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What Next for The Canadian ‘Freedom Convoy’ and How Far Will It Go?

Recap


Since late January, truck drivers have created havoc on Canadian towns, seizing portions of Ottawa and eventually blocking the country's most important commerce route to the United States in protest over Covid limits and vaccination mandates. The once-narrow "Freedom Convoy" demonstration has morphed into a larger far-right movement, with some protestors waving Confederate and Nazi flags in the streets. The protests have piqued the interest of conservative politicians in the United States, who have praised the truckers as freedom fighters. In Ottawa, the nation's capital, between 400 and 500 trucks still remained parked in the city centre. While, vital border crossings at Coutts, Alberta, and Emerson, Manitoba continue to be blocked.


Trudeau Had Enough

After 3 weeks of anti-vaccine protests, Justin Trudeau has taken the unprecedented step of using the Emergencies Act to suppress the crowds. Mr Trudeau stated that the measures would be "time-limited," "reasonable, and proportionate," and that the military would not be deployed. The Emergencies Act enables Trudeau's administration to freeze truckers' personal and business bank accounts, terminate their rig insurance, and tow away their cars. Mr Trudeau told reporters the legislation would be applied temporarily and in a highly specific manner. "The blockades are harming our economy and endangering public safety," Mr Trudeau told a news conference. "We cannot and will not allow illegal and dangerous activities to continue."

Will Trudeau Succeed?


Under increasing pressure to put an end to the disruptive protests, whether from the White House or increasingly frustrated Canadians, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has entered uncharted territory by invoking the never-before-used 1988 Emergencies Act, the country's most powerful tool for dealing with a national emergency.


Mr Trudeau's powers take effect immediately, but his administration must deliver it to the House of Commons and the Senate within a week and get approval or the proclamation will be withdrawn. All of Canada's major federal political parties have stated that the demonstrations, which have had an impact on supply chains, the national economy, and the country's relations with the United States, must end.


However, they aren't entirely on board with Mr Trudeau's unusual decision. Candice Bergen, the leader of the Conservative Party, expressed worry that it might exacerbate the problem. The backing of NDP leader Jagmeet Singh may provide Mr Trudeau with enough votes to get it through the House, but the Senate may still be a problem.


A Larger Movement Formed


While the "Freedom Convoy" began as a group of Canadian truckers opposing cross-border vaccination mandates, it has now evolved into a rallying cry for far-right issues in the United States and throughout the world. More demonstrations are possible as anti-restriction conservatives in the United States and Europe cheer on the trucks. The demonstrations have already inspired "Freedom Convoy" protests in France, Australia, and New Zealand. This weekend, "Freedom Convoy" demonstrators disrupted traffic in Paris, while U.S. officials are already bracing for an American version of the protests.


Furthermore, police in Brussels had to impose traffic restrictions during Monday's morning rush hour in an attempt to stop a vehicle protest from causing problems. The Belgian capital was the most recent city across the world to be targeted by protesters inspired by the truckers' in Canada. Protesters are enraged by continuous COVID-19 limitations and vaccination obligations.

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