Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau insisted at a news conference on Monday that his government still needs the unprecedented emergency powers he demanded this month even though police violently removed the Freedom Convoy protesters from Ottawa and no active Freedom Convoy protests are currently occurring.
“This state of emergency is not over. There continue to be real concerns about the coming days,” Trudeau said on Monday, claiming there were signs the Freedom Convoy truckers could regroup and return to Ottawa.
“People [are] out there indicating that they are ready to blockade, to continue their illegal occupations to disrupt Canadians’ lives. We feel that this measure needs to remain in place,” he said.
“Invoking the Emergencies Act has been necessary. Law enforcement agencies relied on it to set up secured areas in downtown Ottawa and at border crossings. It prevented foreign money from continuing to fund illegal blockades, and it’s making sure our borders remain open. It has been the responsible thing to do,” he argued.
Trudeau said invoking the Emergencies Act was necessary because the police needed “more tools to restore order” after “weeks of dangerous and unlawful activities, after weeks of people being harassed in the neighborhoods, after evidence of increased ideologically motivated violent extremism activity across the country.”
The prime minister complained that “a flood of misinformation and disinformation washed over Canada” during the protests, and said the Freedom Convoy “received disturbing amounts of foreign funding to destabilize Canada’s democracy.”
“You can’t harass your fellow citizens who disagree with you. You can’t hold a city hostage. You can’t block a critical trade corridor and deprive people of their jobs,” he said while insisting he still respects the right of Canadians to criticize his policies.
Trudeau questioned the judgment and patriotism of lawmakers who might vote against his extension of emergency powers, claiming their opposition indicates “they don’t trust the government to make incredibly momentous and important decisions at a very difficult time.”
Al Jazeera News noted that Trudeau promised only last week that his emergency measures would be “time-limited, geographically-targeted, as well as reasonable and proportionate.”
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