A video of Canadian Deputy Prime Minister, Chrystia Freeland, outlining how her government would use Emergency Powers to suspend civil rights and freeze bank accounts of supporters of the trucker protest, has been described as “the moment democracy died” in the country. 

“This is about following the money. This is about stopping the financing of these illegal blockades. We are today serving notice: if your truck is being used in these protests, your corporate accounts will be frozen. The insurance on your vehicle will be suspended. Send your semi-trailers home,” she warned.

Freeland’s announcement, made with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, which attracted widespread criticism internationally and met with opposition from civil rights groups in the country, was described by U.S. commentator Tucker Carlson as Canada becoming “a dictatorship”.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association said that “the federal government has not met the threshold necessary to invoke the Emergencies Act. This law creates a high and clear standard for good reason: the Act allows government to bypass ordinary democratic processes. This standard has not been met.”

Freeland claimed that the “illegal blockades have highlighted the fact that crowdfunding platforms, and some of the payment service providers they use, are not fully captured under the Proceeds of Crime and Terrorist Financing Act. ”

But the peaceful protests, while they may have caused disruption, could not be described as amounting to crime or terrorism.

Trudeau sees the continuing protest as a challenge to his government’s stance on Covid restrictions and mandating vaccines, even though the milder Omicron variant has driven a huge rise in Covid cases has led to most countries minimising coronavirus curtailments.

Polls show a backlash against the Prime Minister’s depiction of the protesters as “racist” and “misogynist” –  with almost half of those polled saying they believed the truckers protest was “legitimate” while two-thirds of Canadians thought Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s actions have made the situation worse.

“The Emergencies Act can only be invoked when a situation “seriously threatens the ability of the Government of Canada to preserve the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of Canada” and when the situation “cannot be effectively dealt with under any other law of Canada,” the Canadian Civil Liberties Association said.

“Governments regularly deal with difficult situations, and do so using powers granted to them by democratically elected representatives. Emergency legislation should not be normalized. It threatens our democracy and our civil liberties.”

Commentator Tucker Carlson said the move was tantamount to introducing martial law.


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  • Niall McConnell
    published this page in News 2022-02-17 10:04:40 +0000
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