North America

Canada: PM Trudeau rescinds emergency powers after blockades end

Published : February 25, 2022 18:20 IST

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill. Photo: Blair Gable/REUTERS

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has rolled back the emergencies act invoked over trucker-led COVID-19 protests in Canada.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has revoked emergency powers police can use after authorities put an end to blockades at border crossings to the United States and protests in Ottawa by truckers and others rallying against coronavirus restrictions. "Today, we're ready to confirm that the situation is no longer an emergency," Trudeau told the media on February 23. "Therefore, the federal government will be ending the use of the emergencies act."

"The threat continues," Trudeau added, but said it was no longer "acute." "We are confident that existing laws and bylaws are sufficient to keep people safe." The emergencies act — which was implemented nine days earlier and for only the second time in peacetime history — allows authorities to declare certain areas as no-go zones. It also allowed police to freeze truckers' personal and corporate bank accounts and force tow truck companies to haul away vehicles. The final approval of the powers was still being debated in the Senate when the prime minister rescinded them.

The developments in Ottawa have garnered international attention for weeks, as thousands of protesters — led by truckers who are against COVID-19 vaccine mandates for transporting cargo across the border with the U.S. — converged on the capital. The protest grew until it shut down some of the Canada-U.S. border posts and brought parts of Ottawa to a standstill. All border closures have, however, ended and the streets surrounding the Canadian parliament are now quiet.

dvv/msh (AFP, AP)