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The latest on protests against COVID-19 measures in Ottawa and beyond

The latest developments on ongoing protests against COVID-19 restrictions and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government, in Ottawa and various locations across Canada. All times eastern: 7:35 p.m.

The latest developments on ongoing protests against COVID-19 restrictions and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government, in Ottawa and various locations across Canada. All times eastern:

7:35 p.m.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association says it does not believe the federal government has met the "high and clear" threshold needed to invoke the Emergencies Act.

Noa Mendelsohn Aviv, executive director of the association, says the law says it can only be invoked when a situation cannot be dealt with using any other law in the country.

She says governments deal with tough situations all the time, using powers they have through democratically elected representatives.

She warns against normalizing emergency legislation, which she says "threatens our democracy and our civil liberties."


6:40 p.m. 

Conservative interim leader Candice Bergen says she will be taking a look at the Emergencies Act invoked Monday by the federal government. 

She blamed the ongoing blockade of Parliament Hill and different border crossings on the divisive language she says Trudeau has used throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Many Conservative MPs, including Bergen, supported protesters who travelled to Ottawa more than three weeks ago. Many of them have not left.

Bergen says Conservatives are the party of law and order and want the blockades to be removed and people to protest peacefully.


6:25 p.m.

The premier of Prince Edward Island says he told his fellow premiers and the prime minister that the Emergencies Act wasn’t required at this time for his province, but that he respects the decision to provide further assistance to provinces requiring it.

Dennis King issued a statement about discussions Justin Trudeau held earlier today with premiers, before he announced the Emergencies Act would be used to bring to an end antigovernment blockades against COVID-19 health measures and vaccine mandates.

King says Islanders who wish to see a rapid end of public health protocols have so far shred their views "democratically and peacefully."

But he says he expressed his concern for his colleagues across the country who face "extreme behaviours, blocked borders, supply chain disruptions and halting our economy unlawfully."

King notes he also told Trudeau and premiers "that our words and actions matter."

He says he believes it's important for all political leaders "to dial down the rhetoric" and "to recognize and try to better understand the issues that divide us."


6:10 p.m.

The City of Ottawa says it is making some of the tow trucks from its transit fleet available as part of the response to the ongoing demonstrations in Ottawa.

The city says it removed OC Transpo decals from the trucks in preparation, as the transit service will not be operating the vehicles.

The tow trucks are being provided on the condition they are operated by drivers with relevant experience and the appropriate licence.


5:50 p.m.

Transparency group Distributed Denial of Secrets says it received information on donors to antigovernment protests after Christian crowdfunding site GiveSendGo was reportedly hacked.

An analysis of the data by The Canadian Press suggests Canadians contributed the largest amount of money to the cause at US$4.31 million, while American donors sent US$3.62 million and British donors gave US$77,000.

Of all donations, more than 39 per cent came from Canada while 56 per cent came from the United States, followed by two per cent from the United Kingdom and the remaining three per cent from more than 100 other countries.

GiveSendGo did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday that were sent by email, Twitter and LinkedIn. The Canadian Press has not independently verified the hack or the leak.


5:30 p.m. 

Word of the government's decision to invoke the Emergencies Act was met with horn blasts and blaring music outside the West Block on Parliament Hill.

A smattering of protesters swayed on sidewalks and in the intersection near the prime minister's Wellington Street office.

Mike Wassilyn, 72, of Toronto, who has spent about 10 days at the protest, says he has no plans to leave.

Seventy-one-year-old Larry Hurren of Guelph says protesters just want their "freedom" and don't want to have a vaccine passport to go on a train or plane.


5:30 p.m.

Federal Conservatives are decrying a vote against what they argue was a reasonable motion asking the federal government for a plan to lift remaining COVID-19 restrictions.

The Tories unveiled the non-binding proposal as part of a regular opposition day motion.

Liberals and New Democrats voted against the motion, while members of the Bloc Québécois joined the Conservatives in the vote this afternoon in the House of Commons.

The final vote was 185 against and 151 in favour.


5:15 p.m.

Labour Minister Seamus O'Regan spoke in St. John's, N.L., today about the ongoing protests in Ottawa.

O'Regan says it’s important to remember that about 3,000 Canadians have died of COVID-19 since the demonstrators first converged on the capital.

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey says he's concerned with the degree to which the protesters have been able to disrupt people’s lives.

He said the protests have given Canada a “black eye” on the world stage and the time has come for participants to pack up and leave. 


4:50 p.m.

The federal government is broadening the scope of anti-money laundering rules to cover crowdfunding sites.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland says such sites are being used to support illegal blockades.

She says they will now be required to report to the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada.

She says the move, to be made permanent, will allow Fintrac to make more information available to police and other enforcement agencies.


4:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he has invoked the Emergencies Act to bring to an end to antigovernment blockades he says are illegal and not about peaceful protest.

Trudeau says the act will be used to protect critical infrastructure such as borders and airports from the blockades, and is creating time-limited powers that do not already exist.

This is the first time the Emergencies Act has been invoked since it came into force in 1988.


4:05 p.m.

Ottawa's medical officer of health says the local public health unit is trying to address how the ongoing demonstrations in the city's core are affecting the health of residents.

In a joint statement with the city's social services manager, Dr. Vera Etches says environmental pollution, noise, racism and safety concerns have negatively impacted peoples' health.

She says residents in need can contact 2-1-1 for information on government and community-based health and social services, including emergency financial assistance and food supports.


3:30 p.m. 

One of the main organizers behind the truckers' protest says they will "hold the line" in the face of the federal government invoking the Emergencies Act. 

Tamara Lich appeared at a news conference Monday afternoon to address reports Trudeau would be bringing down the legislation.

She says protesters are not afraid and called their demonstration on Parliament Hill one of "love and freedom." 

Lich addressed Trudeau directly to say no matter what he does, protesters will "hold the line" and not be going anywhere. 


3:25 p.m.

An Ontario truck driver involved in the protest outside Parliament Hill says he is unfazed by the potential arrival of the Emergencies Act.  

Harold Jonker, 49, says if the legislation passes, it's "useless," because the military will not come in and the tow truck companies are not going to risk losing truckers' business.

He says he doesn't understand what Trudeau is trying to do but it's going to backfire.

Jonker, who says he runs his own trucking company in the Niagara region of Ontario, says he and his wife were in the first truck to arrive at Parliament Hill on Jan. 28 and they are going nowhere. "


3:20 p.m.

MPs on the foreign affairs committee voted down a proposal from the NDP to invited U.S. Ambassador David Cohen to testify about American donations flowing to the protesters in the “Freedom Convoy.”

New Democrat Heather McPherson argued the committee was the place to probe concerns about foreign interference in the protest movement, which she labelled a national emergency that has dragged on due to a lack of leadership.

Liberal Rob Oliphant, who serves as parliamentary secretary to Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly, said it made little sense to summon Cohen since the question of funding wasn’t a state-to-state issue.

Conservatives on the committee agreed and joined the Liberals in a 9-2 vote against calling Cohen.


3:15 p.m. 

Opposition Conservative MP Michael Barrett says there are many questions about whether using the Emergencies Act is truly necessary to deal with the ongoing protests outside Parliament Hill and elsewhere. 

Barrett says Trudeau was slow to act in the first place and now wants to use the "biggest hammer" the federal Liberal government has, which should give Canadians pause. 

The MP say the never-before-used legislation carries many implications for civil liberties. 

Barrett says he wants to know what rationale Trudeau is using to invoke the act and pointed out Ottawa's mayor is still asking for more police resources.


3 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will tell Canadians later today he is invoking the Emergencies Act for the first time as antigovernment blockades continue, according to a source granted anonymity to discuss matters not yet made public.

Trudeau met with his cabinet Sunday and consulted with premiers earlier today about the use of the act.

The act could give the federal government temporary and extraordinary powers to curtail the demonstrations.


2:55 p.m.

B.C. Solicitor General Mike Farnworth says the province supports Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in using the Emergencies Act to deal with protests.

Farnworth made the comment in response to questions today at a news conference in Victoria on online changes to auto insurance policies.

The prime minister spoke with premiers today about possibly using the act, which would give the federal government temporary and extraordinary powers to curtail the demonstrations.

Farnworth says the province is “supportive of this measure he feels he needs to deal with this situation back east.”


2:35 p.m.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says he’ll respect the federal government’s decision if it feels it’s necessary to invoke the Emergencies Act to quell disturbances in other jurisdictions. 

But Kenney says it’s not necessary for Alberta and says invoking it for his province could actually inflame tensions. 

He says Alberta has all the necessary statutory powers and operational capacity for enforcement now that the RCMP has arrested 11 people at the Coutts border crossing, a group which Kenney alleged was a "militant cell." 

He says for the federal government to reach "over top" of the province without offering anything in particular to Alberta would frankly be unhelpful.


2:30 p.m.

Quebec Premier François Legault says he told Prime Minister Justin Trudeau there’s no need for the federal Emergencies Act to apply in the province if it is invoked.

Legault told reporters in Longueuil, Que., that the situation in Ottawa is concerning, describing the impact of the protests on residents and workers in the capital as "unacceptable."

But Legault says police forces in Quebec have shown they are able to control protests against COVID-19 measures, including in Montreal on Saturday.

Legault says that if the Emergencies Act is applied in Quebec it would put “oil on the fire” at a time when he is trying to unite Quebecers.


2:20 p.m.

Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson says she does not think the Emergencies Act should be applied in her province.

She says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke with premiers today about potentially invoking the act and there was a clear consensus that the situation in every province and territory is different.

Stefanson says Winnipeg’s situation is dramatically different from the one in Ottawa and the Emerson border situation is very different than the one faced by Windsor, Ont.

She says the sweeping effects and signals associated with the never-before-used Emergencies Act are not constructive in Manitoba, where caution must be taken against overreach and unintended negative consequences. 


2:15 p.m.

The Mayor of Windsor, Ont., has signed a declaration of emergency to help keep traffic flowing near the Ambassador Bridge.

The mayor has told city council this is a temporary move that will also help prevent protesters from returning to the area.

Police cleared a blockade at the foot of the bridge on Sunday after a week of protests that saw traffic shut down coming into Canada from Detroit.


2:05 p.m.

The Pacific Border crossing near Surrey, B.C., is open, but the Canada Border Services Agency says the highway leading to it remains blocked off by police, forcing travellers and truckers to cross elsewhere.

The Pacific crossing is the main border for truckers in the province, and highway cameras show long lines of commercial trucks at the Aldergrove and Sumas Border crossings further east.

Dave Earle, the president of the B.C. Trucking Association, says the closure is causing an inconvenience, but it's a minor in comparison to the impacts of fires and flooding in the province last year.

Four people were arrested Sunday for mischief at the Pacific Highway protests against COVID-19 mandates.


2:05 p.m.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says he does not support the federal government invoking the Emergencies Act.

He says "the illegal blockades must end," but adds that the police already have what they need "to enforce the law and clear the blockades," as they did at the border crossing in Windsor, Ont.

In a tweet today, Moe says that if the federal government decides to invoke the Emergencies Act, he hopes it will only happen in provinces that asked for it to be done.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau consulted premiers about using the Emergencies Act earlier today, according to a source aware of the planned discussion.


2 p.m.

Some truck drivers say they refuse to move off Ottawa's residential and arterial roads downtown, while other big rigs appear to be ceding to Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson's request to relocate to Wellington Street in front of Parliament Hill.

Dozens of trucks remain parked in major intersections in the core of Ottawa.

Some drivers say they are waiting to see if Parliament votes later today in favour of a Conservative motion that calls on the federal government to provide a plan to lift all federal COVID-19 mandates and restrictions.

They say only then will they decide whether to move, or leave Ottawa entirely.

Others say they do not believe the agreement between Ottawa's mayor and the demonstrator's leadership and have no intention of moving any time soon.


1:45 p.m.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson says the convoy leaders have started to act on their commitment to move several trucks from the residential district south of Wellington Street. 

He says on Twitter this is a "complex multi-day operation" in support of our residents.

Watson announced Sunday he had struck a deal with organizer Tamara Lich to keep the protest to the area immediately surrounding Parliament Hill, although there appeared to be disagreement among the protesters about whether to follow the agreement.

Police vehicles with flashing lights appeared to be escorting several trucks and directing them where to park this afternoon.


1:30 p.m.

The City of Ottawa has obtained an injunction to stop demonstrators from breaking a number of bylaws, including noise violations, setting off fireworks and lighting fires in barrels.

Lawyers for the city told a judge this afternoon that the injunction would give police and bylaw officers an extra tool for enforcement.

The city sought the injunction following the continued breaching of bylaws and the issuing of hundreds of parking tickets to protesters.

Ontario's attorney general intervened in the application to seek the injunction as well.


1 p.m.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says he will support invoking the Emergencies Act if legislation is tabled to quell the demonstrations that have paralyzed Ottawa and several border crossings.

But he says resorting to the Act shows a "failure of leadership" by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Trudeau is speaking with premiers about using the Act, which could allow the federal government to forbid more large trucks from rolling into the gridlocked area around Parliament Hill.

Singh says the NDP will continue to provide scrutiny over the use of the Act, and though he supports action to deal with the protests and disruption they are causing, he does not want to see violence.


12:55 p.m.

RCMP say they have arrested 11 people at the United States border crossing at Coutts, Alta., after becoming aware of a cache of firearms and ammunition.

Demonstrators have been protesting against COVID-19 vaccine mandates for cross-border truck drivers and broader health restrictions.

A blockade of trucks and vehicles has been at the crossing since Jan. 29.

Police say a small organized group within the protest was said to have a "willingness to use force against the police if any attempts were made to disrupt the blockade."

They say officers executed a search warrant early this morning.

Officers have detained the 11 people and seized 13 long guns, handguns, multiple sets of body armour, a machete, a large quantity of ammunition and high-capacity magazines.


12:40 p.m.

Protesters outside Parliament Hill appear to be in a festive mood, even as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks with premiers about using the Emergencies Act to quell the demonstration.

This afternoon a dozen or so protesters danced around waving Canada flags to pop music blasting from speakers, while trucks honked and jerry cans lined Wellington Street. 

There were far fewer people on the streets and sidewalks than previous days of the protest.

Still, some children played with toys set up on the street outside the main entrance to the West Block.


12:35 p.m.

RCMP say investigators are speaking with organizers of a blockade near Emerson today in an attempt to open up a lane of traffic to allow vehicles to cross the Manitoba-U.S. border on both sides.

Access to the Emerson port of entry has been blocked since Thursday morning when protesters parked farm equipment, semi-trailers and other vehicles about two kilometres north of the border.

The protest represents a show of solidarity with similar blockades in Ottawa and across the country calling for an end to COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other pandemic restrictions. 

Mounties estimate there were about 75 vehicles involved in the blockade as of this past weekend.


11:30 a.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is consulting the premiers about using the Emergencies Act as antigovernment blockades continue to paralyze Ottawa and shutter multiple border crossings with the United States.

Trudeau met with his cabinet for an urgent meeting Sunday night and is on a phone call with provincial and territorial premiers today.

A source aware of the planned conversation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, confirms the prime minister is talking to the premiers about using the legislation as the Emergencies Act's criteria requires.

Trudeau also briefed his caucus early this morning in a virtual meeting held two days before the Liberals' regularly scheduled Wednesday gathering.

The Emergencies Act, which replaced the War Measures Act in 1988, allows a government to invoke temporary measures, including barring people from gathering or travelling to certain locations, to protect national security, public order and public welfare.

It has never been used before.


10 a.m.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says there will be serious consequences for the protesters in Ottawa if they remain.

Ford has called the ongoing unrest in downtown Ottawa an illegal occupation.

He recently declared a state of emergency in the province to give police more powers to deal with protesters.

Ford says protesters risk losing their cars and trucks and their driver's licences.


9:45 a.m.

Large trucks and cars are travelling across the Ambassador Bridge border crossing in Windsor, Ont., this morning. 

The bridge linking Windsor and Detroit reopened to traffic last night after a protest against COVID-19 restrictions on the Canadian side blocked the flow of traffic in the area for nearly a week.

Police cruisers are on standby along a stretch of the roadway leading to the bridge entrance in Windsor.

A high school nearby has reopened to students.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 14, 2022.

The Canadian Press