There are some concerns about the federal government’s decision to invoke the Emergencies Act to end antigovernment blockades against COVID-19 measures that are being held across the country.
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association says it does not believe the “high and clear” threshold needed to invoke the act has been met, noting the law states it can only be used when a situation cannot be dealt with using any other law in the country.
Executive director Noa Mendelsohn Aviv warns that normalizing emergency legislation “threatens our democracy and our civil liberties.”
This is the first time the Emergencies Act has been invoked since it came into force in 1988, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said yesterday it is necessary to protect critical infrastructure such as borders and airports from the blockades, and create time-limited powers that do not already exist.
The government will use the act to force towing companies to remove big rigs and other vehicles that are blocking highways and other critical infrastructure.
It will also be used establish zones where public assembly is not allowed, and require banks to suspend or freeze accounts suspected of supporting the blockades, including those belonging to companies whose trucks are part of the convoy.
One of the main organizers behind the truckers’ protest in Ottawa, now in its third week, said members are not going anywhere, and will “hold the line” in the face of the act.