A reporter pressed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after he announced he would invoke the Emergencies Act in response to Canadians protesting their country’s COVID-19 vaccination mandates.
“At least one other premier said that invoking this act is like putting oil on a raging fire, words along those lines,” the reporter said. “Do you think you’re inflaming the situation even more by invoking this?”
“My focus is on Canadians who have had a long two years,” Trudeau replied. “We’ve been through a pandemic, we’ve lost loved ones. We’ve seen businesses struggle, we’ve lost jobs and just want this to be over.”
“For those people who disagree with the measures that governments put in place to keep Canadians safe, to ensure that we would make it through this pandemic better than many of our peer countries,” Trudeau continued. “Those people have gone from protesting and disagreeing with those measures to limiting and blocking the freedoms of their fellow citizens. Hurting jobs, hurting lives and livelihoods, endangering public safety, and weakening our country not just right now, but for times to come in the eyes of our most important trading partners.”
Trudeau enacted the Emergencies Act on Monday, an unprecedented move that would give the Canadian government more power to crack down on “Freedom Convoy” protesters. Dozens of protesters on Ambassador Bridge at the U.S.-Canada border were arrested Sunday as Ottawa Police cleared the crossing. (RELATED: Canadian PM Says Truckers Protesting COVID-19 Mandates Will Get Criminal Records)
The Emergencies Act will give police more avenues to arrest or fine individuals not complying with local orders. Additionally, the government will be able to tow vehicles that block roadways and financial institutions will gain the power to keep properties from supporting the blockades.
The Emergencies Act will give Trudeau special powers for 30 days to take “temporary measures that may not be appropriate in normal times.”