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Freedom Convoy: Trudeau declares emergency just hours after Ontario announces end to vaccine passports

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday declared a national emergency during peacetime for only the second time in Canadian history, to put an end to the Freedom Convoy protests against the country's COVID-19 restrictions, The New York Times reports.

"Those people who disagree with the measures that governments put in place to keep Canadians safe . . . have gone from protesting and disagreeing with those measures to limiting and blocking the freedoms of their fellow citizens, hurting jobs, hurting lives and livelihoods, endangering public safety, and weakening our country." Trudeau told reporters. "These illegal blockades are hurting Canadians, and they need to stop."

He also said the government's powers under the Emergency Act would be "time limited, geographically specific, and extremely bounded."

Trudeau declared an emergency on the same day Ontario, the epicenter of the Freedom Convoy protests, announced it would stop requiring vaccine passports on March 1, The Detroit News reported.

The emergency declaration empowers the government to restrict travel, public assembly, and "the use of specified property," and to compel any person "to render essential services" in return for "reasonable compensation."

Canada's Parliament must approve the emergency within seven days. Emergencies automatically expire after 30 days but can be extended.

The Emergencies Act, which replaced the War Measures Act in 1988, had never been invoked before.

Trudeau's father, former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, invoked the War Measures Act during peacetime for the first and only time in the country's history after Québécois terrorists kidnapped Quebec's deputy premier in 1970. According to CBC, the emergency "allowed police searches and arrests without warrants, and prolonged detentions without charges and without the right to see a lawyer." More than 400 people were detained.