Canada’s Trudeau Starts Quelling Protests
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
OTTAWA (Worthy News) – Canada’s prime minister imposed autocratic measures Monday to quell massive protests by truckers and others opposing his government’s COVID-19 restrictions.
In a move that critics compared to dictatorships, Justin Trudeau said police would get “more tools” to imprison or fine protesters, tow away vehicles, and protect critical infrastructure.
Canada’s police were already seen seizing diesel fuel supply to starve out “the Freedom Convoy” trucker protest occupying Ottawa, the capital. They also started confiscating firewood used to keep participants warm during sub-zero temperatures.
On Monday, Trudeau invoked Canada’s Emergencies Act, which gives the federal government and security forces broad powers to restore order including in Ottawa.
Trudeau ruled out using the military for now but warned that truckers in the “Freedom Convoy” protests should go home or face losing their jobs and livelihood.
“You don’t want to end up losing your license, end up with a criminal record, which will impact your job, your livelihood, even your ability to travel internationally, including to the US,” Trudeau said earlier.
Besides more policing, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said banks would be able to freeze personal accounts of anyone linked to the protests without any need for a court order.
Vehicle insurance of those involved in the demonstrations can also be suspended, she added.
Freeland stressed that Canada’s “Terrorist Financing” rules would be broadened to cover cryptocurrencies and crowdfunding platforms as part of the crackdown.
She spoke after hackers released details of what they said were 93,000 donations for the truckers totaling $8.4 million through the online crowdfunding site GiveSendGo.
Monday’s announcement came despite fierce opposition from even U.S. evangelist Franklin Graham who posted video footage of the rallies.
With the famed Christian song “Amazing Grace” superimposed, the short film shows demonstrators peacefully expressing their hopes for freedom. “I’d like you to meet those who Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the
‘fringe minority,’” Graham said. Tell me what you think of this video,” he added in a text accompanying the footage shared on social media.
“This is the time we have been waiting for,” a female protestor added in the edited video. “There is a sense of togetherness and pride and joy,” another woman said.
And a mother explained: “I said to my boys we are going to Ottawa. We’re going to be with our people, with our Canadians.”
The “freedom” demonstration began in January as a convoy traveling across Canada to protest COVID-19 vaccination mandates for truckers crossing the US-Canada border has become a broad movement.
Demonstrators shut down the center of Ottawa, with hundreds of vehicles blocking streets. Truck drivers and their supporters have also obstructed the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit in the United States. That’s the busiest of all the border crossings between the United States and Canada, crucial to moving auto parts.
Another convoy reportedly reached the main road from Manitoba province to Ontario province. Protesters allegedly attempted to block access to Ottawa’s airport.
Despite the tensions, the premiers of Canada’s provinces, Quebec, Manitoba, Alberta, and Saskatchewan, said the emergency powers were not needed in their regions.
Before Trudeau’s announcement, Quebec Premier Francois Legault said invoking the Emergencies Act could “throw oil on the fire.”
Ontario province Premier Doug Ford, a Conservative, said he supported the federal government.
There is growing resentment, however, within Trudeau’s Liberal Party about the COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other restrictions ranging from lockdowns to mask-wearing.
Yet, U.S. President Joe Biden has pressured Trudeau to invoke the Emergencies Act amid reported concerns about similar protests in the U.S. and the economic impact.
The blockade has cost Canada’s automotive industry hundreds of millions of dollars, the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association said in a court filing.
However, Ottawa protest leader Tamara Lich dismissed the move, warned: “There are no threats that will frighten us. We will hold the line.”
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