Feb 14, 2022 - World

Trudeau invokes emergency powers to quell protests

Justin Trudeau

Justin Trudeau at a briefing on Feb. 11. Photo: David Kawai/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Monday that he is invoking emergency powers to deal with ongoing protests against the country’s COVID-19 health restrictions.

Why it matters: This is the first time Canada's Emergencies Act has been invoked and will give the government broad powers for 30 days, per the Guardian.

What they're saying: "After discussing with cabinet and caucus, after consultation with premiers from all provinces and territories, after speaking with opposition leaders, the federal government has invoked the Emergencies Act," Trudeau said.

  • "The scope of these measures will be time-limited, geographically targeted, as well as reasonable and proportionate," he added.

Context: The act defines a national emergency as a temporary "urgent and critical situation" that "seriously endangers the lives, health or safety of Canadians and is of such proportions or nature as to exceed the capacity or authority of a province to deal with it,” per CBC.

The big picture: On Feb. 7, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson declared a state of emergency after 10 days of massive demonstrations protesting pandemic restrictions.

  • The protests began as opposition to a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for truckers, but since expanded to include general opposition to public health restrictions and spread to other provinces.
  • Protesters blocked several U.S.-Canada border crossings. The Ambassador Bridge, the busiest crossing between the two countries, reopened Sunday after police moved to clear protesters over the weekend.
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