Emergencies Act passes crucial House of Commons vote with NDP support

Darren Major · CBC News · Posted: Feb 21, 2022 10:45 AM ET

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rises during Question Period in the House of Commons on Monday. He said the decision to trigger the Emergencies Act was not one he and his government took lightly. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

A motion affirming the Liberal government’s decision to invoke the Emergencies Act passed a crucial House of Commons vote Monday, ensuring the expansive powers contained in the act remain in use by authorities thanks to parliamentary support from the New Democrats. 


While the powers contained in the Emergency Act took effect immediately, the Liberal government needed to seek approval for its decision to invoke the act from the House of Commons within seven days. If that vote had failed, the emergency declaration would have been revoked. 


Conservative MPs in the House booed and shouted “shame” when the first NDP MPs stood up to vote in favour of the motion. The Conservatives, however, applauded Bloc Québécois MPs when they stood to support the Conservatives.


The Liberals cheered loudly, drowning out heckles from the Conservatives when Green MP Elizabeth May voted in favour of the motion, which passed by a vote of 185 to 151.


Immediately after the vote passed, interim Conservative Leader Candice Bergen stood up and tried to enter a motion recalling the use of the Emergencies Act, but that motion was ruled out of order. 

Earlier in the day Prime Minister Justin Trudeau defended his government’s decision to invoke the Emergencies Act in response to protesters occupying some streets in downtown Ottawa, saying the decision to trigger the act was not one he and his government took lightly.


“It became clear that local and provincial authorities needed more tools to restore order and keep people safe,” he said.


Trudeau was asked if the deployment of the act is still necessary, now that police have cleared the area in front of Parliament Hill. He said his government wouldn’t keep the enhanced powers provided for under the act in place “a single day longer than necessary.”

WATCH | Emergency Act extended with support from NDP:

https://www.cbc.ca/player/play/2005377091809/

The Liberal government was able to extend the Emergencies Act after receiving the “reluctant” support of the NDP. But anger over Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s decision to invoke it remains, with Conservatives and Bloc members calling it unnecessary. 4:27


“Even though things seem to be resolving very well in Ottawa, this state of emergency is not over,” he said.


Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino, who was with Trudeau at his news conference, said a number of people affiliated with the protests remain in the city.


“We have to remain vigilant, and not only in Ottawa but at our ports of entry,” he said, referring to a number of blockades at Canada-U.S. border crossings, including Coutts, Alta., and Windsor, Ont.

WATCH | Mendicino says state of emergency won’t last ‘single moment’ longer than needed: 

https://www.cbc.ca/player/play/2005224003945/

Mendicino says state of emergency won’t last ‘single moment’ longer than needed.

Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino says the state of emergency is not ready to be lifted, but all of government agrees it will not stay in place any longer than necessary. 2:30

Last week, the federal Liberals invoked the Emergencies Act for the first time since its passage in 1988 to deal with an anti-vaccine mandate protest that had been occupying downtown Ottawa for weeks. The measures set out in the act have been in effect ever since.

The New Democrats indicated early on that they would support the government’s use of the act but urged the Liberals to tread carefully, and said they are reserving the right to pull support at any time.


“We share the concern of many Canadians that the government may misuse the powers in the Emergencies Act, so I want to be very clear: We will be watching. We will withdraw our support if, at any point, we feel these powers are being misused,” NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh told the House at the start of the debate on Thursday. 

Trudeau walks across an empty Wellington Street to a news conference in Ottawa Monday. The Emergencies Act passed by a vote of 185 to 151 on Monday night in a rare weekend sitting of the House of Commons. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

Singh again promised his party’s “reluctant support” for triggering the Emergencies Act early Monday, saying New Democrats are prepared to trigger a second vote if they decide that the measures provided for under the act are no longer necessary.


“It’s not a blank cheque. We are prepared to pull our support as soon as … the act is no longer needed,” he said Monday.


The act states that it cannot be in force for more than 30 days from the date it was invoked, in this case Feb. 14.


Singh said New Democrats would not support its use for that long and called on the government to provide regular updates to MPs.

WATCH | Jagmeet Singh says NDP will ‘reluctantly’ support use of Emergencies Act in vote:

https://www.cbc.ca/player/play/2005252163946/

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says his party will ‘reluctantly’ support use of Emergencies Act in Commons vote

Singh says his party reserves the right to pull its support on the use of the Emergencies Act if certain criteria are no longer met. 2:19


At least two Liberal MPs expressed doubts about the continued use of the act in the lead up to the vote. 


Ontario MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith said that despite reservations he would support the motion because the vote was a question of confidence — one that would trigger a general election if the government loses.


“I’m not convinced that the emergency measures should continue to exist beyond today,” he said during the House of Commons debate on Monday.


“The disagreement I’ve expressed here does not amount to non-confidence, and I have no interest in an election at this time.”


Quebec MP Joël Lightbound echoed Erskine-Smith, saying he would vote against the use of the act if it wasn’t a confidence vote.

Conservatives, Bloc oppose use of act

The at-times tense and personal debate over the Emergencies Act has pitted the Liberal government against the Conservatives and Bloc Québécois, a combination Liberal MP Kevin Lamoureux referred to as an “unholy alliance.”


Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre, who is seeking his party’s leadership, accused Prime Minister Trudeau of engineering the crisis for political gain.


“They have attempted to amplify and take advantage of every pain, every fear, every tragedy that has struck throughout this pandemic in order to divide one person against another and replace the people’s freedom with the government’s power,” he said Saturday.

The Conservatives argued that the protests did not rise to the level of an emergency and did not warrant the use of extraordinary powers.


Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet said the government didn’t need to invoke the Emergencies Act — that what it needed to do was to provide Ottawa police with additional officers to remove the protesters.


“The police did its job, and it’s a wonderful job which has been done here in the last few days, and by itself it is a proof that this law never had to be used in anyway,” he said outside of Parliament Hill on Monday.

RCMP says it’s not going after small donors

Some Conservative MPs have suggested that police could freeze the bank accounts of small donors who may have given money to the protest early on.


In a statement released Monday, the RCMP said it has provided banks only with the names of organizers and owners of trucks who had refused to leave the protest area.


“At no time did we provide a list of donors to financial institutions,” the statement said.


Police have succeeded in dislodging protesters from their main encampment near Parliament Hill and have established a secure perimeter with fencing. Authorities have towed the vehicles that have occupied much of the city’s downtown core for more than three weeks.


In defending their decision, Liberals have pointed repeatedly to comments made by interim Ottawa police Chief Steve Bell on Friday. Bell said the Emergencies Act allowed police to set up barriers and secure an area in the city’s downtown.


The Senate must also vote on the act’s use but debate has not started yet in that chamber.

~Ω~

With files from the CBC’s Peter Zimonjic

Source

Freedom’s funeral: Darkness descends over dazed Canadians

Freedom’s funeral:

Darkness descends over dazed Canadians

By John Kaminski

In the end, there were no heroes, only desperate despots flexing their mindless muscle over betrayed and bewildered people unable to comprehend the horror they witnessed unleashed upon them.

The awesome quest for freedom in Canada was crushed by the brutal pomposity of a government gone mad with a power that had decreed its own senseless mandates took precedence over the noble goals of freedom and justice by which their nation had been established.

Children were snatched from their parents, dogs were impounded and threatened with death, and families who had nobly crusaded for freedom from tyrannical and toxic restrictions were torn asunder in the freezing cold of a foul February night.

Worst of all a crippled old woman only demonstrating for righteousness and honesty was trampled to death beneath the hooves of police horses parading forth the perverted power of a gruesome government cruelly displaying the brutal bitterness of insane tyrants who could no longer be trusted by anyone.

Canada has descended into a hell from which it will likely never emerge, and worse than that, foreshadowed a madness spreading across the entire planet of governments deliberately killing their own people to conceal the financial crimes it has committed against them.

The world watched in horror as the mental illness of unchecked authority destroyed the hope of patriotic conviction with arbitrary and casual abuse of men, women and children who had thought they were free, and learned to their despair that they were not.

The Toronto Sun reported “Police horses trample demonstrators at Freedom Convoy protest in Ottawa” (By Joe Warmington)

Turns out the lasting image of the Freedom Convoy protest at Parliament Hill will not be bouncy castles but that of a woman with a walker being trampled by a police horse.

The violence the Prime Minister has expressed concern about during the three-week protest in Ottawa didn’t unfold until Justin Trudeau’s Emergencies Act police army was sent in to disperse the crowd.

The three major incidents Friday, under a form of martial law, were grotesque. Video of Toronto Police Mounted Unit officers charging into the crowd and at least one horse trampling multiple people — including an elderly woman with a walker — was disturbing.

But that was not the only troubling incident. Another saw a protester behind a police line repeatedly being smashed with an officer’s rifle.

And convoy organizer Benjamin Dichter also told the Toronto Sun “one of drivers had his truck windows smashed by Ottawa Police (with) guns drawn and (he was) dragged out of his vehicle by force.”


The Associated Press reported police arrested scores of demonstrators and towed away vehicles Friday in Canada’s besieged capital, and a stream of trucks started leaving under the pressure, raising authorities’ hopes for an end to the three-week protest against the country’s COVID-19 restrictions.

By evening, at least 100 people had been arrested, mostly on mischief charges, and nearly two dozen vehicles had been towed, including all of those blocking one of the city’s major streets, authorities said. One officer had a minor injury, but no protesters were hurt, interim Ottawa Police Chief Steve Bell said.

Those arrested included four protest leaders. One received bail while the others remained jailed.

The crackdown on the self-styled Freedom Convoy began in the morning, when hundreds of police, some in riot gear and some carrying automatic weapons, descended into the protest zone and began leading demonstrators away in handcuffs through the snowy streets as holdout truckers blared their horns.

Tow truck operators — wearing neon-green ski masks, with their companies’ decals taped over on their trucks to conceal their identities — arrived under police escort and started removing the hundreds of big rigs, campers and other vehicles parked shoulder-to-shoulder near Parliament. Police smashed through the door of at least one RV camper before hauling it away.

Many protesters stood their ground in the face of one of the biggest police enforcement actions in Canada’s history, with officers drawn from around the country.

The biggest border blockade, at the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit, disrupted the flow of auto parts between the two countries and forced the industry to curtail production. Authorities lifted the siege last weekend after arresting dozens of protesters.

The final border blockade, in Manitoba, across from North Dakota, ended peacefully on Wednesday.


The regrettable events in Canada seemed disturbingly in sync with other events around the world which included:

• Ukraine forces bombed cities in its breakaway provinces of Donetsk and Lugansk illustrating the embarrassing lies told by the United States that Russia was about to invade this area when in fact the U.S.-backed Ukrainian forces had already invaded the same area.

• A situation similar to Canada’s entered its ninth day in New Zealand as protesters ignored government orders to move their vehicles away from the capital and brought in armored vehicles amid threats to seize vehicles belonging to those protesting that nation’s strict vaccine mandates.

The accelerating events of government repression seemed to authenticate widespread worries that freedom was disappearing everywhere in a tidal wave of corporate tyranny rapidly erasing individual rights that had previously been well established and taken for granted.

~Ω~

John Kaminski is a writer who lives on the Gulf Coast of Florida, constantly trying to figure out why we are destroying ourselves, and pinpointing a corrupt belief system as the engine of our demise. Solely dependent on contributions from readers, please support his work by mail: 6871 Willow Creek Circle #103, North Port FL 34287 USA.