August 8, 2022

Review and News

Trudeau Will Invoke Emergency Powers To Quell Protests, Says Legit

He said he would convene his cabinet and “urgently enact orders that will make crystal...

He said he would convene his cabinet and “urgently enact orders that will make crystal clear it is illegal and punishable to block and impede the movement of goods, people and services along critical infrastructure.”

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Fines would be “severe,” he warned, with penalties up to $78,000 and a year in prison. Ford said he would consider taking away the personal and commercial licenses of anyone who doesn’t comply with these orders.

The initial state of emergency will last for 42 hours. Ford’s cabinet will meet Saturday to discuss further amendments, Ontario Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said.

Demonstrators holed up in trucks continue to paralyze swaths of downtown Ottawa and blockade three border crossings, including the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit, the busiest crossing on the U.S.-Canada border. What started as a protest of rules in both countries requiring truckers to be fully vaccinated before crossing the border has snowballed to include a broader list of grievances. Some protesters are demanding the removal of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who was reelected to a third mandate in September.

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Canada’s health minister, Jean-Yves Duclos, tweeted Friday that authorities are actively reviewing border measures and that more details will be shared “as early as next week.” At a news conference alongside Duclos, Theresa Tham, Canada’s chief public health officer, said “Canada is past the peak of the Omicron wave,” according to Canada’s Global News.

We are actively reviewing our border measures, in collaboration with our public health experts, and we will have more details to share as early as next week. #cdnpoli #COVID19
— Jean-Yves Duclos (@jyduclos) February 11, 2022

Trudeau said late Thursday that he had convened several meetings with cabinet minsters, opposition lawmakers and local officials in an effort to end the blockade and “denounce these illegal acts.”

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Trudeau underscored the economic damage being done to the country by the closure of three border crossings and other major roads and bridges. “They’re harming the communities they’re taking place in — and they’re hurting jobs, businesses, and our country’s economy,” he tweeted.

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Trudeau also said he was aiding the mayor of Windsor, where the closure of the Ambassador Bridge, a vital supply route between automakers in Windsor and Detroit, has affected some trade. He said officials were working together to “get the situation under control — because it is causing real harm to workers and economies on both sides of the border.”

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens said Thursday that the city and auto groups were seeking an injunction to end the blockade. Companies such as Ford and General Motors have said they already have cut production and canceled shifts at some sites.

As the crisis deepens, officials in the United States called on their Canadian counterparts to get the demonstrations under control. The self-styled “Freedom Convoy,” which began as a protest in Ottawa against coronavirus vaccine mandates, is now heading into its third weekend and has crippled much of the Canadian capital.

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The impact is also being felt in the United States, where a group of business leaders, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, warned Thursday that the blockade was “adding to the significant supply chain strains on manufacturers and other businesses in the United States.” The chamber said that “we are already seeing some production cuts, shift reductions, and temporary plant closures.”

The Biden administration said Thursday that it was monitoring the situation at the border “very closely” and that Cabinet officials were “engaged around the clock to bring this to a swift end.”

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Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg urged their Canadian counterparts to “use federal powers to resolve this situation” and offered the support of their departments, the White House said.

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Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) urged Canadian authorities Thursday to quickly resolve the blockade of the Ambassador Bridge. The blockage was “having a significant impact on Michigan’s working families who are just trying to do their jobs,” she said.

“My message is simple: reopen traffic on the bridge,” she said.

Trudeau’s office said Thursday that Canadian ministers and other officials have “been in close contact with representatives and officials from the United States of America to align efforts to resolve this situation.”

Trudeau said last week that deploying the military was “not in the cards” at that time.

Although police have so far largely avoided confrontational tactics, “public exasperation is growing,” particularly in Ottawa, while the broader “economic consequences could be enormous,” Roland Paris, a former senior foreign policy adviser to Trudeau and a professor of international affairs at the University of Ottawa, told The Washington Post.

As Canadian officials grapple with how to disperse the protesters, they have also warned about “potential foreign interference,” including from groups the United States.

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“Although these protests are homegrown, they are receiving a great deal of encouragement from right-wing politicians and prominent conservative activists and media personalities in the United States,” Paris said.

Some of the language of U.S. right-wing discourse is visible in the Canadian protests, he added, along with financial donations from across the border.

The Canadian convoy has attracted the attention of some U.S. politicians debating their own country’s coronavirus protocols and has drawn support from Republican figures — including former president Donald Trump, who said last week that “insane covid mandates” were destroying Canada.

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In a show of support for the Canadian protesters, some U.S. truckers have said they will send two convoys this weekend to a fourth border crossing, which connects Buffalo and Fort Erie, Ontario, Reuters reported.

In another form of apparent involvement from across the border, Ottawa police said in a statement posted on Twitter on Thursday that there has been a “concerted effort to flood our 911 and non-emergency policing reporting line.” Many of those “excessive calls” were coming from addresses in the United States, said Peter Sloly, Ottawa’s police chief.

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Ottawa police have made 25 arrests linked to the demonstrations, he added, on charges such as mischief and menacing behavior. “We will ensure those who are responsible will face the consequences,” Sloly added during a statement read to reporters in a virtual news conference. “We know the residents of Ottawa are angry. We know you are tired.”

The Ambassador Bridge blockade began earlier this week, and two smaller border crossings — at Coutts in Alberta, which connects to Montana, and Emerson, between Manitoba and North Dakota — have since been “shut down” by protesters and vehicles, police said.

The protests started in opposition to U.S. and Canadian rules requiring that cross-border truckers be fully vaccinated. But they have since mushroomed into a movement against pandemic restrictions more broadly and against Trudeau’s government.

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The Canadian demonstrations have drawn international support and inspired similar protests in Europe and Australia. Authorities in Paris and Brussels said they would try to stop planned convoys from entering those cities over the weekend.


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