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Trudeau invokes Emergencies Act against Freedom Convoy — RT in French

On February 14, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau decided to invoke the Emergencies Act to end protests blocking downtown Ottawa and border crossings across the country.

As AFP reports, the Canadian federal government has decided to invoke an exceptional measure, the Emergency Measures Act, to put an end to the movements paralyzing the federal capital Ottawa and several border crossings for three weeks.

“The federal government is invoking the Emergencies Act to complement provincial and territorial powers, and to deal with blockades and occupations,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, while clarifying that the federal government will not appeal. In the Army. He also confirmed that the new measures would be “limited in time and geographically”. “The Emergencies Act is not something to be taken lightly,” he explained, but “these illegal blockages are hurting Canadians and must stop,” he said. .

According to Radio-Canada, the Prime Minister informed the deputies of his party of his decision during an exceptional meeting on February 14 in the morning.

Also according to the public media, the Emergencies Act gives the federal government the ability to do just about anything it deems necessary to overcome a national crisis. It allows, for example, “to impose, on summary conviction, a fine not exceeding $500 and imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or one of these penalties, or, on conviction by indictment, a maximum fine of 5,000 dollars and imprisonment for a maximum of five years or one of these penalties, in the event of contravention of the decrees or regulations,” reports Radio-Canada.

However, the exceptional legislative framework can only apply to “critical and urgent” situations that may “seriously endanger the life, health or safety of Canadians” and whose proportions exceed the “capabilities or powers of intervention of the provinces”.

Geneviève Tellier, professor of political studies at the University of Ottawa, also explained to AFP that “with this law, the government can requisition goods, services, people”. “The government can tell people where to go, where not to go. There are really few limits to what the government can do,” she added.

Ironically, this exceptional measure was invoked only once in peacetime, by Justin Trudeau’s father, Pierre Elliott, when the latter was facing as Prime Minister the October 1970 crisis between Quebec separatists in the federal government.

The law stipulates that the federal government must consult the provinces concerned before declaring a state of emergency.

Provinces oppose federal decision

Several Canadian provinces have expressed their opposition to the invocation of the Emergencies Act. This is particularly the case in Quebec, where Prime Minister François Legault believes that such a measure “is not necessary” and that it is rather “time to come together, [et non] not to divide”. The leader also confirmed that Quebec was studying the possibility of “withdrawing the vaccine passport”.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney also criticized Justin Trudeau’s decision, saying invoking the Emergencies Act “could prolong tensions in the province and would be counterproductive.” Same story in Saskatchewan, where Prime Minister Scott Moe felt that Canadian police had enough tools at their disposal to enforce the law without resorting to emergency measures.

Heather Stefanson, Premier of Manitoba, for her part explained that she was not “convinced that the Emergencies Act should be applied” in her province.

A protest movement that does not weaken

The lifting of sanitary measures is demanded by protesters who block the federal capital Ottawa, located in Ontario, on the border with Quebec. If the Canadian protest movement, which is entering its third week, started with truck drivers protesting against the obligation to be vaccinated to cross the border between Canada and the United States, the demands have extended to a refusal to all health measures and, for many protesters, a rejection of the government of the federal Prime Minister led by Justin Trudeau.

If the situation in Ottawa was calmer on February 13, the movement has not weakened in the capital paralyzed by the demonstrators since the end of January. Rallies took place over the weekend in several Canadian cities, including Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal, and several border crossings remain blocked in the provinces of Manitoba and Alberta. This challenge has inspired other similar initiatives around the world. In France, hundreds of vehicles from all over the country formed a Freedom Convoy. After passing through Paris, they stopped on February 13 near Lille, before a planned meeting in Brussels.

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