UPDATED 1:42 PM PT – Wednesday, February 16, 2022
The Canadian government gave itself the power to jeopardize the finances and livelihoods of anti-mandate demonstrators. On Tuesday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act for the first time in his country’s history. The measure allows him to seize protesters personal bank accounts crowdfunding and cryptocurrency.
The Prime minister may also summon the military to disband demonstrations he deems to be a national security threat. Trudeau argued his actions are an example of responsible governance and is not an attempt to silence free speech.
“It’s what responsible leadership requires,” he asserted. “These measures must be and will be compliant with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We will always defend the rights of Canadians to peaceful assembly and to freedom of expression. But these blockades need to end and, unfortunately, conservative politicians continue to encourage the leaders of these blockades.”
Acting opposition leader Candice Bergen, however, alleged Trudeau and his liberal party are clinging onto an outdated COVID response. Bergen noted, the prime minister has tried all avenues to dismantle the Freedom Convoy except for ending the mandates they are protesting.
“This is about the prime minister’s ideological attachment to keeping COVID restrictions and mandates,” stated the opposition leader. “Sixty-three percent of Canadians want the restrictions and mandates to end. Conservatives presented a motion yesterday asking simply for a plan, but the prime minister is in denial and is ignoring the science. He might as well be back at the cottage because he’s doing nothing productive or constructive to help this situation.”
The opposition leader also inquired when Trudeau plans to end his COVID restrictions. Rather than announce a deadline, the prime minister used his time on the floor to accuse conservatives of divisiveness in the face of a national emergency.
Although Trudeau has not alleviated any federal restrictions, provinces such as Alberta and Ontario have announced plans to end their vaccine passport programs. In the meantime, civil rights groups are sounding the alarm over the move while truckers say they are undeterred and will stand their ground until COVID mandates are lifted.