Trudeau concerned blockades could return in Ottawa, says convoy stopped en route
Convoy from Fort McMurray, Alta., en route to Ottawa turned away at Manitoba border a few days ago
The federal government remains alert to the possibility that trucks and protesters could return to Canada's capital after police spent the weekend arresting demonstrators and dispersing blockades on Ottawa's streets, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday.
Downtown Ottawa was eerily quiet Monday morning after weeks of overwhelming noise from honking horns, idling engines and large crowds protesting the Liberal government, vaccine mandates and COVID-19 restrictions.
Still, Trudeau said his government is worried about blockades reforming in Ottawa and at Canada's ports of entry.
Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said a number of people associated with the Ottawa protest were in the area Monday. Trudeau added that a convoy from Fort McMurray, Alta., en route to Ottawa was turned away at the Manitoba border a few days ago.
"Even though the blockades are lifted across border openings right now, even though things seem to be resolving very well in Ottawa, this state of emergency is not over," Trudeau said at late morning news conference.
"The situation is still of people repositioning, people being out there indicating that they are ready to blockade, to continue their illegal occupation to disrupt Canadians' lives," Trudeau said.
House of Commons to vote on use of Emergency Act
Fences surrounded the parliamentary precinct and roughly 100 police checkpoints checkered a large swath of the core to prevent demonstrators from infiltrating the former protest zone.
As the prime minister spoke, parliamentarians debated whether to approve extraordinary powers granted to police to quell the Ottawa protest.
The House of Commons is set to vote on the use of the Emergencies Act Monday evening, and some Conservatives argue the powers are no longer needed because the blockades are over.
One of the emergency measures allows banks to freeze accounts of those linked to the funding of the protests in Ottawa and elsewhere.
The RCMP said it provided banks with a list of names of influencers in the Ottawa demonstration and people who did not want to move their vehicles out of the area. The force said it did not hand over information about anyone who donated to the protest.
Nearly 200 arrests
The RCMP said in a statement Monday that 219 financial products, which includes accounts, have been frozen so far.
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said anyone affected has an easy avenue to have their accounts unfrozen: "Stop being a part of the blockades," she said.
Interim police chief Steve Bell said Sunday that 191 people connected to the so-called Freedom Convoy protest had been arrested, with 107 of them facing a total of 389 charges.
Nearly 100 protester vehicles have been towed, including 20 that were removed from a site outside the core that demonstrators allegedly used as a base camp. Police promised officers would remain there to prevent anyone from returning to the site.
Ottawa police also said the vehicles would be impounded for seven days and then released to their owners.
On Monday, the site was still littered with generators, chairs, tables, hay bales, and other debris abandoned around an otherwise empty shack, which flew a Canadian flag and a Fleur-de-lis, and was adorned with handwritten signs of all types.