As part of a bid to put an end to the “Freedom Convoy” protests, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act for the first time effectively granting law enforcement extraordinary powers. The protests have spread from the country’s western prairies to its economic center in the east and have affected cities from its prairies to its financial center.
With the enactment of the broad, temporary legislation, the Canadian leader has delivered his most aggressive reaction to protesters since they began at the end of January. “We will not allow unlawful and hazardous acts to continue,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during a press briefing Monday.
In response to COVID-19 vaccine mandates for truckers, a group of truckers journeyed from Canada’s west coast to the nation’s capital of Ottawa, launching Canada’s “Freedom Convoy.” The protest has gained momentum in recent weeks as regular Canadians fed up with pandemic restrictions some of whom believe the mandates have lost their jobs and have had a negative impact on their families have joined forces. Truckers shut down bridges and border crossings, causing a loss of half a billion dollars in daily trade with the United States due to their actions.
Meanwhile, protestors have paralyzed Ottawa, prompting the city’s mayor to proclaim a state of emergency in the capital. A significant source of contention for the “Freedom Convoy” demonstrators is Canada’s new law forcing truckers to either be fully vaccinated or risk a two-week quarantine when crossing the Canadian-US border. Thousands of additional Canadians have joined the protest, including some who are fully vaccinated but who want all Covid-19 preventative measures to be scrapped altogether.
Quebec A Mind of Its Own
Quebec in many aspects, French is based on the French spoken in Paris during the 17th and 18th centuries. As a result, the language retains many old French verbs, vocabulary, and communication methods. Confirmation bias is a skill that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau possesses. Confirmation bias is formulating a belief and then selectively searching for or inventing data to support it.
However, if one adopts the definition given by H.L. Mencken (among others) of a “country” as “a people who share a common misunderstanding as to their beginnings and a common animosity against their neighbor,” he may have been on to something. As a result, the prime minister supports Quebec’s aim to amend the Constitution to declare itself a nation-state unilaterally. This is fantastic news for a couple of reasons.
First and foremost, Quebec will wish to be regarded as a proud and self-sufficient nation, and as a result, there will be no need to furnish it with any additional equalization funds. Second, Quebecers will no longer elect their 78 members to the House of Commons, nor will they hold 24 seats in the Senate, resulting in annual savings of millions of dollars for the Canadian taxpayers
The government of Quebec said that it would eliminate the requirement for immunization passports in all public venues by March 14. At a press conference, Health Minister Christian Dubé explained the decision, stating that the COVID-19 situation in the province has improved to the point that the measure can be gradually relaxed. Quebecers will no longer be required to produce a vaccine passport to access liquor and cannabis stores, as well as bigger retail establishments, as of Wednesday.
According to the Department of February 21, passports will no longer be required at places of worship or funerals. Beginning on March 14, the passport will be phased entirely away, including restaurants, gyms, theaters, and long-term care facilities. According to Dubé, the adjustment will be in conjunction with introducing the first COVID-specific antiviral medications in the province. As mandated by the federal government, proof of immunization will continue to be required for domestic train and plane travel within Canada. In addition, masks will continue to be mandatory in all public interior locations throughout the province.
British Columbia to Keep the Passport Mandate
British Columbia will maintain its vaccine passport at least until the middle of March, making it the only province outside of the Maritimes to have no immediate plans to lift the restriction on certain activities being restricted to those who can prove they have received two doses of a particular vaccine. On Tuesday, the province of British Columbia stated that it would eliminate capacity restrictions in restaurants, bars, movie theaters, and other gatherings such as weddings and funerals. Nonetheless, the masking and vaccination restrictions will continue to be in effect until they are reassessed on March 15. It is scheduled to conduct a second policy review on April 12. On February 14, Trudeau called an emergency measure that had never been used before, granting his administration broad authority to disperse the activists. On Friday, police began arresting people who had taken part in the barricade that has paralyzed downtown Ottawa for several days.
However, while the demonstration – which some Ottawa citizens referred to as an “occupation” and which officials at all levels of government denounced as unconstitutional – has come to an end, the concerns that fueled it are unlikely to be resolved anytime soon. The first vaccination passport was introduced by the province of Quebec on September 1, 2021, with proof of immunization required for a variety of indoor activities after that date. Besides being the first state to implement a vaccine passport, Quebec has the strictest vaccine passport requirements in the country. Most provinces and territories have passports valid for dining establishments, bars, cultural and sporting facilities, and some non-essential retail stores in limited quantities. Nonetheless, Quebec was the only province to require it in large-scale retail establishments such as Canadian Tire, Walmart, and Costco. Fortunately, this restriction was only in place for a short time since Quebec announced on February 15 that vaccine passports would no longer be necessary for big-box stores and local booze and cannabis businesses.
Between now and then, the Liberal government claims that food shortages caused by vaccine mandates which restrict unvaccinated truck drivers from crossing the Canada-US border without being stopped are nothing more than a misunderstanding. Amid questions about possible links between vaccine mandates and food shortages during a press conference in Ottawa on Wednesday afternoon, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded that nearly 90 percent of truck drivers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and accused the Conservatives of spreading fear and misinformation on social media.
“The issue of truckers being required to get vaccinated is causing some delays, particularly in the delivery of fruit and vegetables from California,” Sands explained. “Grocers in Central Canada are largely reporting delays of a few weeks, but shortages appear to be more severe in the Western provinces.” As a result, according to Sands, grocers are reporting that they are short over 40% of their regular stock of a range of products in some situations. He added that some grocers in the West, particularly in the Pacific Northwest, are reporting that the supply situation is similar to that which existed during the spring of 2020.
When looking to purchase a used vehicle in preparation for a summer road trip, Canadian car consumers may expect two things: fewer selections and higher prices. A global shortage of semiconductors, a small but critical computer component used in new vehicles, has caused production to be halted for several months due to a supply constraint. Consequently, the car industry in North America has been thrown into disarray, resulting in long wait periods for new automobiles as well as an increase in the demand for and price of previously owned vehicles. According to industry experts, the situation in Canada is projected to deteriorate in the coming weeks as the economy reopens and previously unmet demand as a result of repeated lockdowns reaches the market.
As James Hancock, director of business development for Canadian Black Book, an automotive data analytics company, points out, “the impact of the shortage has been slightly muted in Canada so far this year, primarily due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions,” the shortage has had a limited impact so far this year. According to him, the number of new cars on the market in Canada is currently down by roughly 20%. However, as the country returns to normal operations, it is projected that the shortfall will intensify. Canada’s predicament is aggravated by the export of second-hand autos to the United States of America.