Trudeau defends use of emergency powers to end trucker protest

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Patrick Doyle/The Canadian Press via AP
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces new gun control legislation in Ottawa, Ontario, on Monday, May 30, 2022.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday defended his decision to invoke emergency powers to end an anti-vaccine mandate trucker protest that paralyzed Ottawa last winter.

Trudeau was the final witness to testify before a public commission investigating the Canadian government’s use of the Emergencies Act, which grants it additional powers. An inquiry is required after the use of the act by law, according to the BBC.

The prime minister invoked the Emergencies Act from Feb. 14 to Feb. 23 to end the “Freedom Convoy,” which occupied downtown Ottawa and erected blockades at portions of the U.S.-Canada border in protest of COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other restrictions.

“I am absolutely, absolutely serene and confident that I made the right choice in agreeing with the invocation,” Trudeau said, according to Reuters.

“It wasn’t that they just wanted to be heard. They wanted to be obeyed,” he added.

He argued that there were “real threats of serious violence” from the protesters and that no other option was available to end the protests.

“If I had been convinced that other orders of government or any other law in Canada was sufficient to deal with this emergency, then we wouldn’t have met the threshold,” Trudeau said, according to the BBC.

“The law is on the books to assist in dealing with national emergencies, and the determination was made … that the thresholds were met and that this was necessary,” he added.

“We were seeing things escalate, not things get under control,” he said.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation quoted Trudeau as fearing what may have happened if he’d failed to act to quell the protests, which later inspired similar activities in the U.S.

“What if the worst had happened in those following days? What if someone had gotten hurt?” he said. “What if a police officer had been put in a hospital? What if, when I had an opportunity to do something, I had waited?”

Tags Canada Emergencies Act Freedom Convoy Justin Trudeau Justin Trudeau Ottawa trucker protests

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