The prime minister of Canada invoked the Emergencies Act on Monday, after the third weekend of protests across the country.
Justin Trudeau said he was invoking the act after Ontario Premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency in his province on Friday.
The drastic measures come after weeks of protests that have seen major ports of entry blocked off, and the capital city of Ottawa gridlocked by semi-trucks.
“After discussing with cabinet and caucus, after consultation with premiers from all provinces and territories.. the federal government has involved the Emergencies Act to supplement provincial and territorial capacity to address the blockades and occupations,” said Trudeau.
NOW – PM Trudeau invokes the Emergencies Act, the successor to the War Measures Act, to quell protests in Canada. pic.twitter.com/9LcMjj2i8x
— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) February 14, 2022
“The scope of these measures will be time-limited, geographically targeted, as well as reasonable and proportionate to the threats they are meant to address,” he assured Canadians.
“The Emergencies Act will be used to strengthen and support law enforcement agencies at all levels across the country. The Emergencies Act will also allow the government to ensure essential services are rendered, for example in order to tow vehicles blocking roads,” he said.
Trudeau also said that that financial institution will also be authorized or directed to render essential services to help address the situation, including by regulating and prohibiting the use or property to fund or support illegal blockades.
“And finally, it will enable the RCMP to enforce municipal bylaws, and provincial offenses, where required,” said Trudeau.
Overall, Trudeau says that the Act will be used in a time-limited and regional manner. He said that the act would provide “more tools to restore order where public assemblies can constitute illegal and dangerous activities.”
The Emergencies Act “is an act of the Parliament of Canada to authorize the taking of special temporary measures to ensure safety and security during national emergencies. It is considered to provide “the stiffest government emergency powers of any emergency law in Canada.”
“Every step of the way, we have been there to support the police of jurisdiction. We’ve been there with tools & resources to help end these blockades. But it is clear that there are more tools necessary,” says PM Trudeau when asked re fears Emergencies Act could worsen situation. pic.twitter.com/DtflbfZ60o
— CPAC (@CPAC_TV) February 14, 2022
It is the first time that the act has ever been used in Canadian history.
A similar-but-now-extinct act titled the War Measures Act was used by Trudeau’s father, Pierre, in the 1970s during the FLQ crisis that saw terrorist attacks by French Canadians in the province of Quebec.