Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government will retain emergency powers for at least a few more days because of ongoing threats, even after police cleared all blockades across the country.
Speaking at a press conference in Ottawa, Trudeau said it’s still too early to lift measures banning public assembly in downtown Ottawa and at border crossings, because of concern demonstrators opposing vaccine mandates are prepared to continue protests. He said he is “reflecting” on timing of when to drop the powers, which include freezing financial accounts of demonstrators.
“We don’t want to keep it in place a single day longer than is necessary,” Trudeau told reporters. “Even though the blockades are lifted across border openings right now, even though things seem to be resolving very well in Ottawa, this state of emergency is not over.”
Trudeau said he expects to keep the state of emergency in place only for “a number more days.”
The emergency legislation received approval from lawmakers late Monday with the backing of Trudeau’s governing Liberal Party and the left-leaning New Democratic Party. Trudeau had hinted earlier in the day he would call elections if he lost the vote. The governing Liberals hold a minority in the House of Commons and require the support of at least one party to pass legislation.
The Canadian government invoked emergency powers last week to put an end to anti-vaccine mandate protests by truckers who blocked much of downtown Ottawa around the national parliament buildings for weeks, with blockades also spreading to a number of border crossings.
Police began clearing the protest encampment in Ottawa on Friday and had fully cleared the city of protesters on Sunday. The capital remains ringed by checkpoints, and the street directly in front of parliament remains closed.
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