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Polling given to the Liberals showed Canadians said Emergencies Act represented significant ‘over-reach’

The invoking of the Emergencies Act police to use extraordinary powers to end the protest was opposed by a majority of Canadians, “most felt this action represented significant over-reach,” pollsters told the Privy Council Office, and many supported the Freedom Convoy.

“Though a small number of participants felt implementing the Emergencies Act was a necessary step given the disturbance caused by the seemingly indefinite nature of the protests, most felt this action represented significant ‘over-reach’ by the federal government as they interpreted this as limiting the right of these Canadians to peaceful protest,” said a pollsters’ report.

According to Blacklock’s Reporter the results were based on federal focus groups conducted across the country between February 2 and February 28 in the midst of the truckers’ demonstration in downtown Ottawa. On February 14, the federal government declared an emergency under the Emergencies Act, and the protests were put an end during the course of intensified police operations the following weekend.

“A significant number identified with the frustration expressed by the protesters regarding ongoing public health measures even if they disagreed with some of the methods,” said the report. “Among participants who were supportive of the protests and their aims, it was felt the protests had been mostly peaceful and that these individuals had the right to express their opinion.”

The report found that while some were hesitant to condone the disruption caused by the protests, most of those participants saw the general aims of the protest as justified.

“A few participants expressed excitement regarding what they perceived as Canadians standing up for their rights and freedoms and were passionate in their support for these protests,” said the report. “A small number also felt media coverage of the protests had been primarily ‘one-sided’ and had unfairly portrayed the protests in a mostly negative light.”

The Liberal government invoked the Emergencies Act on February 14 and revoked it on February 23.

The report also found that few Canadians surveyed supported use of the Emergencies Act. The fact cabinet suspended the Act after nine days in February was seen “as evidence the law should never have been used in the first place,” it said.

In that time, $7.8 million that was kept in 267 bank and credit union accounts as well as 170 bitcoin wallets owned by supporters of the Freedom Convoy was frozen under emergency powers. Funds were frozen under a law against Taliban fundraising from the 9/11 era, The Proceeds Of Crime And Terrorist Financing Act.

Additionally, 230 supporter of the convoy were detained. A total of 119 people were charged with crimes under the Criminal Code, mostly mischief.

“For those who felt the Emergencies Act was a disproportionate response on the part of the federal government, many thought there were other steps that could have been taken prior to invoking this legislation,” said Canadians’ Views.

“Most of these participants believed the protests to be primarily legal and peaceful and did not represent a public order emergency.”

Participants were shaken when they heard reports of protesters having their digital money frozen.

“Some participants were particularly unnerved by the reports of protesters and their supporters having their bank accounts frozen and expressed anxiety at law enforcement being imbued with this power,” said the report. “A few expressed a growing lack of trust in the federal government which they felt was limiting the rights of Canadians to protest in a peaceful manner and were concerned the Emergencies Act could be used routinely going forward to limit public dissent.”

When asked how they felt the Government of Canada should have responded, those opposed to the Emergencies Act said more steps should have been taken by federal officials to open up a dialogue.

“A small number of these participants felt that rather than denouncing the protests the federal government should have listened to them.”

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Jordan is a casual reporter for BC Rise


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