Canada’s Trudeau Ends Emergency Powers Invoked to Clear Protests (Watch)

“We are no longer in an emergency situation” in Ottawa, prime minister says.

QUICK FACTS:
  • Canada is ending rarely used special measures invoked nine days ago to tackle weeks-long protests that shut some border crossings and paralyzed Ottawa since late January, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday, Reuters reports.
  • “The situation is no longer an emergency. Therefore, the federal government will be ending the use of the Emergencies Act,” Trudeau told a news conference, adding, “We are confident that existing laws and bylaws are now sufficient to keep people safe.”
  • Trudeau’s move comes only days after he invoked the The Emergencies Act, signifying a major reversal.
  • The revocation marks a shift for government and law-enforcement officials, who just days ago said the emergency powers were still required to ensure public safety and protect against the risk of trucker-led protesters returning to the capital.
  • The reversal also comes in response to massive protests in Canada led by the “Freedom Convoy,” thousands of truckers protesting the Canadian government’s COVID-19 mandates.
WHAT CONSERVATIVE CANADIAN LEADERS ARE SAYING:
  • “Today’s announcement is proof that the Prime Minister was wrong,” tweeted MP Candice Bergen.
  • “Trudeau backs down,” Pierre Poilievre, a Conservative lawmaker who is running for leadership of the party, said on Twitter. “Thank you to all who fought this abuse of power.”
BACKGROUND:
  • The powers had included the ability to freeze the accounts of those suspected of supporting the truckers’ protest of their government’s COVID-19 mandates, without obtaining a court order.
  • The aim of freezing the accounts was “to convince people who took part in the occupation and the illegal blockades to listen to reason,” Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said, adding that the government had already asked banks to begin “to unfreeze these bank accounts.”
  • Separately, the province of Ontario announced that it was terminating a state of emergency declared earlier this month to respond to the protests, Reuters notes.