Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has declared a state of emergency for the first time in the country’s history in response to protests against coronavirus restrictions and against vaccinations.
Trudeau explained that this measure will be “limited in time”, its use will be “responsible and proportionate” and assured that the army will not be used.
With this statement, the police will have “more tools” to arrest or fine protesters and also protect key infrastructure for the country.
After discussions with cabinet and caucus, after consulting the premiers of all provinces and territories, after talking with opposition leaders, the federal government invoked the Emergencies Act to complete the provincial and territorial capacity to deal with blockades and occupations. I want to be very clear, the scope of these measures will be time-limited, geographically specific, as well as reasonable and proportionate to the threats they seek to address. The Emergency Act will be used to strengthen and support law enforcement at all levels across the country. It is about keeping Canadians safe, protecting people’s jobs and restoring confidence in our institutions.
“This is about the safety of Canadians, about protecting people’s jobs,” the Canadian president said after three weeks of protesting the restrictions.
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland explained that banks will be able to seize the personal accounts of those who participate in these demonstrations and in addition the vehicle insurance of any activist may be suspended.
We don’t use emergency law to call in the military. We are not suspending fundamental rights or nullifying the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We do not limit people’s freedom of expression. We do not limit freedom of peaceful assembly. We are not preventing people from exercising their right to legally demonstrate. We strengthen the principles, values and institutions that keep all Canadians free.
They are also preparing an extension of the regulations on financing of terrorism to include cryptocurrencies and online fundraising platforms. “You have to follow the money,” Freeland explained.
This Sunday, security forces cleared the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, one of the most important roads that connects Canada to the United States and which had been blocked by anti-vaccines since last Tuesday. Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters continue to camp in Ottawa.