Canada's Trudeau invokes the emergency powers of Canada to end protests

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used emergency powers Monday to quell protests from truckers and other drivers over Canada's COVID-19 regulations.

Canada's Trudeau invokes the emergency powers of Canada to end protests

He also announced plans to strike at their bank accounts as well as their livelihoods.

He declared that "these blockades were illegal" and that if he was still participating, it was time to return home.

Trudeau disregarded the possibility of using the military by invoking Canada’s Emergencies Act.

Instead, his government threatened to remove vehicles from essential services; freeze bank accounts of truckers and their personal and corporate accounts; and suspend insurance on their rigs.

"Consider yourself warned," Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister, said. Send your rigs home.

Freeland, who is also the finance minister, said the government will also broaden its anti-money-laundering regulations to target crowd-funding sites that are being used to support the illegal blockades.

Trudeau didn't specify when the new crackdowns would start. He did give assurances that the emergency measures would be limited in time, targeted geographically, reasonable, and proportionate to the threats they were meant to address.
Over the past two weeks, thousands, sometimes hundreds of, protesters in trucks have blocked the streets of Ottawa. They also besieged Parliament Hill railing against the mandates of vaccines for truckers, as well as other COVID-19 precautions, and condemning Trudeau’s Liberal government.

The Freedom Convoy members also blocked several U.S.-Canadian border crossings. However, the Ambassador Bridge linking Windsor, Ontario to Detroit, which was the busiest and most significant, was reopened Sunday by police after dozens of protestors were arrested and the siege that disrupted auto production in both nations for nearly a week, had been broken.

Wesley Wark, an expert in national security and a professor at the University of Ottawa, said that this was Trudeau's most difficult, biggest, and most significant test.

Wark stated that the government could invoke the Emergencies Act to declare the Ottawa protest illegal, and then clear it by using towing vehicles. The government would be able to make more use of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (federal police agency).

One of the organizers of the Ottawa protests said that he would not back down despite being under pressure from the government.

"There are no threats to our safety. Tamara Lich stated that we will keep the line.

Cadalin Valcea is a Montreal truck driver who has been protesting for over two weeks and said that he would only move if forced to: "We only want one thing: to end this lockdown, these restrictions."

Trudeau met virtually leaders from the country's provincial governments before announcing his crackdown.

Doug Ford, Conservative premier of Ontario (which is Canada's most populous and includes Ottawa, Windsor and other parts), expressed support for emergency action and said: "We need law, and order." Our country is in danger now.

The leaders of the other provinces cautioned the prime minister not to take such a move, with some warning that it could exacerbate an already dangerous situation.

"At this stage, it would not help our social climate. Francois Legault, Quebec Premier, said that there is a lot to do and that we need to be cautious. It wouldn't help the polarization.

Protests in Canada have attracted support from right-wing extremists as well as armed citizens. They have been cheered by conservatives like Donald Trump in the U.S.

Trudeau was pressured by conservatives to drop the pandemic mandates.

"He's been protesting all over the country and is now falling in the polls. He desperately wants to save his political career." Pierre Poilievre (opposition Conservative lawmaker), who is running for leadership of the party, said that the solution is right in front of him.

Protests have received millions of donations, with a large portion coming from the U.S.

Hackers allegedly infiltrated to dump a file online showing nearly 93,000 donations, according to an Associated Press analysis.

About 40% of the money raised was from the U.S., while just over half came from Canada.

Other developments include the Mounties announcing that they had arrested 11 people at Coutts border crossing, Alberta, which is blocked by Montana after discovering a cache with guns and ammunition.

Police claimed that a small group of protestors was willing to use force against police officers if they were stopped. Authorities confiscated long guns, handguns and body armor, as well as large quantities of ammunition.

Jason Kenney, the Alberta Premier, also stated that protesters using a tractor and a truck with heavy-duty trucks tried to ram a Coutts police car on Sunday night. They fled. He stated that some protesters wanted to "take it in a very dangerous, dark direction."

Authorities have resisted the call to action against protesters over the last weeks. Local officials blamed a shortage of police officers and fear of violence. Federal and provincial authorities disagreed on who was responsible for quelling unrest.

Trudeau's father Pierre Trudeau used an earlier version of the Emergencies Act (called the War Measures Act) only once during peacetime to address a militant Quebec independence movement that took place in 1970.

Similar convoys were organized in New Zealand, France and the Netherlands following similar demonstrations. According to U.S. authorities, truck convoys could be in the planning stages in the United States.

Wark stated that Canada's invocation of emergency powers would send a message to allies, including the United States, "who are wondering what Canada has been up to."

On Monday, Ontario's premier also announced that the province would no longer require proof of vaccination for entry to restaurants, bars, and sports events. Canada has seen a surge in cases due to the omicron variant.

"We are moving forward because it is safe. Ford stated that today's announcement was not due to what is happening in Windsor or Ottawa, but because of it.

Late Sunday night, traffic was allowed to travel on the Ambassador Bridge. It carries 25% of all trade between these countries. General Motors, Ford and Toyota, as well as other automakers, had to shut down or reduce production due to the interruption. Some have not yet returned to full production.

Residents are fed up with the government's inaction and have been angered by Ottawa's siege. It is located approximately 470 miles (750 km) away. Residents have reported being intimidated and harassed by protesters who have parked their trucks bumper to bumper on the streets.

"It's stressful. It's making me angry. This is not Canada. This does not represent our country," Colleen Sinclair (a counter-protester living in Ottawa) said.

As the omicron surges off, many of Canada's COVID-19 restrictions are falling apart, including mask rules and vaccine passports to get into theaters and restaurants.

Pandemic restrictions in Canada have been much stricter than those in the U.S. but Canadians have generally supported them. Most Canadians have been vaccinated.