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Canadian News Feb 18, 2022 3:29 PM EST

Debate on Trudeau's use of Emergencies Act canceled due to police crackdown on protesters

"A police operation is expected in the downtown core of Ottawa. Given these exceptional circumstances, and following discussion with all recognized party leadership, the sitting today is cancelled."

Debate on Trudeau's use of Emergencies Act canceled due to police crackdown on protesters
Roberto Wakerell-Cruz Montreal, QC

The House of Commons and Senate will not meet to debate Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's invocation of the Emergencies Act on Friday due to expected "police operations" in response to the freedom convoy. The presence of the truckers' freedom convoy in Ottawa was the reason Trudeau engage the Act in the first place.

A letter from Speaker Anthony Rota announced the cancellation. The House of Commons "will not sit today," he wrote. "A police operation is expected in the downtown core of Ottawa. Given these exceptional circumstances, and following discussion with all recognized party leadership, the sitting today is cancelled."

"As per the Parliamentary Protective Service’s (PPS) most recent email notification, a police operation is expected to take place on Wellington Street and other locations in the downtown core of Ottawa," he said.

"We wish to remind everyone that safety is paramount," the statement went on to say. "The situation is ever-changing. The continued presence of vehicles and demonstrators associated with the convoy, alongside police operations, will impact the downtown core.

"If you are not in the House of Commons precinct, stay away from the downtown core until further notice.

"The PPS will advise when it is safe to return downtown. Should you already be in the precinct, please remain in the building and await further instructions from PPS officers. Please stay close to your devices and watch for updates from the PPS.

Meetings are set to continue over the weekend, with Senate returning Monday at 2 pm.

Liberal House Leader Mark Holland confirmed the cancellation in a thread on Twitter.

"The House of Commons was scheduled to resume debate today on the use of the Emergencies Act to respond to the illegal blockades. Upon the advice of Parliamentary security, the Speaker and House leaders from all parties have agreed to cancel today’s sitting," he wrote.

He said that the situation was being closely monitored, and that the police operation in downtown Ottawa today "will await further advice from security officials on Parliament Hill on when the House can reopen. We hope that can occur Saturday."

"MPs from all sides in the House are engaged in a historic debate. Those who want to speak will do so. Today’s pause in the debate will not affect the outcome. The House will do its work, and MPs will vote early next week on the Emergencies Act motion," he wrote.

Ottawa police moved in on the protest area on Friday morning after arrests of the freedom convoy organizers were made on Thursday night.

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