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21 Feb, 2022 20:22

Trudeau says Emergencies Act remains in place

The protest blockades are gone, but Canada’s PM indicates controversial law stays in effect for now
Trudeau says Emergencies Act remains in place

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday announced that the recently invoked wide-ranging Emergencies Act, allowing the government to freeze bank accounts of Freedom Convoy protesters and their supporters, will remain in effect, even as “things seem to be resolving very well in Ottawa.”

Trudeau added that the Act was “not something to undertake lightly,” insisting it would only be applied in a “momentary, temporary and proportional” manner. “We don’t want to keep it in place a single day longer than necessary,” he said.

But even as he acknowledged that the border blockades formed by members of the trucker convoy had been dispersed, the PM noted that “this state of emergency is not over.” He declined to provide an estimate when the ‘emergency’ might be concluded, instead citing unspecified “real concerns about the coming days.

Interim Ottawa Police Chief Steve Bell declared an end to the truckers’ protest on Saturday after promising to trace anyone who had participated in or supported the demonstration and punish them with “financial sanctions and criminal charges.”

Aided by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the capital’s cops engaged in a brutal crackdown against the weeks-long protest over the weekend, using batons and projectiles as well as riding horses directly into crowds. Over 200 demonstrators were arrested and at least 76 vehicles seized. Ottawa’s mayor said these vehicles can be sold off under the Emergencies Act. Meanwhile, dozens of bank accounts containing a total upwards of $3.2 million have already been frozen under the Act, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said on Saturday.