In a first, Canada has invoked the Emergencies Act.
Canadian Prime Minsiter Justin Trudeau announced on Monday February 14th, that his government would be invoking the Emergencies Act.
Trudeau said that the act will be used to protect critical infrastructure such as borders and airports from the blockades, and is creating time-limited powers that do not already exist, "I want to be very clear, the scope of these measures will be time-limited, geographically-targeted, as well as reasonable and proportionate to the threats they are meant to address. The Emergencies Act will be used to strengthen and support law enforcement agencies at all levels across the country.”
The Prime Minsiter made the announcement on alongside Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, Justice Minister and Attorney General David Lametti, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino, and Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair.
He added, "With each illegal blockade, local law enforcement agencies have been acting to keep the peace within their jurisdiction. Despite their best efforts, it is now clear that there are serious challenges to law enforcement's ability to effectively enforce the law."
Deputy Prime Minister Freeland at the press conference warned the truckers that they face real consequences over the blockades.
"Today we are serving notice, if your truck is being used in these illegal blockades your corporate accounts will be frozen, the insurance on your vehicle will be suspended - send your semi trailers home," Freeland stated. "The Canadian Economy needs them to be doing legitimate work."
Attorney General said that he hopes these measures will only last for a couple of days. Under the act the government must table a bill to extend the Emergency Act if used for longer than 30 days.
Trudeau said that he hopes that the truckers get the message and "it's time for people to go home." Trudeau mentioned during the press conference that the Military would not be called in, and that these measures would be targeted.
The Emergencies Act was established in 1988 by then Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.
The Act allows for actions to combat urgent and critical situations that seriously threaten some aspect of Canadians’ lives, and that cannot be effectively dealt with under any other law of Canada.
Under the Act, if a public order of emergency is declared, the federal government can regulate or prohibit: public assembly expected to lead to a breach of the peace; travel to, from, or within any specified area; and the use of specified property.
Canada resorted to the War Measures Act during and after three periods of its history – World War I, World War II, and the October 1970 crisis.