Canada: PM Trudeau Testifies in Emergencies Act Inquiry

    Canada: PM Trudeau Testifies in Emergencies Act Inquiry
    Last updated Nov 25, 2022
    Image credit: postmillennial


    • Culminating six weeks of public hearings inquiring into the Canadian government's use of the Emergencies Act during the Freedom Convoy protests against COVID measures earlier this year, PM Justin Trudeau publicly testified in defense of his invocation of the law on Friday.
    • In his testimony, Trudeau said it was up to him and his cabinet to decide whether the threshold to declare a "public order emergency” had been met. “We could not say that there was no potential for threats of serious violence," he claimed. “We were seeing things escalate.”
    • The Emergencies Act, authorized on Feb. 14, allowed authorities to freeze bank accounts connected to the demonstrations, ban travel to protest zones, and prohibit minors from unlawful assemblies, among others. By law, an inquiry is required after the use of the act.
    • Part of the inquiry involved collecting opinions from Canadians regarding the government's actions. The commission received around 9.5k submissions, with some describing the convoy as a nuisance while others said the government abused its power.
    • On Thursday, Deputy PM Chrystia Freeland testified that the Canadian government was also concerned about the economic consequences of the protests. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association, however, contended that economic concerns aren't valid grounds for invoking the act.
    • This comes as the Canadian Security Intelligence Service on Monday assessed that the blockades didn't meet its definition of a national security threat. Police, nevertheless, have said they received hundreds of reports of abusive behavior by protesters, including harassing people wearing masks, threats and intimidation, and fireworks being set off in residential areas in the middle of the night.
    • The commission will have to submit a final report to the Canadian government, including any recommendations, by Feb. 6, 2023.


    Pro-establishment narrative

    The radical far-right mob called themselves the "Freedom Convoy" to hide their true colors. The anti-vax trucker movement was made up of dangerous conspiracy theorists that posed a clear threat to Canadians' safety during an already-dangerous pandemic. The government and police responses were completely justified during a time of an unprecedented uprising.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    Trudeau was warned by his own intelligence agency that invoking the Emergencies Act would only escalate anti-government sentiment and potentially even violence. While protesters were exercising their rights to oppose extraordinary public health mandates, the government decided to exercise an assault on civil liberties. Labeling all protesters far-right conspiracy theorists is a deliberate distortion of the truth to justify this authoritarian crackdown.

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