Reactions have poured in after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Feb. 23 he was revoking the Emergencies Act, two days after what Tories said was a government-imposed confidence vote on supporting the motion, with some claiming the government exaggerated the threat used to justify resorting to the emergency measures.
“No Freedom Convoy protester was charged with anything more severe than conspiracy to commit mischief. So the [government’s] claims of a threat of sedition was disinformation.”
Reid said if there had been a credible threat the arrested protesters wanted to overthrow the government they would have been charged accordingly, and if the government had information about the potential for violence in places with ongoing protests such as Winnipeg and Quebec City, the act would not have been revoked.
“So, with no dangers still in existence, it must be the case that the government knew this all along, and the claims of sedition made in the justice minister’s explanatory document were just a lie,” said Reid.
The justice minister’s explanatory document likely refers to the 14-page document titled “February 14, 2022 Declaration of Public Order Emergency - Explanation pursuant to subsection 58(1) of the Emergencies Act.”
This document states that “The protests have become a rallying point for anti-government and anti-authority, anti-vaccination, conspiracy theory and white supremacist groups throughout Canada and other Western countries. The protesters have varying ideological grievances, with demands ranging from an end to all public health restrictions to the overthrow of the elected government.”
“Yes, there was talk about evicting the Prime Minister, but there was no credible plot of an insurrection,” Plett said.
“People who want to take over the government do not come here in their own trucks with the names of their companies on their doors and announce their arrival on every social media platform and then spend three weeks in front of Parliament in a hot tub or roasting a pig.”
Trudeau declared a public order emergency as per the Emergencies Act on Feb. 14 to deal with protests and border blockades in several locations, most of which had been resolved before invoking the Act.
Tools such as freezing bank accounts of protesters and supporters without a court order were used, as well as compelling towing companies, who previously refused to remove trucks blocking the streets of downtown Ottawa, to do so.
The cross-country protest movement started after the government imposed a vaccine mandate on truckers crossing the U.S. border in mid-January and called for the lifting of all COVID-19 restrictions.
While the government has claimed the movement had violent intent, organizers said they were committed to non-violence.