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Ottawa/CMEDIA: In defense of the Canadian government’s use of the Emergencies Act which was invoked last week, in response to the protest convoy occupation of downtown Ottawa as MPs prepare to vote on the act, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a news conference today morning said the decision to trigger the act was not taken lightly either by him of his government.
“It became clear that local and provincial authorities needed more tools to restore order and keep people safe,” he said.
When asked if the deployment of the act is still necessary, now that police have cleared the area in front of Parliament Hill, Trudeau said his government wouldn’t keep the enhanced powers provided for under the act in place “a single day longer than necessary.”
“Even though things seem to be resolving very well in Ottawa, this state of emergency is not over,” he said.
Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino, who was with Trudeau at his press conference, said a number of people affiliated with the protests remain in the city.
“We have to remain vigilant, and not only in Ottawa but at our ports of entry,” he said, referring to a number of blockades at Canada-U.S. border crossings, including Coutts, Alta. and Windsor, Ont.
Last week, the federal Liberals invoked the Emergencies Act for the first time since 1988 to deal with an anti-vaccine mandate protest that had been occupying downtown Ottawa for weeks. The measures set out in the act have been in effect ever since.
“This situation is not anything anyone wanted and, quite frankly, is not something we ever want to see again,” Trudeau said.
MPs are set to vote tonight after a lengthy debate in a rare weekend sitting of the House of Commons on the use of the Emergencies Act. In the event of the motion’s failure, the invocation of the act and its extraordinary powers will be struck down. And if the motion passes, Emergencies Act will remain in place until mid-March at the latest.
“I can’t imagine anyone voting against this bill as expressing anything other than a deep mistrust in the government’s ability to keep Canadians safe at an extraordinarily important time,” Trudeau said.