Canadian PM revokes state of emergency, says “situation was no longer an emergency”
Just nine days after he controversially imposed an emergency upon the country, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau revoked those extreme powers on Wednesday. At a press conference, Trudeau said the “situation was no longer an emergency”. Later, he tweeted, “Today, after careful consideration, we’re ending the use of the Emergencies Act. Existing laws and local law enforcement authorities can keep people safe, and we’ll continue being there to support provincial and local authorities to protect Canadians.”
This was the first time the act had been invoked since it was enacted in 1988. The province of Ontario, which declared an emergency earlier, terminated it in alignment with the government.
Interestingly, the revocation came two days after the Emergencies Act was ratified by the House of Commons in a vote on Monday night. However, it had yet to be affirmed by the Senate.
The emergency was announced on February 14 to counter the then ongoing truckers’ protests under the banner of Freedom Convoy 2022, which had held the Canadian capital of Ottawa hostage since the end of January. Local police use the extraordinary powers to remove the truckers from the downtown core of the city.
However, the emergency itself faced strong opposition and criticism within Canada and across the world.
Trudeau’s announcement on Wednesday was met with a degree of scepticism by critics. Canada’s leading civil rights organisation, Canadian Civil Liberties Association said it was going ahead with its challenge of the government action in a court. It tweeted, “We continue to believe that there was an insufficient legal basis for resort to the Emergencies Act and that the orders the government passed under this legislation were unconstitutional.”
The reversal also drew a sharp reaction from the principal opposition Conservative Party, as its interim leader Candice Bergen said, in a statement, “Today’s announcement is proof that the prime minister was wrong when he invoked the Emergencies Act,” she said, adding, “Nothing has changed between Monday and today other than a flood of concerns from Canadian citizens, bad press, and international ridicule.”
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