Federal government invokes Emergencies Act for first time ever in response to protests and blockades
Act grants cabinet ability to take ‘special temporary measures that may not be appropriate in normal times’
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s invoking the Emergencies Act for the first time in Canada’s history to give the federal government temporary powers to handle ongoing blockades and protests against pandemic restrictions.
“It is now clear that there are serious challenges to law enforcement’s ability to effectively enforce the law,” Trudeau told a news conference Monday afternoon.
“It is no longer a lawful protest at a disagreement over government policy. It is now an illegal occupation. It’s time for people to go home.”
Trudeau said the measures will be geographically targeted and “reasonable and proportionate to the threats they are meant to address.”
The unprecedented deployment of the Emergencies Act gives police more tools to restore order in places where public assemblies constitute illegal and dangerous activities, such as blockades and occupations, he said. Trudeau said the act also will enable the RCMP to enforce municipal bylaws and provincial offences where required.
“This is about keeping Canadians safe, protecting people’s jobs and restoring confidence in our institutions,” he said.
The government is also designating and securing critical areas such as border crossings and airports. Invoking the act will also allow the government to make sure that essential services — such as towing services to remove trucks — are rendered, said Trudeau.
Massive financial implications
The federal government is also going after financial support for illegal activity associated with the convoy protest.
Convoy organizers have raised millions of dollars. They raised money first through the GoFundMe crowdfunding site. When GoFundMe shut the fundraising campaign down, organizers pivoted to the Christian crowdfunding site GiveSendGo.
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said that under the Emergencies Act, crowdfunding platforms and the payment service providers they use must register with the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC), the national financial intelligence agency. They must also report large and suspicious transactions to FINTRAC.
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Source: CBC News
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