Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared a state of emergency Monday to stop the crippling demonstrations by truckers and others enraged over Canada’s COVID-19 regulations, laying out preparations to not only haul away their trucks but also to strike at their bank accounts and livelihoods.
“These blockades are unlawful, and if you’re still involved, the time to go is now”, he proclaimed.
Trudeau ruled out activating the military by using Canada’s Emergencies Act, which provides the federal government extensive authority to restore order. Instead, his administration threatened to haul away cars used to keep crucial services operating, to freeze trucker’s personal and business bank accounts, and to cancel insurance coverage for their rigs.
Protesters in trucks and other vehicles have been clogging the streets of Ottawa, the capital, and besieging Parliament Hill for more than two weeks. They are protesting against trucker vaccination regulations and other COVID-19 safeguards, as well as Trudeau’s Liberal administration. “This is the largest, greatest, most severe test Trudeau has faced”, said Wesley Wark, a national security specialist and professor at the University of Ottawa. It would also allow the government to make better use of the federal police agency, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Before launching the crackdown, Trudeau electronically met with provincial leaders.
Conservatives urged Trudeau to just repeal the pandemic requirements. A file containing donations totalling $8.4 million was leaked by hackers on Thursday. According to an AP study, over 40% of the money came from the United States, while slightly more than half came from Canada. The War Measures Act, an older version of the Emergencies Act, was employed just once during peacetime, by Trudeau’s late father, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, to cope with a militant Quebec independence movement in 1970. Ontario’s leader says that the province’s immunisation obligation will be lifted on March 1.
The Ambassador Bridge reopens, carrying 25% of all trade between the United States and Canada. This isn’t Canada, folks. “This does not reflect us”, says Colleen Sinclair, an Ottawa-based counter-protester.