Liberal ministers call blockades a foreign attempt to overthrow Canada’s democracy and economy

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Government claims occupations are funded and organized by powers outside Canada, but stops short of calling blockades an ‘insurgency’

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The Trudeau Liberals stepped up their rhetoric on Wednesday, describing the border blockades and continued occupation of downtown Ottawa as foreign-funded, foreign-organized attacks aimed at undermining our nation’s sovereignty.

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And ambiguity remains over why the government took the bold step of invoking the Emergency Act, given that most lockdowns were lifted by police before a national public emergency was declared.

Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair told reporters Wednesday afternoon that the blockades were part of a concerted foreign-funded effort to jeopardize Canada’s economy and government.

“We cannot leave anyone with the impression that our democracy is negotiable or subject to appeasement efforts,” Blair said.

“We will not allow any foreign entity that seeks to harm Canada or Canadians, erode confidence in our democratic institutions or question the legitimacy of our democracy.

A Freedom Convoy-affiliated blockade used trucks, private vehicles and even farm equipment to block access to the Canada-US border crossing at Coutts, Alberta for nearly two weeks.

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This was followed by similar actions at land crossings across Canada – most prominent at Emerson, Manitoba, south of Winnipeg, on the Pacific Highway near Surrey, British Columbia, and on the streets leading the Ambassador Bridge, which connects Windsor, Ontario, to Detroit and carries about a quarter of cross-border trade between Canada and the United States.

  1. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during Question Period in Parliament on Wednesday, February 16, 2022

    ‘Stand with the swastikas’: Emergencies law debate turns sour as opposition grows

  2. A slogan and toilets are displayed in front of vehicles blocking a road during a protest by truckers against pandemic health rules and the Trudeau government, outside Parliament, February 15, 2022.

    Leave now or risk being arrested: The end of the Ottawa occupation could come quickly

Blair says the government believes these lockdowns were far more insidious than just Canadians upset over COVID-19 vaccination mandates.

“We have seen strong evidence that this was the intention of those who blocked our ports of entry in a largely foreign-funded, targeted and coordinated attack, which was clearly and criminally intended to harm Canada, to harm Canadians, to disrupt vital activities. supply lines, to idle our workers and shut down our factories,” he said.

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“He demanded that we all do what was necessary to restore the integrity and security of our borders and protect Canadian interests.”

Donor records leaked in Sunday’s cyberattack on crowdfunding website GiveSendGo showed most of the $8 million raised at the time came from Canadians.

Additionally, data released Tuesday by an online transparency group showed nearly 60% of funds raised by the Adopt a Trucker fundraising campaign also came from Canada.

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino also described both the border situation and the ongoing occupation in Ottawa as posing “a national security threat to our borders, our economy, and the health and safety of all.” Canadians “.

Protesters in Coutts ended their action peacefully on Tuesday, shortly after the gendarmerie discovered a cache of firearms, ammunition and body armor and arrested 13 people, four of whom were charged with conspiracy. to assassinate law enforcement officers.

This seizure, Mendicino said, is testament to the serious criminality that takes place behind the scenes of television cameras and social media posts.

“We need to be clear about the seriousness of these incidents,” he said, alleging those arrested by Coutts have “close ties” to a “far-right, far-right organization” whose management is currently in Ottawa.

“We are talking about a group that is organized, agile, competent and driven by an extremist ideology where ‘might does good,'” he said.

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Mendicino declined to name the group, but photos released by the RCMP show a seized body armor carrier displaying flags associated with Diagalon – described by the Canadian Anti-Hate Network as an extreme extremist militia network right with the purported goal of forming a new North American nation stretching from Alaska, diagonally across the Canadian Prairies south to Florida.

When asked five times by reporters to clarify alleged links between Coutts’ extremist group and Ottawa organizers, Mendicino acknowledged that the conclusion was based on a similar extremist ideology shared between the Coutts suspects and what is happening. goes to Ottawa.

Blair also mistakenly implied the Federal Emergency Orders – which were only published in the Canada Gazette late Tuesday evening — helping the RCMP dismantle the Coutts blockade and arrest suspected extremists, even though those orders were not yet in place.

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Lametti and Mendicino dodged questions about whether they were prepared to clearly characterize the situation as a full-scale insurrection against Canada by foreign invaders.

Responding in French, both spoke instead of the new tools that emergency measures grant to law enforcement.

Questions were also dodged about why the invocation of the Emergency Measures Act was even necessary, given that police had cleared the borders before its invocation, prompting ministers to discuss more widely how they would offer new tools to the police.

Mendicino also did not give details on the number of accounts frozen or the sums of money seized as part of the emergency measures, citing the importance of the independence of the prosecution.

Celebrating emergency orders isn’t as easy as signing on the dotted line.

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Like all Canadian laws, measures must be published in Canada Gazette — the official “journal” of the government — before they become binding and serve as public notice to Canadians about newly enacted laws and legislation.

From there, the government must present the emergency decrees to the House and Senate within two days and put them to a vote in both chambers within seven days.

Justice Minister David Lametti said the orders will be presented to the House and Senate late Thursday.

The date on which these debates will take place is not yet known, as the House of Commons is not sitting next week.

“We will move quickly to start the debate,” Lametti said.

“Canadians expect and deserve nothing less.

— With additional reporting from The Canadian Press

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