With Prime Minister Justin Trudeau revoking the Emergencies Act two days after he insisted on keeping it, some politicians are asking what exactly was going on in his head and behind the scenes.
Conservative interim leader Candice Bergen said the decision proves that Trudeau knew all along that it was wrong to implement the never-before-used legislation.
“Trudeau introduced it in the first place for his personal political gain,” said Bergen in a statement on Wednesday. “He revoked it now for the very same reason.”
Bergen said that Trudeau knows he is losing support, adding that Canadians “want and deserve answers on why the prime minister invoked this sledgehammer in the first place that has had a direct impact on their lives.”
“Conservatives will demand answers,” she said. “The most important question that needs to be answered now is when will this Liberal government put forward a plan to end the unscientific mandates and restrictions.”
Alberta premier Jason Kenney, who is challenging Trudeau’s invocation of the act in court, said there was never an emergency requiring extra powers.
“What a humiliation for those who were defending the indefensible five minutes ago,” said Kenney. “Alberta intends to proceed with an application for judicial review of the (Emergencies Act) invocation to address this abuse of power.”
According to Kenney, Canadians whose rights had been violated and provinces whose jurisdiction had been intruded upon through the act “must have their day in court.”
The judiciary, he said, has to establish limits on enacting an emergency declaration.
Independent Ontario MPP Roman Baber had sent a letter and a petition with 86,000 signatures to the Senate on Tuesday, asking senators to vote against the Emergencies Act.
“Canada’s first prime minister, John A. Macdonald, described the Senate as a body of ‘sober second thought,’” he said. “Canadians are counting on you to exercise the same.”
Once Trudeau had revoked the Emergencies Act, Baber suggested like others that it was because the prime minister risked being embarrassed if the Senate refused to pass the motion after the House of Commons supported it.
“Is it because @JustinTrudeau doesn’t have the votes in the Senate?” said Baber in a tweet. “A big thank you to the 86,000 Canadians who signed our petition to the Senate!”
While Ontario premier Doug Ford openly endorsed Trudeau’s implementation of the Emergencies Act, Baber said that what was going on did not meet the definition of an emergency under the Emergencies Act because the lives, health and safety of Canadians were not endangered.
Trudeau announced on Wednesday that he would be lifting the emergency declaration. He did so 10 days after he invoked the act to crush the trucker protests in Ottawa, and less than two days after the Liberals and NDP had voted to keep it going for up to four more weeks.
Trudeau told a press conference that invoking the act had been “the responsible and necessary thing to do.”