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Emergencies Act not needed in Quebec, premier tells Trudeau

Click to play video: 'Premier Legault says Quebec doesn’t need emergency measures' Premier Legault says Quebec doesn’t need emergency measures
WATCH: Quebec Premier François Legault says he told Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that the Emergencies Act should only be invoked in provinces that need it and that it was not required in Quebec. Dan Spector attended the premier’s scrum in Longueuil Monday afternoon. – Feb 14, 2022

Quebec’s premier says he was “very clear” in a call with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that he does not want the Emergencies Act applied in his province.

François Legault told reporters on Monday afternoon it’s not necessary to use emergency powers in the province since recent local demonstrations against COVID-19 measures and vaccination mandates have mostly been peaceful.

“I think we don’t need it,” he said. “So far with the Sûreté du Québec, we were able to keep control.

“I think at this moment it would not help the social climate. There is a lot of pressure right now and I think we have to be careful.”

Read more: Trudeau invokes Emergencies Act for 1st time to aid convoy blockade response

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Trudeau spoke with premiers earlier in the day about potentially invoking the act — which allows a government to enact temporary measures including barring people from gathering or travelling to certain locations — as convoy protesters remain encamped in Ottawa.

A few hours later, Trudeau announced he was going ahead with the measures. He said it will be used to protect critical infrastructure such as borders and airports from the blockades, and is creating time-limited powers that do not already exist.

But Quebec’s premier has argued that the act should only be applied in provinces where premiers request it.

“I can understand that enough is enough in Ottawa,” Legault said. “You can protest but you can’t do what they have been doing since two weeks.”

The federal government has never used the Emergencies Act, which replaced the War Measures Act in 1988, until now. The War Measures Act was only used three times, including during the FLQ crisis in October 1970 in Quebec — which allowed Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s government to suspend civil liberties.

Click to play video: 'Trucker protests: Trudeau says military force on civilians should be avoided ‘at all costs’' Trucker protests: Trudeau says military force on civilians should be avoided ‘at all costs’
Trucker protests: Trudeau says military force on civilians should be avoided ‘at all costs’ – Feb 11, 2022

The Emergencies Act is more limited in scope, though. All measures invoked under it comply with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

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When asked if there is a hesitancy in Quebec about the possibility of the federal government imposing emergency powers, Legault said it had crossed his mind.

“Of course I thought about that, about what happened with the father (Pierre Trudeau) in 1970,” Legault said, referring to the October Crisis. “But I think that right now the situation — we really need not to put oil on the fire.

“We really need to put Quebecers together. And we don’t have any problems in Quebec so far.”

with files from Global News’ Amanda Connolly and The Canadian Press

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