Freedom Convoy: Trudeau ends national emergency after 9 days

Justin Trudeau
(Image credit: DAVE CHAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Wednesday that he was ending the national emergency he'd declared nine days earlier to deal with the Freedom Convoy protests against Canada's COVID-19 policies, The Washington Post reported.

"Today, after careful consideration, we're ready to confirm that the situation is no longer an emergency. Therefore, the federal government will be ending the use of the Emergencies Act. We are confident that existing laws and bylaws are now sufficient to keep people safe," Trudeau said.

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Per the Post, this was a shift for Trudeau, who said Monday that even though the protests had been dealt with, he still worried that new blockades might develop and that "protesters might be regrouping … outside Ottawa."

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Police moved in over the weekend to break up protests that had clogged streets and disturbed Ottawa residents with loud honking for three weeks, arresting nearly 200 people. Tow truck drivers, who under the terms of the Emergency Act could be compelled to cooperate with law enforcement, towed away more than 50 vehicles.

Protesters in other parts of Canada had blockaded border crossings in Alberta, Manitoba, and Ontario.

Canada's Parliament voted Monday night to approve the invocation of the Emergencies Act, but debate leading up to the vote was fiery. One MP from the country's Conservative Party accused Trudeau of a "massive power grab," while others shouted "Dictator!"

Trudeau's government also used its emergency powers to freeze hundreds of bank accounts associated with the protests, though The New York Times reported that by Tuesday, most of those were "in the process of being unfrozen."

According to Reuters and CBC, Canada's federal government and the provinces of Saskatchewan, Alberta, Ottawa, and Quebec have all relaxed COVID restrictions since the protests began.

Trudeau is the second prime minister in Canadian history to declare an emergency during peacetime. The first was his father, Pierre Trudeau.

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