On Thursday, The Canadian Civil Liberties Association formally challenged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's usage of Emergencies Act against the Canada truck protesters. They’re taking him to court for actions that "seriously infringes the Charter rights of Canadians."
At a news conference by the association announcing their decision, they openly questioned if the current situation in Canada actually qualified as an immediate danger to the health and safety of its citizens. Early on Thursday, the Canadian Prime Minister described it as a last resort.
"The government has brought in an extreme measure that should be reserved for national emergencies, a legal standard that has not been met. Emergency powers cannot and must not be normalized," stated the group's executive director Noa Mendelsohn Aviv.
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association argues that police had enough authority and power to address protests and border blockades prior to the Emergencies Act. Furthermore, one of their main rebuttals is that the act is applied nationally, for what amounts to a situation largely centered within the Ottawa area.
"Fifty-two years later, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is using the Emergencies Act to crack down on truckers who feed the homeless, shovel snow, pick up garbage, dance in the streets, play street hockey, wave Canadian flags, sing the national anthem, and set up bouncy castles for children," argued a recent op-ed from John Carpay, head of Canada's Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms.
Trudeau's reaction to the trucker convoy was to label the group a "fringe minority" that wasn’t worth his time to interact with. Then the PM denounced isolated incidents of bad behavior in the Ottawa area. After that he got parliament to disavow general bigotry, which Trudeau accused of being on display in the trucker convoy demonstrations.
But such efforts on the Prime Minister’s part didn’t convince the Ottawa demonstrators to give up.
"Local police across this country have cleared several highly disruptive border blockades and are successfully managing numerous other protesters in communities across the country, all without emergency powers," argued the group’s criminal justice director, Abby Deshman.
On the ground, the Emergencies Act gives Canadian police more unilateral authority to break up public demonstrations.
"The new powers took effect earlier this week but the House of Commons and the Senate must both vote to confirm use of the emergencies law," CP24 reported. Debate was scheduled for Thursday and Friday, but the Friday session of the House of Commons was cancelled due to police cracking down on the very protest that spurred the use of the Emergencies Act.
In essence, the Emergencies Act could not be debated because it was being implemented by law enforcement against peaceful protestors.
On Monday, Trudeau first announced he was taking the step of invoking Canada’s Emergencies Act to remove the ongoing trucker convoy protests in Ottawa. However, his stated reasoning behind the decision was that the act would address "illegal blockades," which referred to actions like the display seen blocking the Ambassador Bridge, which was cleared last weekend.
While the PM stopped short of calling in the military, the Emergencies Act has the power to forcibly compel tow truck companies who previously refused to assist Trudeau in removing vehicles, to now cooperate.
As for police actions in Ottawa, authorities on Thursday handed out leaflets demanding those regularly occupying the city public square to leave.
Other actions taken to quash the ongoing trucker convoy protests are the Canadian government cracking down on traditional bank accounts and crypto accounts of those believed to be supporters for the demonstrations.
One of the steps taken by Ottawa authorities today is warning pet owners attending the demonstration that if they’re "unable to care for your animal as a result of enforcement actions," the pets go into protective care for eight days. If the owner doesn’t arrange to do something for their animals in that time frame, they’ll be considered forfeit.
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