Canadian Justin Trudeau wins parliamentary approval to declare emergency powers

Canadian Justin Trudeau

Canadian Justin Trudeau wins parliamentary approval to declare emergency powers

Canada's House voted 185 to 151 on Monday to allow Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to invoke emergency legislation last week to quell subversive protests that have used trucks to block the border between the US and Canada and paralyzed much of Ottawa for 23 days.

After the first seven-day window, Trudeau's liberal party and the left-leaning New Democratic Party voted to extend the emergency powers. At the same time, the opposition Conservative Party and the Qu├ębecoa bloc opposed the measure. The first-ever protest against the 1988 Emergency Act will face a vote in Parliament's upper House early Tuesday, and the courts will also consider its legal validity. It automatically expires within 30 days without another vote in Parliament.

The remaining border blockade was lifted last week, and police ended the expulsion of "Freedom Caravan" protesters and their trucks from Ottawa on Sunday.

Trudeau said that many of the large excavators and other vehicles that left Ottawa before towing have moved only about 60 miles to a private field in the small town of Vanclik Hill, indicating "a desire, or an openness, to return to the blockade now." Reporters before the vote that the government does not want to keep the emergency declaration "valid for one day too much," but "the situation is still fragile."

Interim Conservative Party leader Candice Bergen called the emergency measures "excesses" and demanded that "the criteria for declaring the end of this state of emergency" be known, as well as a specific date. "We hope to keep it in place only for several more days," Trudeau told the House of Commons.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh said his party "reluctantly supports the vote today in favor of national unity, to protect Canadians, and in recognition of this genuine threat," but that the NDP would withdraw its support "once we do it. I think it is no longer necessary."

Police said they arrested 191 protesters and towed 79 vehicles in their drive to clear Ottawa. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said emergency measures were also used to freeze more than 200 financial accounts of "influencers of the illegal protest in Ottawa and owners and drivers of vehicles who do not want to leave the area." Police said donors to crowdfunding campaigns to support truck drivers were not targeted.

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