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Feds invoke Emergency Act for first time to deal with protests and blockades

The federal government has invoked the Emergency Act to deal with the anti-COVID-19 mandate protests in Ottawa and blockades at border crossings.  The Act has never been used before.

This does not mean civil liberties will be suspended nor will the military be called in.

Instead, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says it will enable the RCMP to enforce bylaws and provincial laws including towing vehicles that are blocking roads. It also gives the federal government the power to ban public gatherings in specific areas.

The use of the Emergency Act will be time-limited according to Trudeau, “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.”

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Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says any company with a truck involved in a protest will have their bank accounts seized and insurance on the vehicles will be cancelled.

As well Freeland says the federal government is widening the country’s anti-terrorism finance laws to crowd-funding websites.  The platforms as well as their payment partners will have to register with the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) and report any large transfers.

Financial institutions will now be able to freeze an account they suspect of being involved in the protests without a court order.

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