“The majority of Canadian citizens have understood the necessity of pulling together to keep the most vulnerable of us as safe as possible during this pandemic. … We followed the advice of our scientific and medical communities and have done whatever was necessary during this difficult time.“ – Vance Badawey, federal Liberal Party representative for the Riding of Niagara Centre
A Statement from Niagara Centre Liberal MP Vance Badawey
Posted February 17th, 2022 on Niagara At Large
As events progress over the coming days and many voices debate the actions of protestors, smaller groups intent on damaging our democracy, and the decisions of your elected officials, Canadians can be assured their government is doing everything in its power to bring the current disruption in our lives to a safe and peaceful conclusion.
We have supported the right to protest and heard the voices of those who have not agreed with the decisions of the vast majority of Canadians about the importance of vaccinations and the use of mandates to protect our most vulnerable citizens.
Unfortunately, we believe this protest has evolved into an illegal action, violating our laws and causing harm to our economy and to the right to a peaceful, lawful existence by the rest of the population.
We cannot turn a blind eye to the recent attempt on a police officer’s life in British Colombia, or the attempt to run down another officer in Alberta, or the reality that 11 people were arrested with body armour, long rifles, handguns and several thousands of rounds of ammunition at the Alberta demonstration, or the attempted closure of the Peace Bridge here in the Niagara Region.
This escalation must end.
On Monday (February 14th), the federal government announced we were invoking the Emergencies Act to supplement Provincial and Territorial authorities to address the blockades and occupations across the country to keep Canadians safe, protect people’s jobs, and restore confidence in our institutions.
For more than three weeks now, blockades have been illegally disrupting the lives of Canadians, harming our economy, and endangering public safety. It has become clear there are serious challenges to local law enforcements’ ability to effectively enforce the law.
Through the Emergencies Act, we are providing new authorities to law enforcement to regulate crowds, prohibit blockades and keep essential corridors open.
The Emergencies Act allows the government to mobilize essential services, such as tow trucks, allows the RCMP to act more swiftly to enforce local laws, and provides enhanced power to stop the flow of money to illegal blockades
The Emergencies Act does not involve the military – that is under the National Defence Act which is not what we’ve invoked.
The specific measures provided via the Emergencies Act are limited, subject to numerous checks and safeguards through Parliament, and must be compliant with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
We have tabled the declaration in Parliament, as required, within seven sitting days and are now debating its merits. Our government is conscious of the need for transparency and Parliamentary oversight as we undertake this action and will provide Parliament timely information so that it can perform its oversight role.
The declaration only lasts for 30 days, unless renewed. However, we can – and sincerely hope to – revoke the state of emergency much sooner. Parliament also has the ability to revoke the declaration of the emergency, as set out clearly in the Act.
The majority of Canadian citizens have understood the necessity of pulling together to keep the most vulnerable of us as safe as possible during this pandemic.
We followed the advice of our scientific and medical communities and have done whatever was necessary during this difficult time.
We understood that these measures have been temporary and that by working together, by getting vaccinated and caring for each other, we would shorten the time when our lives would return to normal.
To be clear: We all want restrictions to end.
Every action we have taken has been in an effort to reopen our economy, and for the country to safely emerge from this pandemic as soon as possible.
I applaud those who have overcome their hesitancy and have recognized the importance of getting vaccinated. You have made your families, friends and neighbours safer. It’s never too late to join the fight against COVID-19.
The Omicron variant slowed our recovery when it arrived in the late fall of 2021, but with 90 percent of Canadians already vaccinated, its impact has been stunted, and only a few months later, we are able to again contemplate removing restrictions. Even those who have become infected are much less likely to end up in hospital because of protections they’ve gained from vaccinations. Those who received boosters have enjoyed an even higher level of protection.
I continue to feel pride in the actions of those who stood tall during a time of crisis, who continued to do what was necessary to keep their fellow citizens safe, who went to work when it was dangerous to do so, who put their lives on the line to care for those who could no longer breathe.
This has been a time of heroes and we will never forget their efforts and sacrifices.
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