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Canadian PM Trudeau Revokes Emergency Powers After Trucker Blockades End

Canadian PM Trudeau Revokes Emergency Powers After Trucker Blockades End

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Wednesday he is removing emergency powers police can use after authorities ended the blockades at the borders and the occupation in Ottawa by truckers and others opposed to COVID-19 restrictions. For almost a week the busiest U.S.-Canada border crossing, the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit, was blocked. The crossing sees more than 25% of the trade between the two countries.

Trudeau said the “threat continues” but the acute emergency that included entrenched occupations has ended. His government invoked the powers last week and lawmakers affirmed the powers late Monday. “The situation is no longer an emergency, therefore the federal government will be ending the use of the Emergencies Act,” Trudeau said. “We are confident that existing laws and bylaws are sufficient.” The Emergencies Act allows authorities to declare certain areas as no-go zones. It also allows police to freeze truckers’ personal and corporate bank accounts and compel tow truck companies to haul away vehicles.

The protests, which were first aimed at a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for cross-border truckers but also encompassed fury over the range of COVID-19 restrictions and hatred of Trudeau, reflected the spread of disinformation in Canada and simmering populist and right-wing anger.

The self-styled “Freedom Convoy” became a black eye on Canada’s reputation for civility as it interrupted trade and caused economic damage on both sides of the border. The trucker protest grew until it closed a handful of Canada-U.S. border posts and shut down key parts of the capital for more than three weeks.  Hundreds of trucks eventually occupied the streets around Parliament, a display that was part protest and part carnival. The blockade also inspired similar convoys in France, New Zealand, and the Netherlands, and has created talk that an American version might attempt to block President Joe Biden’s State of the Union Address on March 1st.

But all border blockades have now ended and the streets around the Canadian Parliament are quiet. “We were very clear that the use of the emergencies act would be limited in time,” Trudeau said.

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