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Trudeau invokes emergency powers as Canada moves against anti-vax blockades

Ottawa residents, in particular, are fed up.

A day after Sunday’s successful (and uneventful) clearing of an anti-vaccine protest blocking the Ambassador Bridge border crossing between Canada and the United States, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act to respond to larger “trucker” anti-vax protests in Ottawa and to clear other border crossings that have been blocked by Canadian far-right activists.

The move was not met with full-throated acclaim, any more than an American president invoking emergency powers to deal with protests in this nation would be, but comes as the alleged protests by Canadian “truckers” objecting to COVID-19 vaccination mandates for drivers entering the country have steadily morphed into more ambiguously premised protests by Canadian far-right groups and militias, anti-vaccine conspiracy theorists, and much weirder conspiracy theorists.

As example of what Trudeau’s government might have been eager to head off, Alberta police arrested 11 and seized a cache of weaponry after the group expressed “a willingness to use force against the police” if police attempted to clear an Alberta-U.S. border blockade. That’s the sort of anti-government, militia-premised violence that many in the United States and international far-right have been agitating for, as foreign money pours in to help fund and expand the blockades, and those aspirations likely played a part in Trudeau’s decision to allow police to take more aggressive action against those who have put their fellow Canadians under dubiously-premised “siege.”

A Vancouver border crossing has also now been reopened after protesters there were cleared; new government powers will allow law enforcement to freeze trucker bank accounts and threaten action against crowd-funding sites raising money for now-banned blockades.

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