Yesterday, Justin Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act, which significantly escalates the role of the federal government in dealing with the far right extremist occupations of Ottawa and various border spots. Will this make a difference? Well, the various tools that were brandished yesterday suggest so. The threat of anti-terrorism financial tools potentially destroying the organizers' ability to, well, function in the economy could make a big difference. Indeed, this is quite a hammer... but is it necessary?
The challenge that many are leveling against Trudeau and the federal government (after two weeks of so many folks asking for leadership and MOAR!) is that there are plenty of tools at the provincial level. The provinces could have yanked the certifications of the trucks, their licenses, and all that kind of stuff to greatly increase the costs of participating in this stuff. But they chose not to do so.
The big difference between the federal level and several of the provinces is not the legal stuff but the political stuff. Trudeau does not have to worry about alienating his right flank with these decisions. Doug Ford (Ontario), Jason Kenney (Alberta), and Scott Moe (Saskatchewan) all are Conservative party folks (in Canada, the provincial parties have more distance from the national ones) who have to worry about alienating the far right folks in their party, not unlike how those in the GOP have had to worry about their far right folks. Ford has had plenty of opportunity to do more to clear out Ottawa of these extremists, but has chosen not to do so. He only get some semi-serious about the Windsor blockade since it threatened to choke off much of the car industry in Ontario. But Ottawa, he does not really care that much about--he resides in Toronto and his base is in Toronto.
Not only have these Conservatives refused to penalize the extremists but they have sought to appease them by reducing restrictions as quickly as possible. (Here's my poll re the biggest appeasers in Canada). To be fair to Ford, his pattern has always been to tighten restrictions late and reduce them too soon. Testing has completely fallen apart, so it is not clear what data is being used to justify the elimination of vax requirements. Certainly not whether the hospitals are under stress or not (hint: they are still under great stress).
Anyhow, I am not sure that the crisis meets the threshold for the Emegencies Act (I don't play a lawyer on TV), but I can easily understand why the feds could drop the hammer more so than the provincial leaders. But then the hammer is likely to be much heavier with more consequences (good and bad). We shall see if this leads to better police coordination given that the city and provincial police authorities have utterly failed Ottawa. It will certainly lead to the organizers of this thing will pay a higher price than they might have expected a week ago. Their ability to get car loans, mortgages, credit cards, bank accounts, and the like may have disappeared overnight. And, no, I don't have much sympathy for the far right. So, sucks to be them right now.
What happens next? We shall see if the feds can deliver, something that has been a mixed bag over the past six years.