Nova Scotia

N.S. premier says Ottawa's emergency measures not needed in the province

Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston has added his voice to colleagues in Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Quebec who have suggested extraordinary powers invoked Monday by the federal government are not needed.

Tim Houston joins several other premiers who say invoking Emergency Act not necessary

Hundreds gathered at the Big Stop in Enfield, N.S., last month to show support for truckers headed to Ottawa to protest public health mandates. (Robert Short/CBC)

Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston has added his voice to colleagues in Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Quebec who have suggested extraordinary powers invoked Monday by the federal government are not needed.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act to give the federal government temporary powers to handle ongoing blockades and protests against pandemic restrictions. It gives his cabinet the ability to take "special temporary measures that may not be appropriate in normal times."

That includes enabling the RCMP to enforce municipal bylaws and provincial offences, as well as designating and securing critical areas such as border crossings and airports.

Houston, who last week noted an anti-restriction protest in Halifax the previous weekend was peaceful, said Tuesday that the emergency powers are not needed in Nova Scotia.

"Two and half weeks ago, when we were notified that there was a group of people who were organizing protests aligned with the Freedom Convoy in Nova Scotia, our government provided additional tools to law enforcement," the premier said in a statement to CBC News.

New measures for blockades

The premier noted the Nova Scotia government issued a directive in late January banning blockades at the Nova Scotia-New Brunswick border, followed by a second order earlier this month prohibiting protesters from impeding traffic or blocking any road, street or highway in Nova Scotia.

Fines for a summary conviction range from $3,000 to $10,000 for individuals and between $20,000 and $100,000 for a corporation.

"Given the nature of the protests to date in Nova Scotia — which have generally been peaceful and within the law, along with our two provincial government directives — which established significant fines to reinforce the message that Nova Scotia will not tolerate blockades, we did not need the federal government to enact the Emergencies Act in Nova Scotia at this time," the premier said.

A number of premiers, including Jason Kenney in Alberta and François Legault in Quebec, say they don't believe emergency measures are needed in their provinces.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford, however, has indicated his initial approval and said he supports any federal proposal "to bring law and order back to our province, to make sure we stabilize our business and trade around the world."

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