Protestors gather along Wellington Street as a protest against COVID-19 restrictions that has been marked by gridlock and the sound of truck horns reaches its 14th day, in Ottawa, Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nick Iwanyshyn

Protestors gather along Wellington Street as a protest against COVID-19 restrictions that has been marked by gridlock and the sound of truck horns reaches its 14th day, in Ottawa, Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nick Iwanyshyn

Red Deer MP calls Emergencies Act ‘government overreach’

Liberals should have talked to protesters

The portrayal of protesters in Ottawa hasn’t always been accurate, but it’s also time for protesters to leave, says Red Deer Conservative MP Earl Dreeshen.

“The first couple of days there were certainly some very inappropriate flags and some actions that the convoy organizers put a stop to very quickly,” Dreeshen said from Ottawa.

He said government should have been out talking to protesters.

“Dispute resolution means actually talking to people. I think had they done that, they would have done things much differently. Instead, it was more confrontational approach. The people who are here on the hill just wanted their message to be heard.

“It’s time for them to move on. The message certainly was heard.”

However, invoking the Emergencies Act on Monday was government overreach, he said.

“Any other issues, the border issues, they’ve all been resolved using the tools that the provinces have available. That could be done here as well. But it seems to have escalated into something that the Liberals are using as a wedge.”

Liberals have been using a divide and conquer approach for over two years, Dreeshen said.

“(Conservatives) believe in law and order, but we also believe you have to talk to people and you can’t just sit back and try and pit one group against another.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the act on Monday to bring to an end the antigovernment blockades he described as illegal and not about peaceful protest.

The government will use the act to force towing companies to remove big rigs and other vehicles that are blocking highways and other critical infrastructure, establish zones where public assembly is not allowed, and require banks to suspend or freeze accounts suspected of supporting the blockades, including those belonging to companies whose trucks are part of the convoy.

Related:

Members of Ottawa blockade dismiss use of Emergencies Act as ‘scare tactic’

Blockades are not allowed on Parliament Hill and surrounding streets, official residences, war monuments, airports, harbours, border crossings, piers, lighthouses, canals, interprovincial and international bridges, hospitals and COVID-19 vaccine clinics, trade corridors and infrastructure needed for the supply of utilities including power generation and transmission.

Bringing children to the antigovernment blockades, participating in the protests directly, or bringing aid such as food or fuel to those involved could also result in a fine of up to $5,000 or five years in prison.

Related:

Justin Trudeau’s emergency law not the same as the one his father invoked in 1970s

On Monday, the Liberals and New Democrats joined to defeat a Conservative motion, supported by the Bloc Québécois, asking the federal government for a plan by the end of February to lift remaining COVID-19 restrictions.

On Feb. 9, Dreeshen posted a Facebook video calling on the Liberals to end vaccine mandates.

“We must not let these mandates become normalized and we must not let the divisive and dismissive tone of Justin Trudeau to continue to stigmatize Canadians,” he said in the video.

— with files from THE CANADIAN PRESS



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

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