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Canadian civil rights org fires back at Justin Trudeau over decision to invoke Emergencies Act: 'Threatens our democracy'

David Kawai/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Canadian Civil Liberties Union published a defiant message condemning Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for using increasingly powerful methods to quell Freedom Convoy protests.

What is the background?

Trudeau announced Monday that Canada's federal government would, for the first time in its history, invoke the Emergencies Act to stop the protests and silence those advocating for freedom. Invoking the Emergencies Act gives Trudeau enormous power to end the politically inconvenient protests.

According to Politico, Trudeau emphasized his conviction that the protests are no longer "non-violent," although Trudeau did not explain how the peaceful protests had become violent. Trudeau also claimed he would not limit Canadians' freedoms of speech, protest, or peaceful assembly — despite invoking the Emergencies Act to do exactly that.

As part of Canada's expanded efforts to crack down on the protests, the Washington Post explained that Canada's "money-laundering and terrorism financing rules will also be widened to cover crowdfunding sites such as GoFundMe and GiveSendGo and payment service providers that have been used to funnel funds, including cryptocurrencies, to the protesters."

Additionally, Canadian authorities will crack down on businesses that own the trucks being used in the protests, which could include revoking insurance policies or freezing corporate bank accounts.

What did the CCLU say?

The CCLU — which is essentially the Canadian version of the American Civil Liberties Union and is, therefore, by no means conservative — warned that Trudeau is threatening Canadian democracy by using government power to stop Canadians from exercising freedom of speech.

"The federal government has not met the threshold necessary to invoke the Emergencies Act," the CCLU explained. "This law creates a high and clear standard for good reason: the Act allows government to bypass ordinary democratic processes. This standard has not been met."

The Emergencies Act, according to the CCLU, can only be invoked when no other legal redress allows Canada to protect its sovereignty.

"The Emergencies Act can only be invoked when a situation 'seriously threatens the ability of the Government of Canada to preserve the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of Canada' & when the situation 'cannot be effectively dealt with under any other law of Canada,'" the CCLU explained. "Governments regularly deal with difficult situations, and do so using powers granted to them by democratically elected representatives. Emergency legislation should not be normalized. It threatens our democracy and our civil liberties."

Canadians who are angry over draconian COVID restrictions, of course, are not a threat to Canadian sovereignty. They do, however, constitute a threat to the Canadian elite and those in government who have been exercising fierce control over the lives of Canadian citizens for the past two years.

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