Trudeau Mulls Emergency Act as Blockades Continue at Key Western Border Crossings

Truck Blockades at Coutts, AB and Emerson, MB - Feb 14 (Screencaps from CTV News)

Trade Update • FEBRUARY 14, 2021

While the Ambassador Bridge reopened to traffic this morning, other key border crossings at Coutts, AB and Emerson, MB, and Pacific Highway, B.C. remain blocked by protesters.


Now into its second-week, the blockade at the Canada-U.S. border crossing near Coutts, Alberta continues with traffic stopped entirely and CBSA operations at the commercial entry port temporarily closed for the past several days.

Encouraged by federal and provincial officials to step up law enforcement efforts at the blockade, CBC News reports that RCMP officers have issued more than fifty tickets, mainly citing traffic safety violations, in the last 24 hours.

Even so, both directions to the Canada-U.S. border remain blockaded by defiant protesters who say they are “ready to go to jail” for the sake of their cause. A secondary, illegal protest a few kilometres north, near Milk River, Alta. on Highway 4 is also ongoing.

Also this morning, the RCMP say they have arrested a “small organized group” at the blockade that “had access to a cache of firearms with a large quantity of ammunition.” According to the RCMP, the alleged militants were “said to have a willingness to use force against the police if any attempts were made to disrupt the blockade.”


Protesters in about 50 semi-trailer trucks, farm equipment and other vehicles continued blocking all highway lanes at Manitoba’s main Canada-U.S. border crossing over the weekend.

According to an RCMP release, all four lanes of Highway 75 at Provincial Road 200 remain blocked. Police are advising motorists to expect substantial delays and to avoid the Emerson area. The local weather is also extremely poor with officers reporting blizzard conditions.

The RCMP says it is working with the protesters and organizers to reach a peaceful resolution to the blockade. No tickets have been issued, and nobody has been arrested.

Pacific Highway-Blaine

The main route to the Pacific Highway border crossing in Surrey, B.C. remained closed Sunday after four protesters opposed to vaccine mandates and other COVID-19 measures were arrested. Commercial traffic was redirected by the Canada Border Services Agency throughout the weekend to the nearby ports of Aldergrove or Abbotsford-Huntington.

As of Monday morning, the RCMP said that enforcement action is continuing and “officers are engaged with protesters in the area.” Access to Pacific Highway remains blocked to all but local traffic and trucks are still being diverted to alternate border crossings.

Trudeau to Invoke Emergencies Act

Press reports citing unnamed sources say that Prime Minister Trudeau has advised his caucus that intends to invoke the never-before-used Emergencies Act to give the federal government extra powers to handle anti-vaccine mandate protests.

The Emergencies Act, which replaced the War Measures Act in the 1980s, defines a national emergency as a temporary “urgent and critical situation” that “seriously endangers the lives, health or safety of Canadians and is of such proportions or nature as to exceed the capacity or authority of a province to deal with it.”

Trudeau is expected to announce his decision during a news conference later this afternoon.


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