Omar Alghabra wants Provinces to cancel licenses of truckers
Federal Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra is asking provinces to use their powers to suspend the commercial licenses or insurance of trucks used in protest convoy blockades by truckers in different parts of Canada.
“The provinces have extensive regulatory powers over commercial trucking and road transportation to help end this unlawful occupation and disruptions of commercial trucks, blockading the streets and highways,” Aghabra said at a press conference on Feb. 7.
Alghabra’s remarks were among other pointed comments made by federal cabinet ministers during the press conference focused on the protests in Ottawa and other parts of Canada against COVID-19 mandates and restrictions.
Bill Blair, minister of emergency preparedness, said the federal government is proposing to convene a “trilateral table” with municipal and provincial governments to deal with the protesters.
The press conference came a day after Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson declared a state of emergency in his city on Feb. 6.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau didn’t attend the press conference.
Trudeau went into isolation after testing positive for COVID-19 on Jan. 31. It has been eight days since then, longer than the five-day required isolation period, but the prime minister hasn’t attended Parliament and hasn’t taken questions from reporters virtually on the developing situation in Ottawa.
In a press conference on Jan. 31, Trudeau strongly denounced the protesters, linking them with racism and hatred and saying he wouldn’t meet with them.
Protest organizers say the protests are peaceful. They say they are willing to meet with government representatives, but no one has contacted them so far.
“The first thing they’ve got to do is call us. … We’re sitting here, we’re waiting by the phone,” protest organizer Benjamin Dichter said in a press conference in Ottawa on Feb. 6.
The protest was started by truckers opposed to COVID-19 vaccination mandates for cross-border travel, but has since evolved into a major movement against all COVID-19 mandates and restrictions. Many protesters say they will remain in Ottawa until the mandates are lifted.