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Trudeau Invokes Emergencies Act to End Anti-Vax Protests

Trudeau Invokes Emergencies Act to End Anti-Vax Protests

For the past two weeks, hundreds and sometimes thousands of protesters have been railing against vaccine mandates and other virus precautions and condemning Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government. Police may have cleared the Ambassador Bridge of protestors on Sunday, but all that did was relocate some of the protestors who have clogged the streets of several Canadian cities in trucks and other vehicles. Over the past weeks, authorities have hesitated to move against the protesters around the country. Local officials cited a lack of police manpower and fears of violence, while provincial and federal authorities disagreed over who had responsibility for quelling the unrest.

On Monday, Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act to try to quell the protests by truck drivers and others who have paralyzed Ottawa and blocked border crossings in anger over the country’s COVID-19 restrictions. Trudeau ruled out using the military and said that the emergency measures “will be time-limited, geographically targeted, as well as reasonable and proportionate to the threats they are meant to address.”

 

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Invoking the Emergencies Act allows the federal government to declare the Ottawa protest illegal and clear it out by such means as towing vehicles. It also enables the government to make greater use of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the federal police agency. Doug Ford, the Conservative premier of Ontario, which is Canada’s most populous province and includes Ottawa and Windsor, expressed support for emergency action before the meeting with Trudeau, saying: “We need law and order. Our country is at risk now.”

 

Members of the self-dubbed “Freedom Convoy” have also blockaded various U.S.-Canadian border crossings and inspired similar protests all over the world.

An earlier version of the Emergencies Act, called the War Measures Act, was used just once during peacetime, by Trudeau’s late father, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, to deal with a militant Quebec independence movement in 1970.

[This is a continuining and developing story, please check back for updates]

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