Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has invoked emergency powers for the first time in the history of Canada in an attempt to end trucker protests against COVID-19 measures.
In a press conference on Feb. 14, Trudeau announced that he has invoked the Emergencies Act following discussions with the federal cabinet.
“It is now clear that there are serious challenges to law enforcement’s ability to effectively enforce the law,” Trudeau said.
According to Trudeau, the Act enables the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) “to enforce municipal bylaws and provincial offenses” to restore order where illegal and dangerous activities, such as blockades and occupation, are taking place.
“This is not a peaceful protest,” Trudeau said.
Trudeau also said the provisions of the Act will only apply where they are needed and that the measures will be “reasonable and proportionate to the threats they are meant to address.”
The Act will also allow the government to order the provision of essential services, such as towing services to remove trucks.
Under the Act, the federal government is also broadening Canada’s anti-terrorist financing laws to apply to crowdfunding websites, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said.
Freeland further said that the government is also issuing an order to financial institutions to “review their relationships with anyone involved in the illegal blockades, and report to the RCMP or [Canadian Security Intelligence Service].”
Freeland added that banks will be able to immediately freeze or suspend an account suspected of being involved in the convoy protests without the need to get a court order.
“Consider yourselves warned. If your truck is used in these blockades, your corporate accounts will be frozen. The insurance on your vehicle will be suspended,” Freeland said.
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