau Invokes Emergency Powers for Convoy Crackdown
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau walks across an empty Wellington St. to a news conference, Monday, Feb. 21, 2022 in Ottawa.   (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press via AP)

Update: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he is ending the use of the Emergencies, nine days after the 1988 law was invoked for the first time to deal with truckers and their supporters blocking border crossings and occupying parts of Ottawa. "The situation is no longer an emergency," Trudeau said Wednesday, per the CBC. "We are confident that existing laws and bylaws are now sufficient to keep people safe." The revocation Wednesday afternoon formally ended the state of emergency. Hundreds of police officers cleared the capital's streets Saturday, bringing the three-week protest against COVID mandates and Trudeau's government to an end. Our story from Feb. 14 follows:

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has invoked the country's Emergencies Act to deal with protesters who have occupied parts of Ottawa for more than two weeks and targeted border crossings to the US. The declaration of a national public order emergency gives the federal government broad powers to restore order, and Trudeau says invoking it was a "last resort," the New York Times reports. This is the first time the 1988 Emergencies Act has ever been invoked, reports the CBC. Its predecessor, the War Measures Act, was only invoked once during peacetime, when Trudeau's father, Pierre Trudeau, cracked down on violent Quebec nationalists in 1970. The act gives the government the power to suspend civil liberties, but Trudeau said he is not seeking to prevent peaceful, legal protests.

The use of the emergency powers "will be time-limited, geographically targeted, as well as reasonable and proportionate to the threats they are meant to address," said the prime minister, who added that there are no plans to deploy the military. "These blockades are illegal, and if you are still participating the time to go home is now," he said after a virtual meeting with provincial leaders. The move will give the Mounties the power to enforce provincial and municipal laws and bylaws, CTV reports. It will allow the government to order tow truck drivers to remove trucks—and make it easier for the government to suspend truckers' personal and corporate back accounts.

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The blockades started as a protest against COVID mandates, but protesters have also been demanding an end to a federal carbon tax—and to Trudeau's premiership. "The vaccination mandate was just the straw that broke the camel’s back," one trucker from southern Ontario tells the Ottawa Citizen. "This is about a lot more than that." According to data leaked by hackers Sunday night, almost half of $8 million raised on the GiveSendGo platform came from donors in the US. (The Ambassador Bridge linking Canada and the US reopened Sunday night.)

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