Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed media on Monday, where he invoked the Emergencies Act in order to deal with the freedom protests that have broken out across Canada at border crossings and major cities. Specifically, the prime minister referred to "illegal blockades" and claimed that freedom protesters were guilty of "harassment" and that their protests were not peaceful.
Rumours circulated that the prime minister would invoke the act, following a late-night cabinet meeting on Sunday. The prime minister would go on to hold private meetings with premiers on Monday, as well as another meeting with his caucus.
"With each illegal blockade, local law enforcement agencies have been acting to keep the peace within their jurisdiction. Despite their best efforts, it is now clear that there are serious challenges to law enforcements ability to effectively enforce the law.
"On Friday, Ontario invoked a state of emergency to respond to the blockades. This was the responsible and necessary thing to do. Today, to continue building on these efforts, the federal government is ready to use more tools at its disposal to get the situation fully under control
"After discussing with cabinet and caucus, after consultation with premiers from all provinces and territories.. the federal government has involved the Emergencies Act to supplement provincial and territorial capacity to address the blockades and occupations.
"The scope of these measures will be time-limited, geographically targeted, as well as reasonable and proportionate to the threats they are meant to address.
"The Emergencies Act will be used to strengthen and support law enforcement agencies at all levels across the country
"This is about keeping Canadians safe, protecting people's jobs, and restoring confidence in our institutions," said Trudeau.
Trudeau said that the police will be given "more tools to restore order where public assemblies can constitute illegal and dangerous activities, such as blockades and occupations as seen in Ottawa, the Ambassador Bridge, and elsewhere.
These tools include strengthening their ability to impose fines and imprisonment.
The government will designate secure and protect places in infrastructure that are "critical to our economy and peoples jobs, including border crossings and airports."
"The Emergencies Act will also allow the government to ensure essential services are rendered, for example in order to tow vehicles blocking roads.
"Financial institutions will also be authorized or directed to render essential services to help address the situation, including by regulating and prohibiting the use or property to fund or support illegal blockades.
"And finally, it will enable the RCMP to enforce municipal bylaws, and provincial offenses, where required," said Trudeau.
Trudeau said fundamental rights, as well as the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, are not impacted by the Act. Trudeau also said that the military would not be called in.
Four premiers have stated their discontent with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's reported decision to invoke the Emergencies Act.
The Emergencies Act "is an act of the Parliament of Canada to authorize the taking of special temporary measures to ensure safety and security during national emergencies. It is considered to provide "the stiffest government emergency powers of any emergency law in Canada."
It had never been used since its creation, having replaced the War Measures Act in the 1980s.
Canada cracking down on crowdfunding, crypto
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said that the blockades were harming Canada's reputation "around the world," as well as Canada's economy.
Freeland also announced that they would broaden the scope of anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist tools, to include crowdfunding platforms. Crypto currencies will also fall under this scope.
"As of today, all crowdfunding platforms... must register with FinTrac [Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada], and they must report large and suspicious transactions to FinTrac."
They will also authorize seize providing financial services where the institution suspects that "an account is being used to further the illegal blockades and occupations."
Freeland also said that Canadian financial institutions will review their relationships with "Anyone involved in the illegal blockades," and to report to the RCMP or CSIS. This will allow banks to freeze or suspend accounts without a court order.
"This is about following the money," said Freeland. "We are today serving notice; if your truck is being used in these illegal blockades, your corporate accounts will be frozen. The insurance on your vehicle will be suspended. Send your semi-trailers home."
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.
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