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Current Affairs

Emergencies Act invoked by Canadian Prime Minister

Date: 17 February 2022 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau has used the Emergencies Act for the first time in the country against the truckers’ protests.

 

Background

The anti-vaccine demonstration undertaken by truckers has created unrest in the country, forcing the Prime Minister to use force.

 

Details

  • Trudeau has justified the use of the act saying that blockades were harming Canada’s economy and putting the safety of the public at risk.

  • He added that the protests were posing a serious challenge to law enforcement agencies for enforcing law and order.

 

The protests

  • Truckers have been joined by Canadians to protests against a vaccination rule that warrants truckers to be vaccinated in order to cross the Canada-US border or get quarantined after returning. 

  • Protesters had blocked a major route to the US, the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, which was reopened by authorities.

 

The act

  • The act was passed in 1988 to tackle national emergencies in form of temporary measures to ensure safety and security and give powers to state to amend laws.

  • A national emergency is defined as a situation that is of urgent, critical and temporary nature, which puts lives, health or safety of Canadians at risk.

  • Emergency is also a situation if it threatens the ability of the Canadian government to maintain security, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

 

Invoking

The law can be imposed if the situation cannot be dealt through any other law in Canada. The act can be invoked in parts depending upon the emergencies. The act does not cover lawful protests.

 

Validity

  • The public order emergency, invoked by Trudeau expires after 30 days of its declaration unless it has already been revoked or a decision to continue has been taken.

  • The act has to be approved by the Canadian Parliament within seven days of the government invoking it. It can revoke the act anytime.

 

Actions under the act

  • The state can prohibit or regulate the assembling of citizens if it can violate peace. It can prevent travel within specified areas and restrict use of a specific property by citizens.

  • The government can protect specified areas and take control or restore and maintain public spaces or services.

  • The government can impose a fine of up to five hundred dollars and imprisonment for up to six months for violating the order.

 

Government action

  • The government is likely to freeze bank accounts of anyone linked to the protests without the need for any court order. Vehicle insurance of protestors will be revoked.

  • Police will have more powers to fine and imprison protestors. This includes seizure of trucks used in protests.