Trudeau’s Money Heist: Emergencies Act Allows Seizure of Bank Accounts, Securities, Crypto of Those Suspected of “Links” to Convoy Members w/o Court Order

Arguably the most alarming part of Canada’s 1988 Emergencies Act, set into operation by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, are its provisions exhorting financial services industry members to seize the assets of suspected malefactors and their associates, with protection from liability.

In the “great minds work alike” category, I see Nick Corbishley has a related post going live on systems going haywire at Canada’s biggest banks on the same timetable as the intended Emergencies Act trucker intervention. I had assumed that any process of trying to shut off conduits to protestors like GoSendMe and freezing accounts of what at this point would presumably be a small number of named suspects would be a manual process, as explained below. If the authorities actually tried to get a rushed code implementation, no wonder things fell over.

Note that, at least according to the writeups in the Canadian press, these provisions ave more draconian and Stasi-like than even the much-hated US asset forfeiture laws. In the US, it is the government that confiscates the property; the owner then has to go to court to try to get it back.1 By contrast, the Canadian Emergency Powers Act is an extrajudicial process, and banks and financial firms are being urged to grab assets of mere suspects and those with links to them.

From Global News:

The government published details late Tuesday on the requirements covering a wide range of the financial industry including banks, credit unions, insurance companies, portfolio managers and investment counselling services…

The emergency orders direct financial institutions to suspend services to both individual and business clients who they suspect are aiding the blockades.

They also require the institutions to conduct due diligence to identify accounts linked to the protests, and to disclose to the RCMP or CSIS any property or transactions they have identified as owned or controlled by those designated people….

Cryptocurrency platforms are also covered by the order and some, including Toronto-based BitBuy, say they’ve already received guidance on cryptocurrency addresses from law enforcement….

In a media briefing Wednesday, senior government officials said they are in ongoing discussions with financial institutions on the applications of the order.

And the National Review:

Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland said Monday that the government could use the Emergencies Act to cut off the financial pipelines of those involved in the blockades.

“As of today, a bank or other financial service provider will be able to immediately freeze or suspend an account without a court order. In doing so, they will be protected against civil liability for actions taken in good faith,” Freeland said…..

Freeland specified that crowdfunding sites and the payment service providers must be approved by the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC), the national financial intelligence agency. These companies are also required to report large and suspicious transactions to FINTRAC.

“The illegal blockades have highlighted the fact that crowdfunding platforms, and some of the payment service providers they use, are not fully captured under the Proceeds of Crime and Terrorist Financing Act,” Freeland said. “We are making these changes because we know that these platforms are being used to support illegal blockades and illegal activity which is damaging the Canadian economy.”

Now even though this all sounds and is very ugly, it’s not as far reaching as it sounds. Or perhaps to put it more clearly, there is a significant gap between intent and what will happen.

First consider a big fly in the ointment: this sweeping measure could be moot in a week. From the BBC:

The Emergencies Act, passed in 1988, requires a high legal bar to be invoked. It may only be used in an “urgent and critical situation” that “seriously endangers the lives, health or safety of Canadians”. Lawful protests do not qualify….

The powers announced by Mr Trudeau go into effect immediately – but his government has to present it to the House of Commons and the Senate within a week and needs a green-light or the proclamation would be revoked.

All main Canadian federal political party leaders have said it’s time for the protests – which have had an impact on supply chains, the national economy and the country’s relations with the US – to end.

But they aren’t all necessarily on board with Mr Trudeau’s unprecedented move.
Conservative leader Candice Bergen voiced concern it could inflame the situation.

The support of NDP leader Jagmeet Singh may give Mr Trudeau enough votes to pass it through the House – though the Senate could still be a hurdle.

Now if you are a bank, how are you going to respond? You’re going to slow walk cooperation.

First, note that even though the Emergencies Act attempts to pin the tail of identification of bad guys on financial players, they can quite reasonably say that they aren’t in the business of policing and have no idea who is at the protests. So in practice, the government will need to name names and suspect money sources and ask the banks to clamp down on them.

A second question is how well Canada’s intel state can link particular faces seen at protests or truck license plates with names and bank accounts. Since Canada has only five large banks, it might not be hard. But the banks can (again oh so reasonably) contend that aside from blocking transfers in from certain sources, and perhaps also freezing the accounts that were on the receiving ends of those transfers, everything else will be highly manual and that takes time.

In addition, it’s not clear how Canada can reach the fundraising platforms if they are not chartered in Canada and have no physical presence there. However, any movement of funds into a Canadian financial institution from a non-Canadian source and/or over a certain size could trigger an alert, and as I am sure Freedland would like, a seizure not just of the transferred funds but also the entire recipient account.

Mind you, there are work-arounds, particularly given the proximity of the protests to the US: have the funds transferred into an account on the US side, withdraw cash, and take it across the border physically. Or perform the same operation and send from the US to Canada via Western Union in small lots to friendlies. Ideally send it to a store in an immigrant area or near a uni.

From what I can tell, the protestors do not yet need a lot of funding (they will when those arrested get hauled into court), so it also appears the monies raised on GoFundMe and later GiveSendGo were in excess of their needs.

As an aside, recall that the shutdown of GoFundMe, and its tardiness in saying it would return the donated funds, led attorneys general in several conservative states to say they were launching investigations. This is long overdue. Even though PayPal is also unregulated, there are some checks on its operations, the big one being that it is used almost entirely for one to one transactions. So both sides know what they are paying and receiving.

By contrast, a many to one platform is rife for abuse. Pray tell, what protection do GoFundMe donors have against GoFundMe simply pocketing 20% of the gross?

Nevertheless, anything that makes US asset forfeiture look good is plenty bad. And consider the high potential for error. What happens to those incorrectly identified as protestors or “linked” to them? “Linked” is not defined and could conceivably amount to what a vindictive or clueless administrator wants it to mean.

What happens if your accounts are incorrectly frozen? The provisions sound lame:

To have financial accounts unfrozen, either because someone has stopped protesting or because of mistaken identity, officials said individuals would have to reach out to their financial institutions who would then validate the information and take necessary measures.

Banks are not in the business of “validating” actions taken in the real world. Given the lack of liability, it sounds as if there is no recourse (aside from enlisting the press) if they are uncooperative or just slow. Look at the recent reporting on the UK Post Office scandal, where IT errors from 2000 to 2014 resulted in dozen of branch managers being falsely accused of stealing and in many cases suffered huge financial penalties and went to prison. There, due process went off the rails because no one wanted to consider that the systems were wrong. Here, there’s not even a pretense of due process. Canada is implementing a financial-services-run star chamber.


1 Wikipedia on US civil asset forfeiture (note the burden of proof is lower in a civil than in a criminal case):

There are two types of forfeiture (confiscation) cases, criminal and civil. Approximately half of all forfeiture cases practiced today are civil, although many of those are filed in parallel to a related criminal case.[citation needed] In civil forfeiture cases, the US government sues the item of property, not the person; the owner is effectively a third-party claimant. The burden is on the government to establish that the property is subject to forfeiture by a “preponderance of the evidence.” If it is successful, the owner may yet prevail by establishing an “innocent owner” defense.

Federal civil forfeiture cases usually start with a seizure of property followed by the mailing of a notice of seizure from the seizing agency (generally the DEA or FBI) to the owner. The owner then has 35 days to file a claim with the seizing agency. The owner must file this claim to later protect his property in court. Once the claim is filed with the agency, the U.S. Attorney has 90 days to review the claim and to file a civil complaint in U.S. District Court. The owner then has 35 days to file a judicial claim in court asserting his ownership interest. Within 21 days of filing the judicial claim, the owner must also file an answer denying the allegations in the complaint. Once done, the forfeiture case is fully litigated in court.

In civil cases, the owner need not be judged guilty of any crime; it is possible for the government to prevail by proving that someone other than the owner used the property to commit a crime (this claim seems outdated and as such would be contradicted by the “innocent owner” defense).[citation needed] In contrast, criminal forfeiture is usually carried out in a sentence following a conviction and is a punitive act against the offender.

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  1. ArkansasAngie

    Well … now we know just what kind of government is currently installed in Canada. And now … I guess we get to see whether Canadians are going to stand still for this complete trampling of civil rights.

    You know … the calls for empathy and compassion by those willing to ruin others by confiscating their money and putting them in jail suggests that they are, in fact. hypocrites with NO empathy or compassion for others.

    This dog don’t hunt.

  2. jimmy cc

    comsevatives are discovering whats goes around, comes around.

    anybody know how many conservative party members voted for the asset seizure law being used?

    1. Kurtismayfield

      Imagine if this was a left leaning group protesting by blocking major highways. Oh wait this already happened in the US. And they changed state laws to make it a felony, and to make it manslaughter if someone dies during the traffic jam.

      I wonder if anyone has died in Canada due to these protests.

      I agree this is more draconian government action. And this is exactly why the war on cash will continue, because it is about control.

      1. Hatuxka

        Left groups would expect this measure to be taken against them. They are used to it. This group never thought about it or assumed nothing would be done.

  3. lambert strether

    The Emergency Act replaced the War Measures Act, last invoked by Pierre Trudeau in the “October Crisis,” when the Quebec Liberation Front kidnapped two diplomats.

    One would expect the Emergency Act to be invoked for a crisis of similar scale (and what, from this side of the border, looks like a ginormous case of liberal aghastitude doesn’t count).

    1. HJR

      The FLQ (Front de libération du Québec) kidnapped a cabinet minister, and a diplomat.

      Pierre Laporte was a Quebec cabinet minister, and deputy premier of the province. He was murdered by his kidnappers. A bridge near Quebec City is named after him.

      James Cross was a British diplomat (a senior Trade Commissioner) serving in Montreal. He died recently (Jan 2021) of complications of covid-19.

      A national poll published this morning (Maru Public Opinion) shows:

      two-thirds (66%) of Canadians support Prime Minister Justin Trudeau bringing in the Emergencies Act to give the federal government extra powers to handle the protests across the country.

      1. Jeff

        Right, because when have polls ever been wrong either accidentally or by cherry picking questions or whom is called.

      2. Eric Lumsden

        Perhaps those polling (CBC, by any chance??) should ask their questions to someone west of Toronto… Trudeau doesn’t have close to 66% support of ANYTHING he has done, to date.

    2. HJR

      Here’s a podcast of Peter Mansbridge interviewing Bruce Anderson (AbacusData) about how Canadians are feeling:…

      Bruce and his wife, Nancy, are two of the people who participated as Ottawa citizens in the community counter-protest that interested Lambert.

    3. TMR

      The problem is, you’re seeing it from this side of the border. On THAT side of the border, the cops are simply refusing to enforce the law, out of sympathy for the elements making up the occupiers, along with other local issues like pay disputes. That is a crisis of legitimacy that demands emergency action from any government, since the Canadian federal government has very little police power of its own (almost entirely devolved to the provinces).

      What’s more, the federal Conservatives are being cagey with their support/lack of support for the occupation, while Doug Ford (arguably the most powerful single individual in this situation) doesn’t want to annoy enough of the far right to lose the upcoming Ontario provincial election.

      It’s the Americanization of Canadian politics, and in a country where “Manifest Destiny” isn’t just something written in history books, but a present, continuing concern, that has people strongly on edge.

    4. lance ringquist

      it was worse than what papa Trudeau faced(and what he faced was the real bad), the truckers stopped free trade. that was the last straw.

      1. Bridget

        Very curious that the US is importing car parts from Canada. Are these parts manufactured in Canada or are these parts manufactured elsewhere and then “imported” from Canada to work around trade restriction?

        1. liz

          prior to NAFTA Canada and the US had the “Auto Pact; a managed trade agreement that encouraged auto manufacturing on both sides of the border. Once NAFTA was implemented the safeguards for Canada were less simply because we are a smaller economy and so dont sell as many cars. Now under the new “free trade agreement the safeguards for Canada are even smaller as Biden threatens to give huge tax breaks on cars manufactured wholly in the US. Right now there is a massively integrated manufacturing process where parts can go back and forth across the border sometimes 7 times. So the answer is both countires manufacture parts that can end up in either country. Can’t really see how this is efficient.. but this is why the blockade of the bridge was so disruptive, all those just in time parts deliveries on both sides.

  4. DG

    What Trudeau is doing is imposing a pure, unadulterated tyranny. First with the mandates and now with the Emergencies Act. And in case you wonder, yes, this will soon be knocking on your door.

    1. CanCyn

      Proof that in Canada we have two parties not three. War Measures Act invoked by Liberals. Updated by Conservatives (Mulroney) and then invoked again by Liberals. I’ll be very interested to see how Mr. Singh and the NDP vote on this.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        Mr. Trudeau leads a minority government. Mr. Singh has the ability to end it at will. This will tell you as much about Singh as it does about Trudeau.

        1. bojackhorsemeat

          Singh has been the most consistently against white supremacy (unsurprisingly…). His support is obvious.

          1. ks

            Some of the convoy participants are ethnic South Asians. A few Confederate Flag wavers don’t make a protest about white supremacy.

    2. fajensen

      Con-servatives whining when the laws they enacted to be used against muslims and coloured folks are equally applied against them.

      Always a good show, although it could do with more nudity!

  5. The Rev Kev

    It must present a quandry for Canada’s big five banks. Imagine being some of them going gung-ho to freeze customers accounts because of an accusation and screwing up their ability to pay bills, meet rents, etc. with them trying to prove their innocence or not. But then they learn that one or two of the other banks have an on-the-quiet campaign to say that they are not like the other banks and are resisting efforts to punish customers unless forced to. And suddenly you are losing customers en masse to these other banks and have to explain to your shareholders why your profits are dropping off so badly. Sooner or later Trudeau will be gone but banks want to stick around forever. I see little to gain for Canadian banks to enforce the provisions of this emergency act except the gratitude of Trudeau and how much is that worth exactly?

      1. The Rev Kev

        And if I was a Canadian that had an TD Ameritrade/Bank account, I would be looking to move to another bank and tell them why. And aren’t they headquartered out of Texas anyway?

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          No, TD is one of the Canadian Big Five. It has a US bank (separate charter) in Lewiston, Maine. Branches only in the northern part of the US.

          It is pretty much impossible to get a new bank account in the US. Moving check deposit over (particularly for retirees with Social Security) and undo any auto pay (which many people have) makes the process fraught. Banks know customers are largely captive.

          And banks really don’t want simple checking account or checking/savings only customers.

          1. The Rev Kev

            My mistake. That is what happens when you let Google do your thinking for you. It would be interesting to see in the coming months if people move their accounts between banks or even go over to one of the big credit unions that Canada has. I bet that the banks are watching for this.

          2. griffen

            TD Bank acquired a large bank group headquartered in Greenville, SC during the financial crisis. They have some locations scattered about in and around Greenville and Spartanburg. They had a branch location in the office building I worked at for 3 years.

            They also have a modern looking corporate office off the I 85 corridor, again in Greenville.

    1. bojackhorsemeat

      “en masse” hahaha. Most of us would switch away from a bank if we heard it was supporting these assholes.

    2. fajensen

      The banks don’t care, because, realistically, there is nowhere else to go for the customers.

      Since 9/11 banks have increasingly become an integrated part of the “War on Terror(tm)” and they will preemptively freeze any funds or transaction that are suspect, they are legally compelled to do so.

      Only “banks” that are not “on the grid” are strange outfits running out of Malta or Cyprus (likely to be honeypots and/or salaries for Mossad, CIA or FSB), and the Hawala networks. Very impractical for plain vanilla banking, and if one uses those services “too much”, one becomes a “customer of concern” and then it will be difficult to even get a bank account.

      Some of us, back in the day, believed that the anti-terror legislation that suddenly popped into existence was dangerous and open to all manner of abuse and for that we were mocked as “lefties” and “terrorist sympathisers ” by “conservatives” salivating at the many new possibilities for kicking some muslim and minority ass.

      Now, Finally, what they helped create has come round and is biting them in the ass, and they are whining like the man-babies they are, and it is too delicious to watch these fine upstanding citizens getting served a good slice of that minorities-only cake they cooked up!

  6. Michael Ismoe

    Wait until the Democrats see this. They must be green with envy. I guess AOC will be introducing this law in a few weeks – it sure beats hiding in the basement of the House office building.

    1. Lee A. Clark

      Let’s pray she does and all the lunacy, violence and sniveling will cease. I love how the law and order crowd decries tyranny when things don’t go their way. No one is crying about how others’ rights have been trampled but a certain demographic gets two minutes of “alleged” truncation of their rights and off we go with tyranny calls. It’s annoying besides, who came up with these laws? Remember, laws are enacted for the majority to follow everyone else was dragged along.

      1. fajensen

        In my opinion, most laws are created because of the behaviour of tiny minorities. The stupidity or evil of the few is creating misery for the many!

  7. philnc

    “… pure, unadulterated tyranny…” But it isn’t really. Just like the draconian civil forfeiture laws that exist in every state and at the federal level in the US, the Canadian law here was passed by legislative majorities and is now being implemented by executives representing those majorities. The real problem is that people on both sides of the border rarely take civil liberties seriously, until they’re impacted personally. Instead, they get carried away by mass media propaganda and rush to support crushing others the establishment (which never really changes, but only appears to) has manuevered them into considering the enemy. We have always been at war with East Asia, and Mark Antony was only there to bury Caesar.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      You are not getting the difference. As bad as civil forfeiture is, this is way worse.

      Only certain government agencies do the US civil forfeiture grabs. The victims do have to spend time and money to get their stuff back, but there is a judicial process, with pretty tight time frames (as in the process is not dragged out, so if you’ve been targeted due to bad intel, you have parameters about when you get your stuff back if you prevail) which somewhat constrains who does what when.

      Here it’s private sector parties, who have been exempted from all liability, who freezes assets. There’s no legal review, no standards, no timing for an investigation or response, squat.

      1. Bruce Elrick

        As a Canadian I find this discussion of our politics fascinating.

        We have all kinds here, in particular we have our fair share of anti-COVID-vax anti-vax-“mandate” (I put mandate in quotes because in my province it was so onerous as to require one to present a non-government-financed negative covid PCR test from the previous 72 hours in order to be allowed to dine in a restaurant or drink at a bar; most other activities were not restricted).

        But back to my point. In principle it certainly looks tyrannical however one difference is that our norms do not appear to have eroded nearly as much as in the US. I believe that as soon as a horror story comes out there would be a political price to pay, perhaps unlike the US.

        Canada has always been a “good governance” and “institutional faith” society (for the white majority; our Indigenous people know tyranny far beyond the Emergencies Act) where we don’t have or seem to politically require the level of constitutional rights guarantees that the US has (no one does). Witness the Notwithstanding Clause, which opens us up to terrible abuse. Yet we have survived.

        I absolutely believe the polls saying that 2/3rds support Trudeau. I also know there are plenty who want to hang him for treason and 2/3rds shake their head at the US cultural import of that rhetoric. The vast majority don’t sweat the *potential* for abuse by the government since we’ve had solid norms.

        1. TMR

          “Peace, order, good government” is a categorical rejection of “life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness (property)”. Looking at this from a primarily rights-oriented perspective is American-style thinking that most Canadians do not want to follow.

          1. bojackhorsemeat

            Yeah, always been weirded out by the US stuff… Only people I know who quasi-support the convoy watch US news religiously.

            1. Horsemeatsux

              Yep, must be why Trudeau has an approval rating of 38% according to Market News, Reuters, Morning Consult… That’s worse than Biden’s 41%. That’s bad!!

      2. orlbucfan

        American civil asset forfeiture, another product of this country’s dimwitted War on Drugs. Yeow, I wish our Canuck neighbors the best!

  8. Eustachedesaintpierre

    An important precedent if Trudeau prevails while likely being observed with great interest by like minded leaders, particularly in Europe who have similar problems, who also perhaps having similar instruments at their disposal – test case ?

    Pitchforks or rigs, Left or Right, same result.

    1. Carolinian

      One could suggest Biden is taking notes, but he and his predecessors have already been doing this to entire countries like Iran, Venezuela and most recently Afghanistan–giving the latter’s US stored reserves to 9/11 victims. Clearly Trudeau has been studying Hegemon One and wants in on the action if only as MiniMe.

  9. Tom Stone

    I’m sure these rules will be enforced with all of the Wisdom,Self Restraint and Compassion that the Profession of Banking is noted for.

    1. bojackhorsemeat

      That’s not going to happen. Everyone up here knows who these people are, and the government would never throw the financial system into chaos like that. They’ll always prop up the banks as needed.

  10. Mickey Hickey

    I am an Irishman living in Ontario Canada. I was here when Pierre Trudeau introduced the War Measures Act. The Irish were very well accepted by the French Canadians, they intermarried immediately and in large numbers starting in 1845. In our eyes French Canadians can do no wrong. The War Measures Act was in response to an armed and violent separatist movement caused by perceptions that the French language and culture was in decline. Canada is a country that values peace, order and good government where citizens have obligations to support that. The idea that freedoms and rights override everything that people value is an alien concept here as it is in Ireland. The belief here today is that Justin Trudeau did what had to be done particularly since the Chief of police in Ottawa who has since resigned claimed he did not have the right to intervene. No Police Chief can now claim they do not have the right to intervene. The Mayor of Toronto John Tory and the Premier of Ontario Doug Ford quickly acted to prevent traffic disruptions here and Ford will probably be reelected in June. Justin Trudeau who heads a minority government will probably resign before the end of the year with his reputation intact. I will refrain from commenting on the US since my mother always told me if you have nothing good to say, say nothing.

    1. Carolinian

      The idea that freedoms and rights override everything that people value is an alien concept here as it is in Ireland.

      And the Easter Rising? Or are you from Northern Ireland?

      1. Mickey Hickey

        England invaded and occupied parts of Ireland numerous times over 800 years. The 1916 uprising in the middle of WW1 was an opportune time to attack. It took 5 years but it proved successful. My grandfather was wounded and my father was running around with a rifle aged 12 in 1921, My mother saw two of her uncles being shot up against a Cow Barn stone wall. She showed us the bullet marks on the wall apparently about half of the eight soldiers missed. One of my mothers favourite sayings about the British Army was “Shooting would be too good for them, slow hanging would be more appropriate.” Foreign invaders are fair game anytime.

        1. Eustachedesaintpierre

          So presumably if the Sioux formed flying columns you would count yourself as fair game.

    2. jeff

      Nothing good comes from stripping rights away from a group of citizens and ‘othering’ them. You’re inviting the wolf into the hen house, placing an ‘eat me’ sign on said hens and leaving a trail of fresh meat to where the hens are sleeping.

    3. JBird4049

      “The idea that freedoms and rights override everything that people value is an alien concept here as it is in Ireland.”

      “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” –Lord Acton

      Too many Americans believe in only their rights and not in their responsibilities without caring about how their actions affect others. This is true. However, it has often been the excuse of oppressors that what they do is needed to maintain law and order for the sake of public security. A “destroy the village in order to save the village” justification.

      The United States Constitution and Bill of Rights come out of the Enlightenment and are the ideological or conceptual framing of our society. The Bill of Rights is directly a reaction to the British government’s efforts to suppress protests and then later the revolution using tactics like general warrants, the closure of ports, and the confiscation of ships and later the seizure of military supplies. When the local juries would not convict, the accused would be sent to Canada so that the government could get convictions. The shooting started, which nobody quite expected when it did, started from British soldiers, from the occupied city of Boston, being sent to Concord to seize some gunpowder, iirc also artillery.

      Oversimplifying just a little, the government justified it by saying that the Americans were all either rebels or traitors and made even the loyalists unhappy with their heavy, broadly punitive tactics. The louder the protests became, the more stubborn the government became both in its refusal to listen and in changing tactics. In insisting on order and obedience, while treating any dissent or protest as disorder and disobedience, they created a rebel. Restated, the responses created the war, the war did not create the responses. By insisting that they, the government, had the right to deny rights to others because of their proclaimed right to rule those others without even the hindrence of listening and responding to the citizens, they lost everything, including the ability to rule.

      History is full of examples where rulers and the elites use the supposed threat to law and order to justified their destruction of it by themselves usually to keep being able to control and exploit the underclasses. Civil asset forfeiture is an example. Under the excuse that drugs are a threat to society, the police now take more wealth from Americans using asset forfeiture than those labed criminals each year, justified only by the police’s pretense that the money or property was the result of drug crimes; it is no accident that the less in taxes are paid to municipal and state governments, the more in fines, fees, and forfeitures there are especially where the police are able to keep the money for themselves. Unhindered theft justified by the need for law and order, for “public safety.”

      We have some people being rude, even being jackasses, but are they a terrible “threat” and if so, to whom? If some people people parking their vehicles to block a road or highway, are such a threat, does destroying the rule of law and denying people their rights, justify it? We are not talking people shooting others, but merely being inconvenient. Who are the rulers here, the nation or the government? If we live in a democracy, the people are to decide what the government is to do; the government does not decide what the people are to do. Further, the law is suppose to protect and serve everyone, but most especially the weak from the powerful. Too often people want to deny the rights of others, to avoid the messy, exhausting process of listening and debating that even some non democratic systems recommend, and impose by force what they think is the right thing, forgetting that someday, it will be their turn to have others wanting to impose on them. And power does tend to corrupt, correct?

  11. DrSloperWazRobbed

    I have a Canadian friend who I, at first, many years ago now, thought was just very left-wing. Over the years I realized she was a mix of a maverick/anti-establishment thinking and if yr a horseshoe theory fan, was so far left that she was also far-right sometimes. She scans as a mega-hippy at first glance.
    She lives in Toronto and has been flipping out about all the various mandates that Canada has been cycling through since covid hit. She is having all her xmasses at once w this truck thing.

    I’m personally a dedicated center-leftist by temperament as well as ideologically, but starting around covid I have really noticed how badly so much center-left media has been about refusing to cover things if they don’t fit the narrative, to mis-label movements, and more or less straight up lie(whether by omission or taking things out of context etc).
    I don’t have it in me to get angry about such IMO bog-standard media ploys, but I can imagine; and have also seen firsthand how since covid some people I thought were ‘on the level’ are sounding like they have lost it.
    It is creating some weird things I am seeing in the media too, eg Matt Taibbi, who I once counted on for no BS all the time (and has shared at least one show-booking with a certain nom de plumed commentator all of us here are familiar with reading), has blatantly IMO decided to cash out and is now just the right-wing version of pandering to I guess the audience he is cultivating atm on substack.

    1. Carolinian

      Funny, some of us American old timers think of civil liberties and the defense of same as being the essence of “left wing.” Whereas using fear as a tactic was once a specialty of the right wing. No offense to the Canadians here but many of you are sounding a lot more rightwing than in those old times and perhaps we can include Joni and Neil in that same broad brush assessment.

      The terms go back to the French Revolution. They may mean practically nothing now and certainly not a guidepost to whether people like Taibbi and Greenwald are making sense. Using such categories to judge would be a denial of critical thinking IMHO. Even Tucker Carlson–undeniably a rightie–is entitled to make sense when he does so. If nothing else it’s a good tactic for building ratings when all of the media are saying the opposite. We don’t have to see totalitarian motives in everything.

      1. lance ringquist

        well said, Taibbie, greenwald and others, simply are not falling in line when they see fascists tendencies masquerading as the left.

        how many frauds in the left defended and supported nafta billy clinton, and empty suit obama, as they bombed, plundered and destroyed the worlds civil society for the dream of corporate free trade.

        1. DrSloperWazRobbed

          I agree with you. I have been a huge fan of greenwald and Taibbi as they called BS on Dems. Today’s a la carte media maybe tho means they have had to lean into the media silo they have been unfairly put into just cuz they do call BS. Cast from the soft bosom of the left of center MSM they really do seem to have had a think as to where their bread is buttered. Maybe i’ll be proved wrong. It’s tiresome for now though. Viva La Naked Capitalism! It is one of the last few standing.

      2. DrSloperWazRobbed

        You may have misunderstood me, and also I wasn’t clear. I wasn’t saying that Taibbi stopped making sense when he started not toeing the lefty party line. That I am ok with. What I meant is that he has leaned into it to the point where he now just selectively nut-picks lefty nuts to dunk on and so on. So he is as useful as the MSM or fox. Gotta take him with a grain of salt. My guess is the substack dollar called. Gotta play to yr crowd. If his crowd was more like me, he could dunk both ways and still get subs. My guess is his crowd reacts badly to dunking on the left now. Also I know this for a fact. His comments section can look like lifesite news or something now.

        I agree on the Right/Left thing and it becoming less useful. I just meant more ephemerally than strictly politically/economically, with left of center types not going for eg blood and soil, police-worship etc, and righty types disliking academia, art for art’s sake and the like. Temperament not political party/ideology. Id argue that type of thing is holding fast, but that covid is blurring the lines cuz the media? or something is going haywire

        1. Carolinian

          There are loads of websites these days attacking the right, Trump, our Lindsey etc. Taibbi and Greenwald are filling an empty space and also adhering to the number one rule of writing which is to be interesting. And these days that means being truthful. It’s why a lot of us are here at NC. As Lucy of Peanuts might say, we just want the truth that’s coming to us.

          1. DrSloperWazRobbed

            No yr correct. I put it clumsily. Good point on interesting/means truthful today. Also, I think I am blaming Taibbi a bit for the state of his substack comments section. It can’t be overstated how crazy it is. Not really his fault, that.

            1. Jeff

              It’s a comments section. Not sure what expectation you have, but I’d rather see a wide spectrum of opinion than everyone bobbleheading in unison.

              Taking the bad with the good is a net gain.

              1. DrSloperWazRobbed


                Fair: that good w bad is better than groupthink. I think it was a jarring personal overton window event when I saw that one of my formerly fave journos substack was now full of seth rich-ing and so on. I shouldn’t take comments sections personally though, perhaps!

          2. JBird4049

            Just having someone trying to be honest with an attempt at staying reality based is nice even when I think that they are nuts. Much of our current confusion is from the establishment approved and imposed version for left-right, liberal, left, and conservative along with the corruption, distortion, and even reversal of the various terms and ideologies used for politics, economics, and even religion.

            It makes it really hard to have an honest, understandable conversation with other people on quite a lot, but much easier for some to confuse, divide, and exploit people; it is always hard to talk about somethings, but when you have to go over the very definitions of the words in the conversation…

            Then there is the lost of historical knowledge with Americans have always been bad at remembering the past. It seems that our past always began five minutes ago.

  12. Mtnwoman

    This Canadian professor of law believe Trudeau’s “power grab is unconsittutional”

    “Only the protest in Ottawa remains, and evidence of terrorism, at least outside of the realm of mind-reading, remains rather thin. Moreover, Trudeau has refused to even meet with the truckers.

    All of this means that Trudeau has failed to meet the requirements for invoking the Emergencies Act. His doing so is clearly unconstitutional.”

    From my perspective, here in USA, it does seem like massive govt over-reach (panic?) by Trudeau. And nothing that liberals should be cheering on.

    1. bojackhorsemeat

      “Unconstitutional” despite being an actual law, brought in by the conservatives (!), and subject to not overriding anything in the charter. Pretty sure if it has to follow the charter it’s constitutional…

      USA does not understand what’s happening.

      I hope all Americans reflect on this when they think they know what’s happening in further away, not English speaking countries…

      1. JBird4049

        I know just over a grain of sand about Canadian law. I do know that both Democratic and Republican have made the law into not only a sadistic joke, but also into the tool of the wealthy and connected by it seems distorting the law to mean whatever they want it to be. Qualified immunity and civil asset forfeiture are two good examples, but there are plenty of other examples. The Supreme Court could fix them when ever it wants as could Congress. The individual states could at least ameliorate them, if their courts and legislatures chose to do so, but reasons are always found to justify injustice with this growing evermore so. The various legislatures are doing this as well.

        What this means is that when people keep saying that “it is legal” despite what the law had been, or the black letters in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights say, or what one can read of the Founders writings, or in every civics class I ever had, and in denial of reason, logic, or common sense, and history, forget about justice, what it really means is that those with the most money won again.

        So, seizing people’s possessions and money without charge or trial, but only the suspicion of something ill defined as being too rude or unlikable is to be wrong even if it is somehow legal, I would challenge that. Is it convenient or is it justified? A means of suppressing annoying people interfering with money making as well as getting them to shut up or is it really about safety or justice?

  13. Sub-Boreal

    Some thoughtful commentary on the emergency measures:


    As we curbed our activities, governments did the absolute bare minimum to support us. The federal government could have invoked the Emergencies Act to create more hospitals, harmonize vaccine mandate protocols or to collect better COVID-19 data so we could actually understand what was happening. It could have invoked the legislation when Alberta was running out of oxygen, when Ontario and Quebec were storing bodies in cold storage facilities, or when long-term care facilities looked like war zones.

    They also could have sent us support when we needed to isolate, provided more paid time off work and distributed free rapid tests. They could have helped us navigate this terribly difficult time with more mental health services. Instead, they told us that the power to stop this pandemic was in our hands, or could be injected into our arms — and that once we got vaccinated, it would be all over. This promise was a lie when it first started being made in November 2020, and it remains a lie today. Canada’s high vaccination rate is something that we should be proud of, and it has stopped tens of thousands more Canadians from dying, but it was never going to be enough to end the pandemic.

    This lie also helped create the explosive, entitled anger that fuels the convoys, allowing organizers to mobilize a bigger-than-usual show of opposition to vaccines. And then, rather than not allowing this anger to take root, Ottawa police and the City of Ottawa looked the other way, shrugged and said that there’s nothing they can do.

    A podcast version with the above commentator, and more:

  14. Arakawa

    Worth noting that this isn’t “Trudeau’s” heist. I believe the phrase “follow the money” in connection with the convoy protests first appears in Mark Carney’s Globe and Mail editorial. Trudeau is just a middle manager for the Carneys of the world. When questioned on his policies, he stands there and repeats the same talking points. Like a middle manager.

    1. flora

      Follow the money. Hmmm, see also the Trudeau family Foundation and it’s donors once Justin was elected.

      1. jimmy cc

        reviewing the foundations financial statements 42k was received in donations in the 20-21 fiscial year.

        investment income from endowments is the revenue generator for the foundation.

  15. Maritimer

    It should be noted that second in command to Trudeau, Christina Freeland is a Board member of the World Economic Forum. Heir apparent Mark Carney ran the Bank of Canada and then was remarkably able to go to Britain and run the Bank of England. Also a Board Member of WEF and a Bilderberger. Trudeau also has the usual Foundation Racket taking foreign contributions.

    It should also be noted that, call them what you will, these Truckers are not stupid. They are well organized and committed. If you visit any of their uncensoring media platforms, one can see they are very well informed about Globalism, Big Pharma and
    other economic subjects.

    As one example of this, here is a lawsuit against Pfizer in Eastern Texas:
    “Relator observed:
    • fabrication and falsification of blood draw information, vital signs, signatures and other
    essential clinical trial data;
    • enrollment and injection of ineligible clinical trial participants, including Ventavia
    employees’ family members;
    • failure to timely remove ineligible patients’ data from the trial;
    • failure to maintain temperature control for the vaccine at issue;
    • failure to monitor patients after injection as required by the trial protocol;
    • principal investigator oversight failures;
    • use of unqualified and untrained personnel as vaccinators and laboratory personnel;
    • failure to maintain the “blind” as required, which is essential to the credibility and validity
    of the observer-blinded clinical trial;
    • ethical violations, such as failure to secure informed consent and giving patients
    unapproved compensation;
    • improper injection of the vaccine (i.e., by over-diluting vaccine concentrate or using the
    wrong needle size);
    • failure to ensure that trial site staff were properly trained as required by good clinical
    • safety and confidentiality issues, including HIPAA violations; and
    • other violations of the clinical trial protocol, FDA regulations, and Federal Acquisition
    Regulations and their DoD supplements.”

    Eighteen-wheelers can understand legal documents but I bet lawyers can’t drive eighteen-wheelers.

  16. C.O.

    One aspect of this situation that people have not been discussing much, is the way the response to the protests, in this case with extreme kid gloves and in the case of Sloly crying he couldn’t do anything until he was forced to resign, is that it looks like neither city, provincial, nor RCMP are trustworthy law enforcers in at minimum Ottawa itself. It looks awfully like Trudeau is nervous of trying to use the military this time, because now it is an open question whether they will actually follow orders, since infiltration of the military by at least far if not extreme right groups is a known issue, although I have not yet found a good assessment of its extent. Trying this use of the Emergencies Act makes it look even more like Trudeau is trying to do law enforcement by getting other than police investigation and duly authorized by judicial process warrants and the like because he doesn’t think the usual uniformed law enforcement bodies will enforce the same law for these truckers as they do other protesters who are Indigenous or actually left wing, exclusive of any police violence – nobody should be subjected to that.

    I am being careful to say looks because at this stage it is an appearance, and and I can’t help but wonder if it is the appearances Trudeau is playing towards as usual, and misplaying terribly, both in terms of undermining the authority of the federal government, and in terms of setting up a scenario in which the law can be used as just what Yves says in such pithy words, “a financial-services-run star chamber” which adds further appearance of practical, boots on the ground weakness.

    What could happen in a week is quite worrying, because the NDP leader has already declared that they will continue serving as a wing of the Liberal party, and unless they hold back the party whips, this may mean we have to hope the senate will shut down this inappropriate attempt to use the Emergency Act.

    1. Keith McClary

      Next time there are peaceniks, tree-huggers or native rights protesters sitting in a park singing Kumbaya, the cops will be back to their usual instant heavy-handed tactics.

    2. liz

      Sloly, the former Ottawa police chief asked for 1800 more police as back up, otherwise he said his resources were inadequate to preventing the protest. He resigned. Then there was a dust up at Ottawa city council, a new interim police chief was appointed and a plan with the required enforcements was put in place. Apparently it takes time to get police from different provinces/cities and make a workable plan. That took place on the 18th, prior to that Trudeau proposed the Emergencies Act. Listening to the commentary over the weekend that act enabled the police to cordon off an area of Ottawa, compel tow trucks to tow away those who refused to move, enable police from all kinds of different jurisdictions to have force without having to swear each one in individually, confiscate donations and shut down bank accounts of participants as well as confiscating trucks from those who refused to move. Sloloy did not have those powers and watching the police action yesterday it would clearly have been impossible for him to have achieved what was achieved using the Ottawa police force alone. Now that it appears the protest has been shut down, maybe there need not even be a vote in Parliament tomorrow so the question of whether the Emergency Act is necessary may be moot. Either way it would only have been in force 30 days.

  17. disc_writes

    From Europe, I tend to see the Canadian situation in terms that are not at all flattering for Trudeau:
    – Someone from the working class dares to disagree with him
    – Trudeau flees like a coward, hilariously
    – In his pettiness, he uses all sorts of semi-(il)legal tricks to clamp down on the civil rights of the opposition.

    In my, probably distorted, opinion, his behavior is unacceptable from any democratic viewpoint, progressive or conservative.

    Apparently, though, Canadians in this thread do not seem to mind that much, and they seem to support Trudeau. So I guess I do not enough about Canadian politics and will be following the comments on this thread.

  18. ranXox


    The lede:
    “The incredible powers that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has given his government to freeze people’s bank accounts is based on their reliance on “analysis” from the CBC.”

    The CBC is the national (taxpayer funded) broadcaster. So the state is using the state sponsored media’s analysis of a criminally acquired dataset as the basis for implementing this bill.
    Oh, Canada.

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