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Maritime politicians don't believe the Emergencies Act is needed in the region


A decision by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to bring in the Emergencies Act has sparked debate across the country.

In the Maritimes, many argue it isn’t necessary, considering provinces in the region already have their own emergency measures in place.

“I don’t think it’s necessary for New Brunswick,” said New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs.

“We put our own act in place. We have put in the measures that have allowed police to do what we’ve needed to do for the demonstrations that we’ve had here and I think it worked very effectively,” he added.

That sentiment is echoed by Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston, who already banned blockades on streets, roads and highways and upped fines to between $3,000 to $10,000 for individuals and between $20,000 to $100,000 for corporations.

“Given the nature of the protests to date in Nova Scotia -- which have generally been peaceful and within the law -- along with our two provincial government directives, which established significant fines to reinforce the message that Nova Scotia will not tolerate blockades. We did not need the federal government to enact the Emergencies Act in Nova Scotia at this time,” said Houston.

The Emergencies Act broadens federal policing powers, enabling bank accounts to be frozen and could prohibit public assemblies, including blockades.

The move has been criticized by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

“Is it really needed or is it that we need more leadership at the law enforcement front from police, from the provinces?” asks Kerri Froc, a constitutional law expert at the University of New Brunswick.

Trudeau has said measures will be geographically targeted, but Froc notes the Emergencies Act could potentially apply to Atlantic Canada, depending on the circumstances.

“Really the Atlantic provinces are not the focus point of this. It’s Ottawa. And it’s Windsor. And it’s getting goods across the border. I don’t think we’ll see the feds here anytime soon,” she said.

A so-called "Freedom Convoy" has made its way through Halifax the past two weekends. A rally was also held in Fredericton over the weekend. 

Halifax Mayor Mike Savage does not believe any new measures will be needed in Halifax.

“You never know what’s coming next but I don’t anticipate that we would need it. We’re working very closely with our provincial government and provincial authorities. We’ve had two demonstrations and so far they’ve come, made their point and left,” Savage said.

Savage believes Halifax Regional Police have handled the situation well.  

“Doing some surveillance, doing some intelligence. Talking with the organizers when they can to figure out what’s going to happen. Recognizing there’s going to be counter-protesters as well,” he added. Top Stories


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