Canadian lawmakers extend emergency powers pushed by Trudeau
Canadian lawmakers on Monday extended emergency powers that were first invoked by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to quell the trucker convoy protests last week.
“The situation is still fragile, the state of emergency is still there,” Trudeau said ahead of a vote in the House of Commons to extend emergency powers for authorities, The Associated Press reported.
The powers allow officials to designate no-go zones and allow for truckers’ corporate and personal bank accounts to be frozen by police, according to the AP.
The emergency powers were extended in a 185-151 vote on Monday night. The extension was expected given that Opposition New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh said the move was supported by his party, the news wire noted.
“This is an attack on our democracy. This is a group of folks who are very clearly connected to the extreme right wing. The organizers clearly have a goal in mind to undermine democracy. That’s something we can’t allow to continue,” Singh said of the protests.
The three-week protest started as a demonstration against a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for truckers entering Canada but soon grew into a more wide-ranging demonstration.
The protest was condemned by Trudeau and others who noted certain economic implications, including for the auto industry, with a truck blockade on the Ambassador Bridge that connects Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.
“Canadians have the right to protest, to disagree with their government, and to make their voices heard. We’ll always protect that right,” Trudeau tweeted earlier this month. “But let’s be clear: They don’t have the right to blockade our economy, or our democracy, or our fellow citizens’ daily lives. It has to stop.”
The convoy protests have since prompted officials to heighten security within Washington, D.C., surrounding President Biden’s State of the Union address next week.
“Law enforcement agencies across the National Capital Region are aware of plans for a series of truck convoys arriving in Washington, DC around the time of the State of the Union. As with any demonstration, the USCP [U.S. Capitol Police] will facilitate lawful First Amendment activity,” the Capitol Police announced in a statement last week.
“The USCP is closely coordinating with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, including DC’s Metropolitan Police Department, the United States Park Police, the United States Secret Service and other allied agencies to include the DC National Guard,” the law enforcement agency added.