As trucker protests spread across the Canada-US border, the Canadian government has announced sweeping measures against them while rejecting their legitimacy with Trudeau saying that “this is not a peaceful protest,” and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland labelling them, “illegal blockades.”
A dozen individuals were arrested in Alberta, a province in Western Canada, with what authorities labelled a weapons cache and a “willingness to use force.”
The main crossings in Alberta and in Manitoba were both closed, blocked by semi-trailers and farm equipment. Despite the smaller populations in those provinces, those crossing represent the the second and third-busiest terminals for freight traffic between the US and Western Canada.
In Ontario, the home of Ottawa, Canada’s capital and the focal point of the protests, last week, laws were introduced that allowed for one year of imprisonment and 100,000 dollars in fines for obstructing roads.
The federal emergency laws go even further, banning public assembly in specific locations, allowing the requisition property for police and RCMP responses, and allowing banks to freeze accounts without court orders.
These moves are aimed at criminalizing protest occupations, and increasing the resources at the disposal of police, while cutting off the financial resources of protestors.