In the News
Standoff Involving “Freedom Convoy” Continues
Many Question Why the Prime Minister Invoked
the Emergencies Act
Bill Blair, Minister of Emergency Preparedness, made the rounds on CBC Radio the day after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the 1988 Emergencies Act. What stands out when he appeared on CBC’s local Ottawa morning show, then on The Current which broadcasts nationally is his inability to speak sensibly as to why the government sought recourse to the Emergencies Act. He kept repeating things such as he doesn’t understand why the Ottawa police have not been able to act. Repeating such things explain nothing. Why didn’t/couldn’t the Ottawa police act effectively? The combined police forces that cleared the blockade of vehicles and protestors occupying the road leading to the entrance and exit ramps of the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor did that very effectively once the decision was made to act, with an injunction quickly granted authorizing that by the Ontario Superior Court.
Others are providing information of a sensational nature, such as the number of not only retired but current members of the police and military, including special forces, who are part of the so-called Freedom Convoy, as well as the arms discovered stashed in vehicles at the Coutts Alberta border crossing. True as these discoveries may be, what do they contribute to explaining who is behind the so-called Freedom Convoy and why normal law and order methods are not able to end the standoff? Is it because they are armed, or have military organization, precision and training? Why are they here? Why now? Whose interests are they serving? Their own? We don’t think so. To be praised by the likes of Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Elon Musk should tell us something. But so should the fact that even the U.S. administration, with all its Homeland Security and intelligence agencies and massive numbers of troops and guards, has not been able to put the civil war scenarios to rest in that country. What then do the offers of the Biden administration and U.S. Homeland Security to help Trudeau signify? How are they fighting to quell the civil war in the U.S. that provides insight into what they propose for Canada?
In this regard, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) is also being widely cited, as in this report from Global News:
“There are some concerns about the federal government’s decision to invoke the Emergencies Act to end anti-government blockades against COVID-19 measures that are being held across the country.
“The Canadian Civil Liberties Association says it does not believe the ‘high and clear’ threshold needed to invoke the act has been met, noting the law states it can only be used when a situation cannot be dealt with using any other law in the country. Executive director Noa Mendelsohn Aviv warns that normalizing emergency legislation ‘threatens our democracy and our civil liberties.'”
Also being cited frequently is Professor Leah West, national security law scholar at the Norman Patterson School of Public Policy, who has been saying that the situation does not meet the legal threshold for invoking the Act, even though according to her the government clearly knows what the threshold is. West questioned whether some things, like compelling tow-trucks to move in to remove trucks parked in the streets in downtown Ottawa could not have been done under emergency powers that had been put in place in Ontario.
“It’s a matter of actually going about enforcing the orders and regulations and the laws that we have, and that’s been the real issue, is that there’s all kinds of laws that are being broken every day, every hour by the protests in downtown Ottawa. Those laws aren’t being enforced,” West said.
In a February 14 press conference called in anticipation of the Emergencies Act being invoked, Tamara Lich, president of the so-called Freedom Convoy and former Newfoundland premier Brian Peckford, who supports it, denounced the Trudeau government’s over-reach with both saying that if the police were sent in as they were against the blockade in Windsor, the response would be to “hold the line.”
In related news, Peter Sloly resigned today as Ottawa’s Chief of Police, just days after Bill Blair scathingly called the lack of enforcement of the law in Ottawa “inexplicable.” Before being hired as Ottawa’s police chief, Sloly was deputy chief for Divisional Policing Command and Operational Support Command of the Toronto Police Services when Blair was chief. Sloly had applied for but was outbid for the job of chief when Blair resigned in 2015 to run for the federal Liberal Party.
In fact, the developments corroborate what CPC(M-L) pointed out, that we are witnessing a trial of strength over control of federal decision-making powers in Canada. Keep in mind that the seizure of powers by the federal executive supercedes whatever provincial authorities may themselves mandate. Whether or not they agree, consulted or not, it is a matter of deal-making behind the backs of the people. Nothing more. Even though the Act does not permit the suspension of civil liberties, which Canadians would rebel against, the precedents all of this sets, as pointed out by the Civil Liberties Association, are no small affair when you are also egging on war in Europe. What will it mean for the ports of Halifax and Saint John or pipelines feeding the U.S. war machine in the western provinces or for the Northwest Passage and control over the arctic and Innu way of life?
None of this is in the least bit benign. CPC(M-L) calls on Canadians and Quebeckers to speak out for a nation-building project of our own making based on democratic political renewal where the system of government is taken out of the hands of the mafia-like cartel of parties and party governments. Their job is to say that through the ballot box you have authorized them to speak in the name of the sovereign and whatever interests that represents about which you are not privy. The narrow private supranational interests they represent have given rise to this climate of anarchy and violence and whatever measures they are taking will not quell the anarchy and violence. Only the peoples can do that by pursuing their just claims on society. Only the affirmation of the demands the people make on the society they depend on for their living will set Canada’s economy in a direction which serves them and end the preparations for aggression and war. Taking one side or the other in this standoff will not help the people, no matter what problems they face. Do not permit any of this to be done in your name!
(Renewal Update, posted February 15, 2022. With files from news agencies.)