Critics Respond to Trudeau’s Use of the Emergencies Act

In response to the Truckers Convoy and ensuing protests against vaccine mandates, Prime Minister Trudeau invoked Canada’s Emergencies Act on February 14, 2022. After considerable outcry, it was revoked on February 23, 2022. I suggested his use of the act made him look like a School yard bully: Bullying on the Political Playground.

Here are responses from a broad spectrum of analysts:

Andrew Scheer, former Leader of Canada’s Conservative Party, sounding more Prime Ministerial than Trudeau

Parliament is suspended! Before MPs even finish debating Trudeau’s massive power grab, the House of Commons gets shut down.
– Andrew Scheer, February 18, 2022 –

Wall Street Journal, an International newspaper

Modern liberals can hurtle from extravagant tolerance to suppression without batting an eye. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dramatizes the tendency… Bank-account freezes weren’t necessary to clear the blockades. That required police only to arrest those blocking traffic and to requisition tow trucks (already authorized by Canada’s criminal code). The asset freezes serve not to end an emergency but to incapacitate and intimidate protesters after the fact… In December 2020 Mr. Trudeau chided India for its police response to farmers’ blockades of Delhi. “Let me remind you,” he said, “Canada will always be there to defend the right of peaceful protest.” Mr. Trudeau prattles on about rights half a world away but won’t respect them half a block from Parliament.
– Wall Street Journal Editorial Board –

Bill Maher, an American sociopolitical commentator, identifies as a liberal.
The Canada’s Toronto Sun political columnists, Lorrie Goldstein and Lorne Gunter, discuss why Bill Maher took aim at Justin Trudeau.

Joanna Williams is Head of Education and Culture at Policy Exchange in the UK

Where is the liberal outrage at Trudeau’s monstrously illiberal behaviour?
Imagine the uproar if, back in 2020, President Trump had frozen bank accounts belonging to key figures in the Black Lives Matter movement
– Joanna Williams, The Telegraph, 21 February, 2022

How the Emergencies Act was Created

I was present during the negotiations around the federal Emergencies Act in 1987. As one of two full-time lawyers at the Canadian Civil Liberties Association at the time, I witnessed firsthand how Alan Borovoy, the CCLA’s then-general counsel, managed to shape the contours of this scheme. And I saw how the end product was a carefully calibrated piece of legislation with checks at every turn.

It’s why I believe the Emergencies Act was not a legally suitable instrument for removing unwelcome occupiers on Ottawa’s streets.
– David Schneiderman, professor of law at the UofT, The Globe and Mail – It shouldn’t have been invoked in Ottawa –

David Sacks, cofounder and general partner at Craft Ventures.

Trudeau escalated things further by issuing a directive requiring financial institutions — including banks, credit unions, co-ops, loan companies, trusts, and even cryptocurrency wallets — to stop “providing any financial or related services” to anyone associated with the protests (a “designated person”).

Banks, according to this new order, have a “duty to determine” if one of their customers is a “designated person.” A “designated person” can refer to anyone who “directly or indirectly” participates in the protest, including donors who “provide property to facilitate” the protests through crowdfunding sites.

Because the donor data to the crowdfunding site GiveSendGo was hacked — and the leaked data shows that Canadians donated most of the $8 million raised — many thousands of law-abiding Canadians now face the prospect of financial retaliation and ruin merely for supporting an anti-government protest.

The fear of being ensnared in the dragnet will surely have a chilling effect on the commercial prospects of those suspected of “unacceptable views,” creating a caste of untouchables whom no one will dare to transact with or help.
– David Sacks, National Post, Trudeau creates caste of economic untouchables

About Freezing Bank Accounts

As reports of frozen accounts linked to convoy donations continue to roll in, members of the Commons finance committee spent Tuesday afternoon questioning staff from the Canada Revenue Agency and the departments of Finance and Justice about the controversial emergency measures that allow police to lock bank accounts of those suspected of funding the illegal protests without first obtaining a court order.

“Just to be clear, a financial contribution either through a crowdsourced platform or directly, could result in their bank account being frozen?” Conservative MP Philip Lawrence asked Department of Finance Assistant Deputy Minister Isabelle Jacques.
“Yes,” she replied.
“They didn’t have to actively be involved in the protest, they didn’t have to be here in Ottawa at one of the blockades?” Lawrence asked.
“When you freeze someone’s bank account, you’re effectively removing them from society,” Lawrence said.

– National Post – Even small donation to Freedom Convoy after Feb. 15 enough to have donor’s bank accounts frozen, finance committee told

Rex Murphy joins Dr. Peterson to discuss the most recent actions of Trudeau’s Government

Senator John N. Kennedy is a Louisiana Republican who champions the promotion and protection of human rights. (He is not related to John F. Kennedy.)

You say follow the science, Mr. Prime Minister. Let’s follow the science. We look around. We see the omicron variant, its virulence waning. Most of us have immunity. We are either natural or we are vaccinated. So, what, Mr. Prime Minister, is your road map for getting government off our backs and allowing us to get back to normal? …Instead of saying, ‘Fair question, let’s sit down and talk about it.’ His plan for convincing the truckers that they are wrong is by saying ‘you’re a bunch of stupid idiots’.
– Senator John Kennedy, February 15, 2022 –

The following quotes are from an article in the National Post by Raymond J. de Souza: Invoking the Emergencies Act is the logical conclusion of Trudeau’s government by decree.

How a Vote on the Emergencies Act Became a Government Confidency Vote

Canada’s Emergencies Act – Prime Minister Trudeau invoked it in order to squash the Trucker’s Convoy. The legitimacy of using it is questioned by people who remembered how often it has NOT been invoked in actions such as: CN Rail Blockade in 2020; G20 Toronto Summit Protest in 2010;  Occupy Canada in 2011-2012; Quebec Uprising in 2001.

There are checks and balances in the Emergencies Act, not the least of which are the procedural steps to ensure accountability. The government must table a motion in both the House and the Senate that asks for confirmation of the Declaration of an Emergency. Parliament then votes.

Except… Trudeau decided to turn the vote into a Confidence Vote. If the majority in the House decided that the Emergencies Act should end, then Trudeau intimated he would declare this was a vote of Non-Confidence in his government. The government would fall, and he would call another election. Of course, he did this in a press conference.

“I can’t imagine anyone voting against this bill as expressing anything other than a deep mistrust in the government’s ability to keep Canadians safe at an extraordinarily important time,” Trudeau said.
– CTV News, February 21, 2022

The Debate on the Declaration of an Emergency is reported in Hansard, Monday, February 21, 2022. It clearly shows that some Liberal and NDP members believed they had to vote the party line (a Yay vote), though they did not support the invocation of the Emergencies Act.

Trudeau was asked, repeatedly, to confirm his intention that a ‘Nay’ vote was a non-confidence vote. Trudeau did not do so. In fact, he left the House before debate was concluded. He voted remotely.

Here are excerpts of what was said:

Mr. Jean-Denis Garon (Mirabel, BQ):
Madam Speaker, the Prime Minister, the only Liberal member who has the right to speak freely, just turned what should have been a vote of conscience into a vote of confidence.
We can see from our discussions with the Liberal members that many of them are uncomfortable with these extreme measures now that the truckers are gone…
Madam Speaker, many NDP members have said that they are uncomfortable with the Emergencies Act and have even indicated that they might vote differently if there were no trucks left today.

Mr. Nathaniel Erskine-Smith (Beaches—East York, Lib.):
…I am skeptical that the strict legal test was met for the act’s invocation, and I am not convinced that the emergency measures should continue to exist beyond today.
I would vote accordingly but for the fact that it is now a confidence vote.

Mr. Joël Lightbound (Louis-Hébert, Lib.):
During the rail blockades put in place in early 2020 to support the demands of the the Wet’suwet’en, I never thought it would be appropriate to invoke the Emergencies Act. I look at the present situation in the same way…
… since 2015, the Liberal Party has had a moral contract whereby members must vote with the government on confidence votes, electoral commitments, and issues affecting Canadians’ fundamental rights protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Under this contract, all other votes are free votes…. If this evening’s vote were not a confidence vote, I would vote against it. However, at the very least, as we prepare to vote, I would like to have a clear and unequivocal indication as to whether this is truly a confidence vote.

Mr. Alexandre Boulerice (Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, NDP):
… I thought that confidence votes applied only to throne speeches, budgets and budget bills. In this case, however, there appears to be a new Liberal category called “whenever the Prime Minister feels like it”.

Mr. John Brassard:
… Earlier today, the Prime Minister signalled, as did a member of his back bench, that tonight’s vote is a confidence vote. Convention requires the Prime Minister to publicly declare a confidence vote of this nature as such…
My question for the government House leader is this: Is the vote tonight a confidence vote? If the vote is lost, will the Prime Minister plunge us into an election?

Reply from Hon. Mark Holland:  Leader of the Government in the House of Commons
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the debate but it is time to vote.

What do the Truckers Want and How Has Trudeau Responded

In this video, Benjamin Dichter, who is integrally involved in the Truckers Freedom Convey, reads a statement of the movement’s demands, who they are, and addresses what they are not asking for that has been presented by the legacy media. – Jordan Paterson –

The federal government provoked this event with its effective ban on the 10% of Canadian truckers who remain unvaccinated, by imposing a requirement that unvaccinated cross-border truckers quarantine themselves for 14 days after returning from the US (rather than undergoing 15 minutes of testing). This would limit such truckers to approximately two trips a month, which would be insufficient for most of them to earn a living. Yet these truckers essentially live in isolation in their trucks on most of their trips. There does not appear to be a lot of evidence, if any, supporting the necessity for this quarantine mandate at this late stage, and no such justification has been given. And the Prime Minister threw gasoline on the flames he had ignited by smearing all these drivers as racists.
– Andrew Roman, Is There a Legal Limit to the Disruption of Protests?

Single Most Successful Human Rights Protest In A Generation

“We want freedom,” the truckers are saying,” freedom from mandates.” It’s a very straightforward ask, but so far the truckers don’t have that freedom and so their blockade continues.

It’s hard to overstate the historical significance of what we’re watching right here. The Canadian trucker convoy is the single most successful human rights protest in a generation. If nothing else, it has been a very useful reminder to our entitled ruling class. The working-class men can be pushed, but only so far. When they push back, it hurts.

Now there is an obvious way to fix this problem. Manuel Moroun, who is the owner of the Ambassador Bridge into Michigan, just spelled it out for Justin Trudeau, who is not terribly bright. End the vaccine mandates and the bridge reopens. It’s not hard, but Justin Trudeau won’t, and he’s decided he doesn’t have to because the truckers, as he’s explained, have no legitimate complaint. They’re racists, so we’re not required to listen to them.

When you dismiss, your own citizens as racists and conspiracy nuts and try and shut them down for long enough, at some point, they are apt to revolt. Once people realize they’re citizens, not serfs, you can’t really know where things go from there.

– Tucker Carlson, February 11, 2022 –

Will Prime Minister Trudeau be able to put his Ego on a Shelf and become a Statesman?

Ceaușescu’s balcony will forever be a symbol of elite cluelessness. Even in the face of the gravest danger, a certain kind of ruler will never be able to see the last salvo coming, if doing so requires any self-examination.

Trudeau is becoming the ultimate example. Truckers last month began protesting a January 22nd rule that required the production of vaccine passports before crossing the U.S.-Canadian border. Canadian truckers are reportedly 90% vaccinated, above the country’s 78% total, a key detail that’s been brazenly ignored by media in both countries determined to depict these more as “anti-vax” than “anti-mandate” protests… When an angry convoy descended upon the capital, Trudeau dismissed them in a soliloquy that can only be described as inspired political arson:

“The small fringe minority of people who are on their way to Ottawa, who are holding unacceptable views that they are expressing, do not represent the views of Canadians… who know that following the science and stepping up to protect each other is the best way to ensure our rights, our freedoms, our values as a country.”

A near-exact repeat of the “basket of deplorables” episode, Trudeau’s imperious description of “unacceptable” views instantly became a rallying cry, with people across the country lining the streets to cheer truckers while self-identifying as the “small fringe minority.” Everyone from high school kids to farmers and teachers and random marchers carrying jerrycans of fuel joined in as Trudeau’s own words were used to massively accelerate his troubles.

– Matt Taibbi, Justin Trudeau’s Ceaușescu Moment

Canadian Truckers: ‘Please Use Science and Facts’

The Canadian Truckers Freedom Convoy has been in Canada’s Capital city, Ottawa, since January 28, 2022. Many truckers have had enough of Government imposed mandates, whether they be vaccinations, vaccine passports, masking, curfews, lockdowns, etc. The truckers believe that the recent vaccine mandate imposed on cross border truckers by both the Canadian and American governments is not consistent with current medical science.

Only in Canada – a protest sign that starts with the word ‘Please’… it’s time to start using science and facts over fear.

Isn’t Prime Minister Trudeau accusing the truckers of doing the same thing his Liberal government has been doing to Canadians for the past two years?

Individuals are trying to blockade our economy, our democracy, and our fellow citizens’ daily lives—It has to stop,” asserts Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as he speaks in an emergency House of Commons debate concerning the ongoing trucker protests in Ottawa.

The Conservatives think the Trudeau government is the root cause of the alienation

“We are at a crisis point not only with what’s going on out the doors and across the country, but the country overall,” Bergen said Monday night. “And so much of it is because of the things that he has said and done.”
– Interim Conservative Leader Candice Bergen –

Even Members of Trudeau’s Liberals think their government’s Covid policies are increasingly questionable

Quebec Liberal MP Joel Lightbound called out Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday, accusing him of using the pandemic as a political weapon to turn Canadians against each other, adding other Liberal MPs feel the same.

Likely setting fire to his political career, Lightbound, first elected in 2015, said he was speaking for hundreds of constituents in his riding of Louis-Hebert, many of whom are vaccinated but are concerned about the imposition of poorly-explained federal and provincial public health measures that often appear arbitrary and cruel, introduced without explaining the purpose or providing the scientific data backing them.

“I’ve heard from people worried that those making the decisions seem at times to have been blind to the fact we’re not all equal for lockdowns, that not everyone can earn a living on a MacBook at the cottage. I’ve heard people worried that a few might have lost sight of the quiet … suffering of the many.”
– Toronto Sun, February 8, 2022 –

Who has been most severely impacted by those restrictions?

Who has most carried the hard weight of the COVID regime imposed by their governments and the protected class? Everyone knows the answer to that question: those in precarious economic positions, the independent, the unpensioned, blue-collar workers. Family and small business people, service employees, the staff of hotels and restaurants. The old and the very old, most cruelly those ill and in care, who were not only the most exposed and least protected, but who were cut off during their most difficult days from family contact. Anxiety was deepest, the burden greatest — as seems always the case in this world — for those least equipped to bear it.

The current protest is the marker of that unfortunate divide. A sign, too, of a new divide in our governance, where politics has swollen into a kind of moral marker, or an identity tag, where what should be simply a disagreement or an argument over this issue or that, has taken on the character of a shibboleth. Sign on here, you are good. Sign on there, you’re a wastrel and a pirate.
– Rex Murphy, National Post, February 8, 2022 –

Hockey rinks and that dangerous Bouncy Castle

As of Monday, Ottawa is still effectively in the hands of Freedom Convoy. The truckers used the weekend to further entrench their presence in the capital by erecting wooden buildings, piling up firewood , setting up impromptu road hockey rinks and even bringing in the occasional sauna and bouncy castle.
– Tristin Hopper – National Post, February 8, 2022 –

‘Disruptive and unlawful behaviour’ during ‘Freedom Convoy’ protest

CTV Ottawa issued this report on the 450 tickets the Police had issued in the first week-end of the protest. Serious stuff:

Excessive noise
Use of Fireworks
Failure to drive in marked lane
Red light violations
Driving through a No Truck Route
Seatbelt violation
Driving a motor vehicle on a sidewalk
Disobey sign
Improper muffler
Tint (too dark)
Obstructed license plate
Failure to produce documents
Stunt Driving (vehicle seized)
Suspended license
No Insurance

The GoFundMe Debacle – If Only the Truckers had said it was a BLM protest

Nearly $10 million had been pledged at GoFundMe to support the Freedom Convoy.  $1M was released to Convoy organizers. GoFundMe then decided that the convoy had evolved into something they don’t support – a stationary protest, an occupation – and would not release any more funding. GoFundMe asked donors to submit a refund form and said that any funds not returned to donors would be donated to a charity chosen by the Freedom Convoy. After an immediate outcry, GoFundMe announced they would skip the request process and refund donors automatically.

GoFundMe says they support peaceful protests but do not support occupations with police reports of violence and other unlawful activity unless, apparently, it is under the auspices of BLM. GoFundMe supported a project in CHAZ/CHOP, a police-free perimeter that encased several neighborhoods in Seattle’s Capitol Hill district in 2020. What initially started as a local curiosity, eventually took a turn for the worse. In nine days, the area saw four shootings, two deaths, arson, and several alleged sexual assaults, not to mention damages to buildings.

Ottawa Police try to find ways to oust the Convoy that they knew (for weeks) was coming but didn’t think it was going to amount to much

The Ottawa Police Service warned on Sunday that “anyone found bringing fuel to the demonstration trucks in red zone could be subject to arrest and charges. This is effective immediately,”
– Rebecca Cohen, Insider, February 7, 2022 –

The Canadian Truckers Freedom Convoy – Beyond Mass Media Spin

There are been many negative stories about the Convoy in left of centre Mass Media (and repeated in Social Media.) Here are a few excerpts of positive stories and other ideas:

… the pickings (of trucker supporter wrongdoings) seemed somewhat slim given the many thousands of people who were in attendance… This included a viral photo of a few protesters parking their cars close to the National War Memorial cenotaph — which was quickly followed by Ottawa Police assuring everyone that the drivers had promptly moved the cars as soon as they’d been asked. Much was made of a Terry Fox statue being “defaced” — until it was pointed out that the protesters had merely dressed him up in hat and flag, as part of a failed stunt to suggest he’d be on their side.

In true Canadian fashion, protesters even began policing one another’s behaviour. This included setting up ad-hoc litter patrols to clean up everyone else’s mess — leading to the unintentionally hilarious spectacle of CBC reporter Hannah Thibodeau trying to drum up outrage with a tweeted picture of neatly arranged garbage bags.

One particularly McCarthyist Instagrammer, Kelsey Grace, has been curating a published list of Ottawa businesses that are “actively supporting” truckers. The catalog of accused entities includes (and I am not making this up) a french-fry truck, a restaurant that specializes in shawarma (that favourite delicacy of all white supremacists), and a diner with a sign reading “20$ trucker special.”

But the last few days have provided an instructive spectacle — a microcosm for the larger, profoundly off-putting phenomenon by which progressives lazily default to labelling anything they dislike or disagree with as a manifestation of bigotry. We’ve been seeing examples of this for years, of course. But what took place over the weekend was unusual, as it didn’t involve any of the sacred cows (BLM and residential schools, in particular) that have otherwise served to stigmatize dissent. It was basically just a bunch of very privileged (and very white, by the way) elites loudly and unapologetically reminding us of just how deeply contemptuous they are of anyone who doesn’t read from their psalm book.

– Jonathan Kay, National Post

One myth that was busted right away was the striking diversity of the protestors starting with the two main organizers, Benjamin Dichter, who is Jewish and Tamara Lich, who is Metis. Far from being a uniformly disgruntled group of white Canadians, not that there is anything wrong with being that, one saw Indo-Canadians, Arab Canadians, Chinese Canadians, Black Canadians and just about every other ethnic Canadian under the sun.

People had different reasons for joining the protests. One couple from Cambridge, Ontario, whose nephew died by suicide due to depression during the lockdown, said that they were here to make their voice heard for kids, including for their daughter, who was with them, locked out of schools, physical activity and social life. Recall, as I’ve written about earlier, Canada has had amongst the harshest of all restrictions among advanced rich nations, and Ontario has been harsher on average than the rest of Canada, especially for children.

As vaccines were being rolled out, recall that surveys told us that vaccine hesitancy was highest among Black Canadians and other racialised groups that, for entirely legitimate reasons, have fraught relationships with authority. Perhaps that’s why there were so many Black Canadians at the weekend’s protest? Of course this doesn’t necessarily imply they’re unvaccinated, but certainly oppose government imposed vaccine mandates. How did elite Canadian opinion go from compassion for marginalized groups fearful to be vaccinated, toward hate and vitriol, that such people should be ostracized, imprisoned or fined, in just a few months? This increasing extremism among the ostensibly mainstream should give us reason for pause.

– Rupa Subramanya, National Post

One of the concerns that has been expressed by many is: what are the exit conditions for ending the Covid-19 mandates? Often these have not been clearly expressed by governments. People fear that politicians will hang on to the control they have gained during Covid and will be reluctant to let it go.

The rules and regulations keep increasing every year. Rules and regulations are immortal, they don’t die. Occasionally you see some law with a sunset provision, but really, otherwise, the vast majority of rules and regulations live forever…Eventually it just takes longer and longer and it’s harder to do things. There’s not really an effective garbage collection system for removing rules and regulations. And so gradually this hardens the arteries of civilization, where you’re able to do less and less over time. So I think government should be trying really hard to get rid of rules and regulations that perhaps had merit at some time but don’t have merit currently.
– Elon Musk –

Here is my initial post on The Truckers Freedom Convoy.

The Canadian Truckers Freedom Convoy 2022

Since the beginning of this Pandemic, Truck Drivers (like so many other people) have been designated Essential Workers. They have transported the goods and materials that kept society functioning and allowed so many people to work from home.

After nearly 2 years of truckers not having to be vaccinated in order to cross the Canada/USA border, both Canada and the United States have now decided that they must be vaccinated. Neither government seems to have produced data to show that licensed cross-border truck drivers have been causing a disproportionate increase in Covid related disease compared to, say, the 15-20 million people who marched in Black Lives Matter Protests or the fans who today attend sporting events in large stadiums.

Many truckers have had enough of Government imposed mandates, whether they be vaccinations, vaccine passports, masking, curfews, lockdowns, etc. That is what led to the Freedom Convoy.

Canada’s Prime Minister Trudeau did not meet with the truckers when they arrived at their destination in the Nation’s capital. Why? He has reportedly said that the convoy members and their supporters hold “unacceptable views.”

Speaking of unacceptable, on the World Covid-10 Stringency Index, Canada’s score is 78.24 (out of 100) with only a few countries having higher levels of school and workplace closures, travel bans, cancellation of public events, gathering restrictions, stay at home requirements and restrictions on internal movement. Since I’ve lived in the midst of it all, I can understand why some people have had enough of what they think are ‘unacceptable’ levels of government imposed mandates and are now expressing those views.

“The Canadian food system really rides on the back of a truck because of our short growing season,” he said of the C$21bn worth of food imported from the US each year, and trucks play a key role in moving it.
In many way, Covid-19 has exposed the necessity of the trucking system as well as headwinds within the system, including a shortage of drivers.
“At the end of the day, we need more trucks on the road. If everyone came to the table for an honest discussion about this, rather than making political statements, it’d be better for everyone”.

– Simon Somogyi, University of Guelph, study of food business and supply chain management –