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Canada: PM Trudeau urges Covid protesters to go home, vows to end blockades

He warned demonstrators of 'an increasingly robust police intervention' if the 'unlawful activity' does not end


Published: Sat 12 Feb 2022, 7:38 AM

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday urged all protesters to go home, saying "everything is on the table" when it comes to ending the blockades paralyzing cross-border trade at multiple locations.

"This unlawful activity has to end, and it will end," Trudeau said. "We hope these people will decide to go home. Otherwise, there will be an increasingly robust police intervention."

Trudeau said that police and all levels of government are preparing to take action against the demonstrators behind the blockades in Ottawa, Windsor and elsewhere. Federal, provincial and municipal officials have been clear over recent days: the blockades and activities of the convoy are "illegal" and "unlawful," and must end.

Trudeau said the protesters must stand down or face severe "consequences" for any illegal activities - consequences that include the possibility of criminal charges and steep financial penalties. He said the federal government will no longer tolerate activists who "take the economy hostage" and bring life to a standstill in the nation's capital.

Authorities are prepared to hit protesters where it hurts the most by suspending commercial trucking licenses and pursuing charges that could result in jail time, Trudeau said, warning that criminal sanctions could be leveled that would stop the protesters from ever traveling internationally again.

Trudeau said he spoke by phone with US President Joe Biden earlier Friday. They discussed the blockade at Windsor's Ambassador Bridge in particular - a protest that has cut off the flow of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of goods over the last five days.


"The border cannot and will not remain closed," he said, describing the decision earlier in the day by Ontario Premier Doug Ford to declare a state of emergency as "responsible and necessary."

Ford declared a state of emergency, saying he will use legal measures to enact orders, making it "crystal clear" that it is illegal and punishable to block and impede the movement of goods, people and services along critical infrastructure. That includes protecting international border crossings, 400-series highways, airports, ports, bridges and railways. Fines for non-compliance will be up to 100,000 Canadian dollars and up to a year imprisonment.

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