On February 11, when announcing his government’s intent to declare a provincial state of emergency to “make it illegal and punishable to block and impede the movement of goods, people and services along critical infrastructure,” and giving examples of what this would entail, Premier Doug Ford stated: “While these emergency orders will be temporary, we have every intention to bring new legislation forward that will make these measures permanent in law. We are taking the steps necessary to support our police as they do what it takes to restore law and order.”
Ford was the one premier who subsequently expressed unreserved support for Prime Minister Trudeau’s February 14 announcement that his government was invoking the federal Emergencies Act.
Ford’s February 11 statement that his government intended to make its temporary emergency measures permanent in law was applauded by the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA), which issued its own statement the same day:
“The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) strongly supports the Government of Ontario’s leadership in declaring a state of emergency to end the illegal seizure by protestors of critical trade infrastructure like international border crossings in the province.
“Law enforcement will soon have new powers to fine the occupiers of critical infrastructure up to $100,000. Violators can face one year’s jail time and have their commercial and personal licenses/plates suspended or revoked.
“OTA does not expect many Class A commercial licenses/plates will be seized at the Ambassador Bridge as there reportedly are very few heavy commercial trucks participating in the illegal blockade.
“‘The trucking industry applauds Premier Ford’s action to implement measures that make it very clear what the consequences are for blocking and impeding the movement of goods, people and services along critical infrastructure in the province of Ontario,’ said OTA President Stephen Laskowski. ‘OTA will also be working with the Government of Ontario to permanently enshrine such measures in legislation so these illegal acts can be dealt with in the future without having to declare emergency measures.’
“Critical infrastructure addressed in the emergency measures, along with future legislation, is expected to include international border crossings, 400-series highways, airports, ports, bridges and railways. It will also include protecting the safe and essential movement of ambulatory and medical services, public transit, municipal and provincial roadways, as well as pedestrian walkways.”
OTA President Stephen Laskowski is also president of the Canadian Trucking Alliance , which on February 14 applauded the Trudeau government’s invocation of the Emergencies Act:
“The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) applauds the Government of Canada’s use of the Emergencies Act to help end the blockades and make it very clear what the consequences are for blocking and impeding the movement of goods, people, and services along critical infrastructure (ports of entry) in Canada from a federal perspective.”
1. The Canadian Trucking Alliance is a federation of provincial trucking associations representing “a broad cross-section of the trucking industry — some 4,500 carriers, owner-operators and industry suppliers.”
(Renewal Update, posted February 15, 2022)