What is the Emergencies Act?

CANADIAN Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act to “strengthen and support law enforcement agencies at all levels.” 

Law enforcement is physically and diplomatically combating demonstrators who have created blockades affecting commerce between Canada and the United States.

What is the Emergencies Act?

Trudeau enacted the Emergencies Act for the first time ever in the legislation’s 35-year history in response to right-wing protestors resisting vaccine mandates and establishing blockades on Canada’s most critical highways.

In a statement made on February 15, 2022, Trudeau said: “The police will be given more tools to restore order in places where public assemblies constitute illegal and dangerous activities, such as blockades and occupations as seen in Ottawa, the Ambassador Bridge, and elsewhere. These tools include strengthening their ability to impose fines or imprisonment.”

Reporting by CBC News, a Canadian press outlet, found that the Emergencies Act is used to give the federal government increased authority for a short period of time to quell a crisis. 

The Canadian Prime Minister noted that invoking the Emergencies Act is a measure of last resort.

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What is the “Freedom Convoy”?

The Freedom Convoy is a social movement of conservative, anti-vaccine demonstrators who used vehicles to block Ambassador Bridge, a throughway to Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit, and occupy other properties in protest. 

They are calling for a removal of all Covid-19 protocols and have floated other more extremist ideas and iconography.

Trudeau’s statement made mention of a specific directive to tow vehicles blocking roads. 

The Prime Minister's speech was a trending event on Twitter and was paired with a video.

At least 12 have been arrested in the process of clearing the route of protestors and vehicles. 

The Prime Minister also indicated the government would take a firm stance on “regulating and prohibiting the use of property to fund or support illegal blockades.”

According to Newsweek, the crowdfunding platform GoFundMe suspended the Freedom Convoy account and refunded almost $10million in donations.

When will the Emergencies Act be revoked?

Trudeau did not give an exact date as to when the legislation will be pulled.

“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 told the press. 

Ambassador Bridge was opened for commercial use for the first time in days on February 13, 2022. 

“This is about keeping Canadians safe, protecting people’s jobs and restoring confidence in our institutions.”

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