The blockade is over, but Trudeau says extraordinary powers are needed

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday’s emergency powers are still needed, despite police ending the border blockade and occupation of the country’s capital by truckers and others angry at Canada’s restrictions against COVID-19.

TARANTA (AP) – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday that emergency powers are still needed, despite police lifting the border blockade and occupation of the capital by trucks and others angry over restrictions in Canada COVID-19.

“The situation is still fragile, a state of emergency still exists,” Trudeau said.

Lawmakers in parliament on Monday night will vote on whether to allow police to continue to use emergency powers. The leader of the opposition New Democratic Party, Jagmit Singh, said his party would support it, ensuring that Trudeau should have enough votes.

Trudeau noted that there are some truckers near Ottawa who may be planning further blockades, and his public security minister noted that attempts were made over the weekend to block the border crossing in British Columbia.

The Emergency Law allows the authorities to declare certain areas restricted areas. It also allows police to freeze personal and corporate bankers ’bank accounts and forces tow truck companies to tow vehicles.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said those whose bank accounts were frozen were “influential people in the illegal protest in Ottawa, as well as owners and / or drivers of vehicles who did not want to leave the area.”

Finance Minister Christia Freeland said everyone affected had an easy way to unfreeze their accounts: “Stop being part of the blockade,” she said.

Public Security Minister Marco Mendisin said police permission to designate the Ottawa center as a restricted area was particularly effective. There are about 100 police checkpoints left.

“We saw peace, tranquility and silence,” Mendisina said.

Singh, leader of the opposition New Democrats, said he knew protesters were expected in nearby Ottawa and in the capital. “They need to be cleaned up,” Singh said.

Singh also noted that convoys had been intercepted.

“This is an attack on our democracy. This is a group of people who are very clearly connected with the far right wing, ”Singh said. “The organizers are clearly aiming to undermine democracy. That is something we cannot allow to continue. “

Truckers’ protests grew until several Canadian and US border posts were closed and key parts of the capital were closed for more than three weeks.

But all the border blockades are over, and the streets around the Canadian Parliament are quiet. Protesters in Ottawa, who vowed never to surrender, have largely disappeared, driven out by police in special forces. The relentless roar of the truckers fell silent. Ottawa has a large police force and some areas are fenced off.

The protests, which were originally aimed at a vaccine against COVID-19 for cross-border truckers but also covered outrage over a number of COVID-19 restrictions and hatred of Trudeau, reflected the spread of misinformation in Canada and boiling populist and right-wing anger.

The self-proclaimed “Freedom Convoy” has shaken the reputation of civilized Canada, inspired convoys in France, New Zealand and the Netherlands, and disrupted trade, causing economic damage on both sides of the border. Hundreds of trucks eventually occupied the streets around parliament, a demonstration that was partly a protest and partly a carnival.

For almost a week, the busiest U.S.-Canada border crossing, the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, was blocked. Transitions account for more than 25% of trade between the two countries.

Authorities reopened border posts, but Ottawa police did nothing but warn until Friday, even as hundreds and sometimes thousands of protesters killed city streets and laid siege to Parliament Hill.

Authorities on Friday launched the largest police operation in Canadian history, arresting a number of protesters in Ottawa and stepping up pressure on Saturday until the streets in front of parliament were clean. Eventually, police arrested at least 191 people and towed 79 cars. Many protesters retreated as the pressure intensified.

Trudeau said people in Ottawa had been persecuted for weeks, and said billions of dollars in trade had been stopped because of the border blockade, putting people at work at risk.

Protests in the U.S. are backed by Fox News figures and conservatives such as former U.S. President Donald Trump. Millions of dollars in donations went across the border to the protesters.

“The flow of disinformation and misinformation has flooded Canada, including from foreign sources,” Trudeau said.

“After these illegal blockades and occupations received alarming amounts of foreign funding to destabilize Canada’s democracy, it became clear that local and provincial authorities needed additional tools to restore order.”

Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or distributed.

Source link