Justin Trudeau, Canada’s Prime Minister, announced Wednesday that he will remove emergency powers police have after authorities lifted blockades at borders and Ottawa was occupied by truckers and other opponents to COVID-19 restrictions.
Trudeau stated that the “threat persists” but that the acute emergency, which included entrenched occupations, has ended. The powers were invoked by Trudeau’s government last week, and the lawmakers confirmed them late Monday.
Trudeau stated that “the situation is not an emergency” and therefore, the federal government will cease using the emergencies act. “We believe that the existing laws and bylaws will suffice.”
Authorities can declare no-go areas using the emergency act. The emergency act allows police to place truckers’ bank accounts in a freeze and to force truck companies to remove vehicles.
Trucker protests grew to the point that it closed several border posts between Canada and the United States, as well as shut down key areas of the capital for three weeks. All border blockades are now over and the streets surrounding the Canadian Parliament have been quiet.
Trudeau stated, “We were very clear about the fact that the emergency act would only be used in limited time.”
Trudeau warned that truckers were planning to blockade or occupy more areas outside Ottawa earlier in the week. The minister of public safety also stated that there had been an attempt to stop a crossing into British Columbia this weekend.
Protests that were initially aimed at cross-border truckers carrying a COVID-19 mandate, but also included fury over the COVID-19 restrictions and hate of Trudeau, reflect the spread of disinformation and simmering right-wing and populist anger.
Canada’s reputation as civilized was shaken by the Freedom Convoy, which inspired convoys in France and New Zealand, and disrupted trade. This caused economic damage on both ends of the border. The streets surrounding Parliament were occupied by hundreds of trucks, which was part protest and part parade.
The Ambassador Bridge, which connects Detroit, Ontario, and Windsor, United States, was closed for almost a week. This crossing handles more than 25% trade between the two countries.
Although authorities attempted to reopen border posts, Ottawa police did not issue any warnings up until Friday as protesters blocked the streets and besieged Parliament Hill.
Authorities launched the largest ever police operation in Canadian history on Friday. They arrested a number of Ottawa protesters, and increased the pressure on Saturday, until the streets in front Parliament were clear. Police eventually arrested at least 191 persons and tow away 79 vehicles. As the pressure grew, many protestors retreated.
According to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, those who had their bank accounts frozen were “influencers” in Ottawa’s illegal protest and owners/drivers of vehicles who refused to leave the region.
Ontario announced that it was ending its emergency, but stated that the law enforcement agencies will continue to have access to the emergency tools.
Blockaders of critical infrastructure can face up to one year in prison and a maximum $100,000 fine.
A small group of truckers calling for the end to coronavirus mandates started a cross-country journey from California to Washington, D.C. on Wednesday.
A crowd of several hundred people gathered in Adelanto, a Mojave Desert town in cold winds before two dozen trucks and other vehicles took to the roads. It was not clear how many people intended to travel all the way.
As the Pentagon prepares for numerous trucker convoys, the Pentagon approved 700 unarmed National Guard troops being deployed to Washington. According to the Pentagon, the troops will be used to help with traffic control during protests that are expected to take place in the city over the next few days.