Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will hold a news conference Monday afternoon on crippling protests against Covid health rules now entering a third week in the capital Ottawa and at the US border, his office told AFP.
Facing growing pressure to act, the Canadian leader said Friday that all options “were on the table” for ending the “unlawful” demonstrations that are hurting the nation’s economic recovery.
He was to discuss the situation with premiers across the country, a day after convening a special federal response group on efforts to end the occupation of Ottawa and remaining trucker blockades of border crossings in Alberta and Manitoba.
According to public broadcaster CBC, citing unnamed sources, Trudeau is set to invoke the Emergencies Act to give the government extra powers in a national crisis.
The act has only been used once in peacetime by Justin Trudeau’s father, during the October Crisis of 1970.
The government of Pierre Elliott Trudeau had invoked the War Measures Act — as it was known at the time — to send the army to Quebec and take a series of emergency measures after the Quebec Liberation Front kidnapped a British trade attache and a Quebec minister, Pierre Laporte.
The attache, James Cross, was released after negotiations, but Laporte was found strangled to death in the trunk of a car.
The Canadian “Freedom Convoy” movement started with truckers protesting against mandatory vaccines to cross the border between Canada and the United States.
But its demands now include an end to all Covid-19 health measures and, for many of the protesters, for the toppling of Trudeau’s Liberal government — only five months after he won re-election.
On Sunday, police moved in to clear protesters blocking the Ambassador Bridge — a key trade link between Windsor, Ontario and the US city of Detroit through which 25 percent of all Canada-US traded goods pass.