The House of Commons canceled its sitting on Friday to debate the government’s invocation of the Emergencies Act, as police intervened in the protest by truckers in downtown Ottawa, emboldened by the the very measures granted by law.
Due to the police operation still ongoing on and around Wellington Street, MPs have been asked to stay away – a decision supported by all parties.
“We want to remind everyone that safety is paramount. The situation is constantly changing. The continued presence of vehicles and protesters associated with the convoy, alongside police operations, will impact downtown,” read a letter from House Speaker Anthony Rota.
“If you are not within the grounds of the House of Commons, stay away from the city center until further notice. the [Parliamentary Protective Service] advise when it is safe to return to downtown. If you are already in the compound, please remain in the building and await further instructions from the PPS officers.
MPs began debating the law on Thursday, but it has already been enforced and will continue to be enforced for 30 days unless parliamentarians vote to revoke it.
Interim Conservative Leader Candice Bergen tweeted Friday that she is “troubled” and “saddened” by the events unfolding on Parliament Hill, which have led to at least 70 arrests and the towing of 21 vehicles.
“This situation was created by the Prime Minister and his desire to divide Canadians. It is time for MPs to return to the House tomorrow to stop the excesses of this government and restore unity, wholeness and hope to our nation,” she said.
Government House Leader Mark Holland said earlier today that the hope was to resume debate on Saturday, and for it to continue until Monday evening when a vote will be taken.
“Clearly we will be monitoring the security situation to make sure it is safe again not just as I say for MPs, but for those who work in the House of Commons who make sure our session can work. “, he said at a press conference. conference.
Although MPs have the ability to debate virtually, as they have done during the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person staff are needed in the House of Commons to provide services like translation.
“I want to say that this is an incredibly historic and important debate. We will ensure that every MP who wishes to speak has that opportunity and will not allow the pause that has occurred to impact the final result,” Holland said.
The Senate, which was also due to consider the law on Friday, extended its adjournment period until Monday.
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland spoke about the situation in Ottawa, saying it was a day of “real grief” but also of “determination”.
“Sorry because it hurts me that this is happening in Canada. I think that’s painful for a lot of Canadians. I think we’re seeing our body politic really violated by an illegal occupation of our capital, by blockades of our essential trade corridors, so it’s really, really sad,” Freeland said.
“But it’s also a day of determination and it’s a day where I think everyone in our government is very resolute.”
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