Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is harking back to a special, never-before-used emergency law to do more against the persistent trucker protests. Meanwhile, Canada’s finance minister reports that banks can now freeze protesters’ bank accounts.
“It’s about keeping the Canadian people safe, protecting people’s jobs and regaining trust in our institutions,” Justin Trudeau told reporters in Ottawa about deploying the emergency law.
The Canadian Prime Minister wants to give his government and the police more power with the emergency law to end the ‘illegal’ protests. The law has never been used before. The New York Times does write that a similar law was used in the 1970s to put an end to a terrorist group. Trudeau’s father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, was Prime Minister of the country at the time.
“This is not a peaceful protest,” the prime minister said. With the law, Trudeau can take very far-reaching measures, so that, for example, civil rights can also be ignored.
This is a temporary law, emphasizes the Canadian Prime Minister, which, according to him, will only be used in specific areas.
The government is particularly concerned about the capital Ottawa, where the protests are entering their third week. About four hundred trucks block the streets. Truck drivers demonstrate against the strict corona policy. According to Trudeau, residents of Ottawa are experiencing a lot of inconvenience from the protests.
Last week, the truckers also blocked the so-called Ambassador Bridge on the important trade route between Ontario and Michigan with their so-called freedom convoy. Reporter Sophie van der Meer took a look:
The blockade caused problems especially in the car industry because the supply of parts came to a standstill. Toyota and Ford have already had to scale back production.
Canadian police managed to end the blockade on the Ambassador Bridge this weekend, but action is also being taken at two other border crossings. The three blocked border crossings together account for a third of trade between the US and Canada.
The Canadian government is also taking other measures to turn off the money tap towards the protesters. Chrystia Freeland, Treasury Secretary, says Canada must ‘stop funding these illegal blockades’.
Owners of trucks used in the protests can now be punished. Their business bank accounts and the insurance policies of the trucks could be frozen. “Send your trucks home. The Canadian economy needs them to do legitimate work,” Freeland called on protesters.
Canada is also adjusting the rules that apply to money laundering, so that websites such as GoFundMe are now also included. Banks may also suspend their services to customers if they suspect they are donating money to the protesters.