Canada: Last Resort Military (nd-aktuell.de)

Canada: Last Resort Military (nd-aktuell.de)

Residents protest against right-wing truck drivers of “Freedom Convoy” in Ottawa

Photo: DPA/The Canadian Press/AP/Justin Tang

For the first time in the country’s history, the government of Canada wants to use the emergency powers of the “Emergency Act”. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said this on Monday evening. The apparently desperate liberal head of government eventually wants to end the occupation of the city of Ottawa around the Canadian Parliament by hundreds of truck drivers of the so-called Freedom Convoy and their mostly right-wing and right-wing liberal supporters.

For weeks, thousands of people have been demonstrating in Canada against coronavirus restrictions and vaccination rules, including blocking access to the capital’s center. The trigger was a regulation that came into force in early January, according to which drivers returning from the USA must also present proof of vaccination.

The emergency law passed in 1988 gives the prime minister a power of attorney for 30 days. For example, he could freeze demonstrators’ bank accounts, ban meetings and restrict freedom of travel. It was only a last resort, he “didn’t want to call the military,” Trudeau explained. This is exactly what Ottawa’s police chief had previously demanded given the fact that his authority to clear the truck driver’s protest was overwhelmed.

The city of Ottawa already declared a state of emergency last week after the truck driver tried to stop fuel and supplies at a protest. Meanwhile, angry residents staged a sit-in to prevent more drivers from joining the protest, which is being supported by right-wing donors around the world. Earlier in the week, protestors also blocked the chat channels of truck drivers.

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Jagmeet Singh, leader of the left-liberal New Democratic Party, said: “We got to this point because the prime minister allowed Ottawa to be surrounded for weeks and did nothing.” The conservative opposition in parliament supports Freedom Convoy, although a small majority (53 percent) of their supporters think it is time for protesters to go home, according to a poll.

The exercise of emergency powers runs concurrently with control requirements: an investigation into the circumstances of the declaration of emergency must be initiated within 60 days of the termination or completion of the ordered measures. The latest report should be submitted to the Parliament after 360 days.

Over the weekend, officials approved a blockade on the Ambassador Bridge from Ontario to Detroit – apparently even after pressure from the White House. About 25 percent of trade between the United States and Canada occurs through bridges. Some car factories in Detroit had already stopped production due to a day-long blockade by suppliers.

Also read: Defensive democracy in action – Moritz Wichman on how to deal with Canadian truck driver protests

Just hours before Trudeau announced a state of emergency, parliament rejected a conservative proposal to end vaccinations for truck drivers and transport workers, which had been in effect from mid-January until the end of February . 90% of the workers in the sector are vaccinated. Trudeau’s statement comes at a time when coronavirus infections are declining in Canada, and according to health officials, it is predictable that containment measures will be exhausted. Currently, about 83 percent of Canadians have been fully vaccinated twice in five years, with a seven-day incidence of 178.

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