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Justin Trudeau invokes Emergencies Act for the first time

Image source, Getty Images

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has taken the unprecedented step of invoking the Emergencies Act to crack down on anti-vaccine mandate protests.

Mr Trudeau said the scope of the measures would be “time-limited”, “reasonable and proportionate”. The military will not be called to assist.

He said the police would be given “more tools” to imprison or fine protesters and protect critical infrastructure.

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Mr Trudeau faces widespread criticism for his handling of the protests.

“This is about keeping Canadians safe, protecting people’s jobs,” he said.

The extraordinary move by Mr Trudeau comes as demonstrations across Canada enter their third week.

On Sunday, law enforcement cleared anti-mandate protesters at the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor – a critical pathway for Canada-US trade – after a week-long stalemate.

Hundreds of protesters remain in Canada’s capital city.

Last week, Ontario Premier Doug Ford called for a state of emergency in the province in response to the protests.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said banks will be able freeze personal accounts of anyone linked with the protests.

Vehicle insurance of anyone involved with the demonstrations can also be suspended, she added.

She said they were broadening Canada’s “Terrorist Financing” rules to cover cryptocurrencies and crowdfunding platforms, as part of the effort to clamp down on the protests.

“It’s all about following the money,” she said.

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