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Thursday, August 18, 2022

Canada protests calm, but may resonate in politics

TORONTO ( Associated Press) – The streets around Canada’s parliament are now silent. As Ottawa protesters vowed never to give up, they went massive, followed by police in riot gear. The relentless sound of the truck horns has become silent.

But the trucker’s protest, which escalated until he closed a handful of Canada-US border posts And with major parts of the capital closed for weeks, the politics of Canada and perhaps south of the border could resonate for years.

The protests, which were previously aimed at a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for cross-border truck drivers, but also included fury and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s hatred at the extent of COVID-19 restrictions, the spread of disinformation and populism in Canada. and shows simmering. Right Wing Anger.

“I think we’ve started something here,” said Mark Sutter, a 33-year-old protester from Hamilton, Ontario, as police took control of the streets around Parliament. Protesters had essentially occupied those streets for more than three weeks, embarrassing Trudeau and activating Canada’s far right. Sutter believes the protest will divide the country, which he welcomes.

“It’s going to be a huge division in our country,” he said. “I can’t believe this is the end.”

While most analysts doubt the protest will mark a historic watershed in Canadian politics, it has rocked two of Canada’s major parties.

“The protests have given both liberals and conservatives a black eye,” said Nelson Wiseman, a professor of political science at the University of Toronto. Trudeau’s liberals look bad for allowing protesters to unleash weeks of chaos in the capital city, he said, while Conservatives look bad for championing protesters, many of them from the farthest fringes of the right.

“Conservatives need to be careful not to alienate more liberal voters, who are generally not sympathetic to protesters or right-wing populism,” said Daniel Beland, a professor of political science at McGill University in Montreal.

The self-styled independence convoy shook Canada’s reputation for citizenship, prompting convoys in France, New Zealand and the Netherlands and disrupting trade, causing economic damage on both sides of the border. Hundreds of trucks eventually occupied the streets around Parliament, a demonstration that was part protest and part carnival.

Authorities moved swiftly to reopen border checkpoints, but police in Ottawa did nothing for the past few days to issue warnings, even as hundreds and sometimes thousands of protesters stormed the city. Blocked the streets and surrounded Parliament Hill.

The truck drivers ignored warnings that they were at risk of arrest and under new emergency powers enforced by Trudeau their rigs were confiscated and bank accounts were frozen. Truckers parked on the streets in and around Parliament, defying a court order against honking horns.

“It is high time that these illegal and dangerous activities stop,” Trudeau said a few days ago, speaking in parliament a few hundred meters from the protests.

On Friday, authorities launched the largest police operation in Canadian history, arresting a string of Ottawa protesters, and on Saturday stepped up that pressure until the streets in front of Parliament were cleared. Eventually, the police arrested at least 191 people and took away 79 vehicles. Many protesters withdrew as pressure mounted.

The Ottawa protests – the last major stronghold of the movement – were largely over by Sunday. The fence and police posts remained.

“The number of unlawful protesters has dropped dramatically over the past 24 hours,” said Steve Bell, Ottawa’s interim police chief.

Officials also said that 206 bank accounts were frozen under the power given by the Federal Emergency Act.

Public Security Minister Marco Mendicino said progress had been made but the end of the blockade could not be the end. He said the targeted measures in the emergency act allowed police to police a wide area of ​​Ottawa’s downtown core to become a no-go zone and that tool alone has been extremely effective.

“For the first time in three weeks the roads are quiet, they are calm and they are clean. It all happened after the call for emergency act,” Mendicino said in an interview with The Associated Press. “We won’t use it for more than a minute.”

Mendicino said those who refused to leave would have their financial accounts frozen while the act is in force, but added that it was up to the police to decide whose accounts were frozen. The powers are already in effect but parliament is expected to confirm the action on Monday.

As in the United States, COVID-19 quickly became a political issue in Canada.

The coronavirus health restrictions became a political fringe for Canada’s far right, which accused Trudeau of authoritarianism. But while the sanctions clearly benefited the People’s Party of Canada, things are more complicated in the Conservative Party.

Only recently have some conservative leaders embraced outright pushback against vaccine mandates and coronavirus restrictions.

Still, the protests could open the door to the kind of populism that former President Donald Trump used to vault himself into the White House.

Pierre Poilievre, who is running to become the next leader of the Conservative Party, encouraged the protesters, saying that voters would support him. But it is not clear whether this will propel him to the top of the party, or if a confrontation between him and Trudeau or the next Liberal Party leader will help or hurt him.

“Poilivre is clearly playing by the populist playbook right now,” Beland said. “If he becomes the conservative leader, the party could effectively move towards Trump-style populism. However, it is not clear whether enough Canadians support this approach to make it attractive beyond the party’s base.”

Protests have been welcomed in the US by Fox News personalities And conservatives like Trump. Millions of dollars have been donated from across the border to the protesters.

Nearly 44 percent of the $10 million in contributions to support the protesters originated from US donors., according to an Associated Press analysis of the leaked donor files. Prominent Republican politicians have praised the protesters.

But experts say US support of Canadian protesters is actually aimed at activating conservative politics in the US, where midterm elections are due. K.

Meanwhile, although the situation in Ottawa seemed to be ending, there were new signs that the protests were not completely over.

The Canadian Border Agency warned on Saturday afternoon that operations at a major truck crossing from western Canada into the United States had been slowed by protesters, advising travelers to find a different route.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Deskhttps://worldnationnews.com/
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