Ontario might declare a state of emergency to stop the trucker convoy protests
Ontario Premier Doug Ford's office has confirmed that the premier will be making an announcement at 10:30 a.m. this morning, setting the stage for what many believe will be a harsh crackdown on the disruptive trucker convoy "freedom" protests plaguing Ottawa, Windsor and likely soon Toronto.
Truck blockades have now been stationed in the nation's capital for nearly two weeks following a cross-convoy in protest of federal vaccine mandates, effectively cutting off the city's entire downtown core and leaving Ottawa residents afraid to leave their homes.
Initially meant to be a peaceful protest, the demonstration has devolved into complete chaos with vandalism, violence, hate symbols and widespread harassment among the unlawful acts witnessed.
Police have been unable to make the group disperse in Ottawa, and similar demonstrations are now growing in border cities such as Coutts, Alberta, and Windsor, Ontario.
Organizers of the "freedom convoy" have announced plans to stage a second rally in Toronto this weekend after a planned demonstration at Queen's Park on Feb. 5 was moderated early by police, who closed down roads well in advance of the group's expected arrival.
Police in Toronto have once again started closing off roads near Queen's Park and along University Avenue to protect hospital access, but Ontarians are starting to grow frustrated and say that more must be done to combat the trucker protests, which are themselves inherently legal but are often accompanied by illegal activities and widespread hate rhetoric.
Premier Ford has condemned the disruptive protests as "unacceptable" and called the protest blocking Windsor's border with Detroit an "illegal occupation," but has yet to enact any new laws or take real concrete action to stop them.
According to CTV News and CBC News, that action will come today in the form of new measures that would "allow the enforcement of tougher fines and penalties against protesters.
"The Ambassador Bridge is one of the most vital trade corridors in our country. The damage this is causing to our economy, to people's jobs and their livelihoods is totally unacceptable. We cannot let this continue," said Ford on Wednesday.
"I remain confident that our police forces in Ontario, along with Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Canadian Border Services Agency, will take the appropriate steps to address the evolving situations in our cities and bring them to an end."
It is not quite clear what Ford is expected to announce this morning, but many believe that a new provincewide emergency order could be coming into effect immediately.
Ford will be joined by Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, Attorney General Doug Downey and Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation, to make the announcement at 10:30 a.m. today.
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