Politics

‘Unhelpful,’ ‘Unnecessary’: Canada’s Provinces Reject Trudeau’s Emergency Powers

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Several Canadian provincial executives resisted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s invocation of emergency powers on Monday to shut down the Freedom Convoy protests against vaccine mandates.

“I am concerned that there’s a certain kind of person who will hear if the federal government proceeds with this, who will be further enflamed, and that could lead to a prolongation of some of these protests,” Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said on Monday.

“The view I have, which I conveyed to the prime minister during the forum of first ministers this morning, is that this is not necessary, at least for an Alberta context,” Kenney told reporters.

Kenney stressed that he believes provincial officials already have the powers needed to handle protesters who break the law. He mused several times during press conferences on Monday that unnecessary federal overreach could compromise the authority of provincial governments and further inflame public tensions.

“I think at this point, for the federal government to reach in over top of us, without offering anything in particular, would frankly be unhelpful. I think we need to find ways to effectively enforce without escalating the situation,” he said.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe also said his administration “does not support the Trudeau government invoking the Emergencies Act.”

“The illegal blockades must end, but police already have sufficient tools to enforce the law and clear the blockades, as they did over the weekend in Windsor,” Moe said, making an argument similar to Kenney’s.

“If the federal government does proceed with this measure, I would hope it would only be invoked in provinces that request it, as the legislation allows,” Moe added.

Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson described Trudeau’s move as “unnecessary” and provocative. She refused to “escalate” the situation by following Trudeau’s lead.

“The use of the Emergencies Act is very, very serious, and needs to be considered very seriously before enacting something like that,” Stefanson said after a minister’s meeting with Trudeau on Monday.

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“I think it’s important that Manitobans and Canadians know and understand that it’s not necessary, and we need to think very carefully and clearly before going in that direction,” she said.

Stefanson praised law enforcement agencies for “doing very good work” during the protests, and said, they should be left to “do their jobs.”

“At some point, these pro… (Read more)

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