Canadian civil liberties groups respond to Trudeau invoking Emergencies Act

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Several Canadian civil liberties groups are speaking out against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after he invoked the Emergencies Act to cut off funding for «Freedom Convoy» truckers who are protesting trade routes.

While some groups have approved of the measure, which cuts off funding from the protestors, calling it «responsible» and «a good strategy,» others have condemned the action and described it as a slippery slope into government overreach, Reuters reported.

OTTAWA, ON - MARCH 07: Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attends a news conference on March 7, 2019 in Ottawa, Canada. Prime Minister Trudeau and top aides have been accused of meddling in a federal criminal investigation of SNC-Lavalin, a major Candian engineering firm.  (Photo by Dave Chan/Getty Images)

OTTAWA, ON – MARCH 07: Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attends a news conference on March 7, 2019 in Ottawa, Canada. Prime Minister Trudeau and top aides have been accused of meddling in a federal criminal investigation of SNC-Lavalin, a major Candian engineering firm.  (Photo by Dave Chan/Getty Images)

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The Canadian Civil Liberties Association said the truckers’ protests did not meet the standard for Trudeau to have invoked the Emergencies Act, which exists for «the ability of the Government of Canada to preserve the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of Canada» and only for actions that «cannot be effectively dealt with under any other law of Canada.» 

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (C) comments on the on going truckers mandate protest during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada on February 14, 2022. (Photo by Dave Chan / AFP) (Photo by DAVE CHAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (C) comments on the on going truckers mandate protest during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada on February 14, 2022. (Photo by Dave Chan / AFP) (Photo by DAVE CHAN/AFP via Getty Images)

The Act used in a precarious manner «should not be normalized,» the Canadian Civil Liberties Association added.

«We recognize the gravity of the federal government’s decision to invoke the Emergencies Act. Having called on the federal government to show national leadership, we welcome this as a step toward ending illegal blockades across the country and upholding the rule of law,» the Canadian Civil Liberties Association said.

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Lori Williams, a politics professor at Mount Royal University, Calgary, said the use of such an act to stem protests «could create more problems,» Reuters reported.

«There’s the danger this could create more problems, that’s why this has to be done with the cooperation of premiers and if they don’t want help, then the federal government needs to hang back. It has to be very targeted, very strategic and very restrained, because these are enormous powers that are being implemented,» she said, according to the report.

OTTAWA, CANADA - FEBRUARY 13: Protestors continue their protest against the coronavirus vaccine mandates in the country, in Ottawa, Canada on February 13, 2022. (Photo by Amru Salahuddien/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

OTTAWA, CANADA – FEBRUARY 13: Protestors continue their protest against the coronavirus vaccine mandates in the country, in Ottawa, Canada on February 13, 2022. (Photo by Amru Salahuddien/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
(Photo by Amru Salahuddien/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

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Some other civil liberties experts are concerned Trudeau’s decision could motivate additional protests or civil unrest.

The protests started two weeks ago when the Canadian government announced it would require Canadian truckers, or U.S. drivers who cross into Canada, to show proof of vaccination.




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