Canadian MPs pass vote on Emergencies Act use against convoy blockades

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Ottawa, Feb 22

 Canada's House of Commons voted to pass the federal government's use of the Emergencies Act in response to the convoy blockades in Ottawa and at border crossings.

The 185-151 vote late Monday night was on a motion put forward by the Liberal government that outlined its decision to invoke the never-before-used emergency powers after weeks-long demonstrations dubbed the "Freedom Convoy 2022", reports Xinhua news agency

Since late January, Canadian truck drivers have been rallying against the government's Covid-19 vaccine mandates, as the truckers were requested to be fully vaccinated for crossing the border into the US.

After being joined by thousands of pedestrian protesters, the rally then turned into demonstrations against the government's overall restrictive measures during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Before voting, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asked all MPs to "stand up for Canada", saying, "local and provincial authorities needed more tools to restore order and keep people safe".

The Emergencies Act can grant temporary additional and necessary powers to the federal government.

For example, the federal government can issue or adopt temporary orders and regulations when necessary for tackling a public order emergency.

Trudeau defended the government's decision at a news conference on Monday morning.

"The situation is not something anyone wanted," he said, adding: "We didn't want to use the Emergencies Act, it's never something to turn to without serious consideration.

"There's no doubt that the last weeks have been difficult, that the last years have been painful, and that there are still challenges ahead of us. But we can't let anger divide us," said Trudeau, urging Canadians to work to heal the divisions in the country caused by the pandemic.

He warned that there continues to be real concerns about the coming days, saying "this state of emergency is not over".

Ottawa Police Service indicated on Monday that some unlawful protesters returned to the main protest site after being arrested, and have been charged.

The police said that they have made 196 arrests. Of the arrested, 110 were charged with various offences, and 115 vehicles have been towed to date.

An increased police presence, as well as police checkpoints, will remain in place in the coming days, said the police.

"Measures will only remain in place as long as is deemed necessary to ensure unlawful protesters do not return," they said.

"Unlawful protesters must not enter the area, or they may be subject to arrest and charges."

The police said they will continue operations to return Ottawa's downtown core to a state of normalcy.


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