Surrey Liberal MPs are defending the federal government’s invocation of the Emergencies Act as protests related to the pandemic continue in Ottawa, Surrey and elsewhere.
Ken Hardie, MP for Fleetwood-Port Kells, and Randeep Sarai, MP for Surrey-Newton, have risen to speak in the House of Commons and Sukh Dhaliwal, MP for Surrey-Newton, is expected to do so on Monday. The Now-Leader also reached out to John Aldag, MP for Cloverdale-Langley City, for comment.
Sarai said in his speech to the House that Ottawa is no longer dealing with a protest but rather “an occupation that threatened to overthrow a democratically elected government.”
“These are temporary, proportionate and targeted measures,” he said of the invocation of the Emergencies Act.
The Emergencies Act, he noted, does not have the teeth of the National Defence Act.
“The Emergencies Act is limited in scope compared to the War Measures Act of the past,” he noted. “The act does not involve the military. For the military to be involved the National Defence Act would need to be invoked – this has not happened. I think we also need to make very clear that no individual Charter rights are being violated. In fact, the Emergencies Act must comply with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”
As far as the “illegal occupation” in Ottawa is concerned, Sarai told the House, “Many seem to be enjoying themselves. Pancake breakfasts, hot tubs, dance parties in the streets and bouncy castles. Contrary to the narrative driven by supporters though, this has not been a peaceful experience for residents, businesses and employees in Ottawa.
“The lack of empathy towards residents and businesses in Ottawa is shocking and unacceptable.”
Political unrest in Canada is gaining international attention, examples of which being recent Washington Post headlines like “Canada turns authoritarian to shut down the ‘Freedom Convoy” and “Justin Trudeau’s move to end the trucker protest was risky but correct.”
Hardie told the House that “the majority of Canadians will be looking for justified, careful and measured opposition…offered in the interests of doing what is best for the country. Because that’s our government’s agenda.”
On Friday he quoted to the Now-Leader a comment “that fights this situation quite well,” attributed to the Roman philosopher Cicero: “He said when people speak ill of you, live so that none would believe them.”
“So far and hopefully all the way through there’s been no bloodshed,” Hardie noted. “We’re dealing with a swamp of opinion.”
“It is extremely sad that it has got to this point.”
Dhaliwal said Friday said not only are the occupations hurting Canada’s economy, “they’re hurting our reputation in the international world.”
Meantime, Premier John Horgan issued a press statement Friday on violence at a Coastal GasLink (CGL) work site near Houston B.C. this week.
“Intimidation and violence should be condemned by all British Columbians,” he said.
Hardie weighed in on that situation as well.
“That looks like terrorism to me and that needs to be dealt with even more harshly because you’re dealing with massive destruction of property, and threats, violence, the whole nine yards,” Hardie said.
Surrey RCMP Cpl. Vanessa Munn, meantime, said the RCMP is “monitoring the situation” in Surrey “as well as ensuring access remains to border crossings and remains open to commercial vehicle traffic.
“We have contingency plans in place should an additional convoy come to our area,” Munn said Friday. “We have contingency plans in place for the many different situations that could potentially transpire this weekend. There have been 16 arrests total – four occurred on Sunday and an additional 12 occurred on Monday night.”
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