Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s decision to invoke the Emergencies Act passed a vital vote in the House of Commons on Monday thanks to the parliamentary support of Jagmeet Singh and the New Democratic Party (NDP).
185 MPs voted in favour of the act with 151 against.
The NDP sided with the Liberals in passing the motion, while the Conservatives and the Bloc Quebecois opposed it.
The Trudeau government invoked the act on Feb. 14, immediately granting itself unprecedented powers. However, the government needed to seek approval from the House of Commons within seven days in order to extend its use for at least another four weeks.
Had the vote had failed, the emergency declaration would have been revoked immediately. As a confidence vote, it would also likely have triggered a federal election.
The passing of the motion in the House of Commons will keep the emergency measures in place until mid-March at the latest. The Senate must also vote on the government’s request, although this will serve more as a formality.
Immediately after the vote, interim Conservative leader Candice Bergen attempted to enter a motion recalling the use of the Emergencies Act.
Her motion was ruled out of order.
“We will continue to fight this power grab by the Prime Minister and his government,” Bergen said in a statement following the vote.
“That’s why immediately following the vote, Conservatives gave notice of a motion to revoke the Prime Minister’s emergency. Liberal and NDP MPs will need to explain to Canadians why they are continuing to enforce a national state of emergency that gives the federal government far-reaching powers and authority.”
Since the act was invoked last Monday, supporters of the Freedom Convoy have had their bank accounts frozen, while police in Ottawa brutally cracked down on protesters over the weekend. All border blockades, including those in B.C., Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario, had already been cleared before or shortly after Feb. 14.
Trudeau is the first Prime Minister in Canadian history to invoke the Emergencies Act since it was created as a successor to the War Measures Act in 1988.
Earlier on Monday, Trudeau justified invoking the act and urged other MPs to support its continued use.
“Invoking the Emergencies Act has been necessary. Law enforcement agencies relied on it to set up secured areas in downtown Ottawa and at border crossings,” said Trudeau.
“It prevented foreign money from continuing to fund illegal blockades, and it’s making sure our borders remain open. It has been the responsible thing to do.”
Moments after the motion passed, MPs voted to adjourn Parliament until Feb. 28 – in the middle of a so-called national emergency.