Friday, June 9

Trudeau declares national emergency over Canadian trucker protests, allowing government to override civil rights

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks with reporters during a news conference on Parliament Hill February 11, 2022 in Ottawa, Canada.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks with reporters during a news conference on Parliament Hill February 11, 2022 in Ottawa, Canada.Photo by DAVE CHAN/AFP via Getty Images

  • Canadian truckers have been protesting COVID-19 vaccine mandates since late last month.

  • On Saturday, police began clearing out protests blocking a crucial bridge on the US-Canada border.

  • On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared a national emergency.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared a national emergency over ongoing trucker protests, allowing the nation’s government to temporarily override civil rights.

“The scope of these measures will be time-limited, geographically targeted, as well as reasonable and proportionate to the threats they are meant to address,” Trudeau said at a press conference on Monday.

The far-reaching Emergencies Act gives the Canadian government the ability to prohibit public assembly, restrict travel, and force businesses — such as towing companies — to act, with compensation.

Trudeau said Canada’s 1998 Emergencies Act will be used to “strengthen and support law enforcement agencies at all levels across the country.”

Canada’s anti-vaccine mandate “Freedom Convoy” trucker protests have caused major gridlock and disruption across the country.

Aron Solomon, a chief legal analyst for Esquire Digital, in Montreal, Canada, told Insider that this is the first time the Emergencies Act was used. The act replaced the War Measures Act, which had previously been invoked during the 1970 October Crisis, when a radical separatist group in Quebec kidnapped British trade commissioner James Richard Cross and said they’d kill him if the government did not release 23 prisoners affiliated with the group, CBC reported.

Also Read  Ukraine War Sets Off Europe’s Fastest Migration in Decades

Solomon said the Emergencies Act replaced the War Measures Act so it could align with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which came in 1982.

Solomon said the Freedom Convoy, a group of Canadian truckers who began protesting cross-border COVID-19 vaccine mandates in Ottawa on January 29, have essentially “shut the city down.”

“It’s been extremely disruptive to local residents,” he said, adding that there have been videos of demonstrators handcuffing apartment buildings so residents can’t come out and people have been caught with weapons.

Diane Deans, the chair of Ottawa’s police board, said the protests turned into a “nationwide insurrection,” and a state of emergency was put into place in Ottawa.

On Saturday, police began clearing out protesters that had been blocking a bridge on the US-Canada border for the previous few days.

Trudeau’s use of the Emergencies Act “essentially gives the government a lot more power that you just can’t get away with in a democracy like Canada,” Solomon said.

“The federal government now has powers to do things such as cancel insurance for any of these trucks if they don’t go home. Cancel their license plates and registration. Freeze corporate accounts, as well,” Solomon said.

Solomon said this measure can either help or harm Trudeau and his party. He said the Ottawa police, as well as the federal government, have been criticized by Canadians for not doing enough to curb the demonstrations which have impacted Canada’s economy with key border-crossing blocked.

This response he said may show that the federal government is taking a forceful approach against the disruption, however, it could also give the image that Canada is a “police-state” or fuel criticism and more protests that this government over-reach.

Also Read  Governor: Missiles in western Ukrainian city kill 6

“It’s true that some of these big rigs that might be worth millions of dollars are actually going to go home because they don’t wanna lose the truck. But that doesn’t mean that more people won’t join the protest,” Solomon said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *