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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau defended his decision to invoke never-before-used emergency powers to handle the large trucker protests that gridlocked the capital and blocked key crossings earlier this year, the BBC reported.
Trudeau told officials at a hearing by the Public Order Emergency Commission, which is investigating whether the Canadian government’s use of the Emergencies Act was justifiable, that the situation warranted extraordinary measures between Feb. 14 and 23 because of the threat of violence. He added that he didn’t believe police had a proper plan to end the protests.
The emergency powers allowed authorities to ban public assemblies, restrict travel to protest zones and freeze bank accounts, among other measures.
The “Freedom Convoy” protests across Canada blocked important border crossings between the US and Canada, as well as disrupted traffic in Ottawa. The protests were aimed at Canada’s Covid-19 vaccine mandates and other restrictions.
Critics, meanwhile, said Trudeau’s use of the Emergencies Act was an overreach of government power and could set a precedent for its use to quell future protests.
The commission also heard testimony from other witnesses, including government ministers, intelligence officials and protesters.
The law requires an impartial investigation following the implementation of the act, with a final report expected in February.