Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Monday that he is invoking the Emergencies Act to try and put a stop to the Freedom Convoys that have shut down traffic—and much of the commerce—in Canada. The truckers, protesting vaccine mandates, have clogged roads, leading to chaos on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border. Among other actions, the Canadian government will freeze the assets of truck owners participating in the protests and suspend their insurance policies. In addition, the prime minister said that, under the Emergencies Act, the government will have the power to “compel” tow-truck drivers to remove rigs blocking roads, which sounds an awful lot like forced labor, i.e. slavery.
According to the CBC:
The Emergencies Act, which replaced the War Measures Act in the 1980s, defines a national emergency as a temporary “urgent and critical situation” that “seriously endangers the lives, health or safety of Canadians and is of such proportions or nature as to exceed the capacity or authority of a province to deal with it.”
The act gives special powers to respond to emergency scenarios affecting public welfare (natural disasters, disease outbreaks), public order (civil unrest), international emergencies or war emergencies.
Trudeau assured Canadians that he is “not using the Emergency Powers Act to deploy the military.”
Asked what it would take for him to bring the military in, he said, “I’m not going to engage in hypotheticals right now. I think that what is most important is that Canadians get their lives back, their neighborhoods back, their communities back. The measures that we put forward today will give the tools to law enforcement to be able to move in even stronger ways against these illegal protests and blockades that are hurting Canadians.”
“We are not limiting the right to peacefully protest or assemble. What we want to do is protect Canadians, protect their jobs, and reinstate confidence in their institutions.”
The protests were prompted by a requirement that all truckers be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or quarantine for 14 days, after crossing into Canada from the U.S. The blockades began last month, with protesters descending on the capital city of Ottowa on Jan. 29.
“Invoking the Emergency Powers Act is never the first thing the government should do, or the second,” the PM added. “The Act should be used sparingly, as a last result.”
It “gives more powers to the police of jurisdiction,” he said.
“We’ll always defend the right of Canadians to peacefully assemble … but these blockades are illegal and if you are still participating, the time to go home is now,” he declared. “The Canadian border services agencies are already trying to turn back non-Canadians who are seeking to enter the country.”
Deputy PM Christia Freeland explained that the Emergencies Act will be used to cut off financial support to the protesters. “This is about following the money,” she said. “This is about stopping the financing of the illegal blockades.”
“Consider yourself warned. If your truck is being used in these illegal blockades, your corporate accounts will be frozen, the insurance on your vehicle will be suspended. Send your rigs home,” she said, adding that the government’s powers would include cracking down on crowdfunding sites, making them register with the government, and freezing the assets of those involved in helping to fund the protests.
“I know that everyone is tired of this pandemic. We’re hearing your frustration with COVID … and with the temporary measures we had to put forward to keep people safe … you have a right to express that frustration … it’s something we’ll always defend,” Trudeau said, but “depriving your neighbors of their freedoms is a totally different thing. It has to stop.”
Trudeau could end what he is calling an “illegal occupation” in thirty seconds by easing his government’s draconian COVID mandates. Instead of heeding the will of the Canadian people, he doubled down and poured gas on the fire by cracking down on dissenters. Will Canadians push back or go willingly into the dark night of Trudeau’s totalitarianism? Stay tuned.
This is a developing story.