February 21, 2022

Statement on the Emergencies Act

This evening, I will be voting in favour of confirming the invocation of the Emergencies Act.

I have heard a clear and urgent plea from my constituents and Calgarians alike - they want illegal and disruptive protests to come to an end. The actions of a small group of protesters have impacted working truckers, business owners, and thousands of law-abiding residents. We are making significant progress towards recovery from the pandemic. Unfortunately, the actions of a few have taken us in the wrong direction, away from freedom and towards disorder.

Local authorities in both Alberta and Ontario were unable to restore order for weeks, allowing protesters to cause massive economic damage, with border blockades alone disrupting billions of dollars in trade. On the Coutts border, law enforcement agencies initially chose to negotiate and deescalate the situation until faced with radicalized and heavily armed extremists, who were soon charged with conspiracy to commit murder. These events underscored the urgency of action.

Invoking the Emergencies Act had an immediate positive effect on restoring order.

Law enforcement agencies from across the country were mobilized and have restored order to Canada's capital. Border blockades have been dismantled, allowing vehicles to move freely and maintain supply chains. Protest organizers have been arrested without incident. It is also apparent that alt-right organizations participated in organizing these protest movements. These are forces that promote conspiracy theories and disinformation to radicalize individuals. Some of these radicalized individuals have shown up to my private residence to intimidate my family and me.

Our government is not taking this decision lightly. It has been debated intensely by elected Members of Parliament in the House of Commons. Its impact will be reviewed closely by a parliamentary committee tasked explicitly with studying all aspects of the situation. Checks and balances are in place to ensure accountability.

I also want to express my disagreement with the Premier Kenney's decision to challenge federal use of the Emergencies Act. On February 5, Alberta's Minister of Municipal Affairs sent a letter to Canada's Minister of Public Safety requesting federal assistance in removing obstructions from a provincial highway. Our government listened and responded by including a provision in the Emergencies Act that orders tow truck drivers to move vehicles blocking roads. It is unfortunate that Alberta's Premier, who is facing an imminent leadership review, continues to meaninglessly posture instead of putting the best interests of his province above his own personal political survival.

Our national capital was under occupation for more than three weeks. Non-state foreign actors are actively engaged in undermining our democratic institutions. Canada was unprepared, and I look forward to a vigorous debate in Parliament to investigate and hold responsible those who caused direct and indirect damage to our security and economic interests.


George Chahal, M.P.

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