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Trudeau to use Emergency Powers across Canada

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Members of the self-styled Freedom Convoy walk with the Canadian flag in Ottawa.(Inset) Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

CANADA: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has decided to invoke Emergency Powers across all of Canada to quell the protests by demonstrators who have paralyzed Ottawa and blocked border crossings in anger over the country’s COVID-19 restrictions, a senior government official said Monday.

The Prime Minister met virtually with the leaders of Canada’s provinces. In recent days, Trudeau rejected calls to use the military but otherwise said “all options are on the table” to end the protests, including invoking the Emergencies Act, which gives the Government broad powers to restore order.

The Government official who confirmed Trudeau’s plans was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

For more than two weeks, hundreds and sometimes thousands of protesters in trucks and other vehicles have clogged the streets of Ottawa, the capital, railing against vaccine mandates for truckers and other COVID-19 precautions and condemning Trudeau’s Liberal Government. Members of the self-styled Freedom Convoy have also blockaded various U.S.-Canadian border crossings, though the busiest and most important – the Ambassador Bridge connecting Windsor, Ontario, to Detroit – was reopened on Sunday after police arrested the last of the demonstrators and broke the nearly week-long siege that had disrupted auto production in both countries.

Invoking the Emergencies Act would allow the Federal Government to declare the Ottawa protest illegal and clear it out by such means as towing vehicles, Wark said. It would also enable the government to make greater use of the Mounties, the federal police agency.

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.

Invoking emergency powers would be “a signal to both Canadians across the country and also an important signal to allies like the United States and around the world who are wondering what the hell has Canada been up to,” Wark said.

Many of Canada’s COVID-19 restrictions, such as mask rules and vaccine passports for getting into restaurants and theaters, are already falling away as the omicron surge levels off.

Pandemic restrictions have been far stricter in Canada than in the U.S., but Canadians have largely supported them. The vast majority of Canadians are vaccinated, and the COVID-19 death rate is one-third that of the United States. – JAPAN TODAY

Thursday, February 17, 2022 – 01:00

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