Emergency/ Crisis Management

Mexican violence traps Canadians

Canadian tourists were trapped inside a Mexican hotel January 5 when widespread violence between drug cartels saw the trvellers’ airport transportation set ablaze outside. The upshot was advice from the federal government shelter in place. [node:read-more:link]

Convoy protests 2.0 DOA?

One of the anti-government protest groups behind last winter’s “Freedom Convoy” protests says he has called off plans for a repeat performance. The Canada Unity Official Freedom Convoy 2.0 Reunion scheduled for Winnipeg is “out of service,” organizer James Bauder said on social media. An initial anniversary protest had been planned in Ottawa but plans changed with the prospect of a strong pushback by the city’s police service and that recently was echoed by its Winnipeg counterpart. [node:read-more:link]

Iran booted from UN women’s group

The UN Economic & Social Council ousted Iran’s representative December 14 in response to Tehran’s violent crackdown on widespread protests over the death of a young woman. There were 29 votes in favour of a U.S. motion, eight against (including China and Russia) and 16 abstentions. Iranian Ambassador Amir Saeid Iravani said the decision could be a “dangerous precedent with far-reaching consequences,” a view shared by some other delegates. [node:read-more:link]

More armoured vehicles for Haiti

Canada’s UN envoy, Bob Rae, says the federal government will send more armoured vehicles to Haiti to help its national police deal with gang violence that has escalated over five years and effectively paralyzed the country. Canada shipped three Mine-Resistant, Ambush-Protected vehicles and three commercial-pattern AVs in October and details of the next batch evidently will await an in-country assessment by three Canadian experts. [node:read-more:link]

No frozen funds for protest principals

An Ontario judge has ruled that two organizers of last winter’s month-long “Freedom Convoy” blockade in Ottawa cannot use money raised by protest supporters to defend themselves against a $306-million class-action lawsuit on behalf of Ottawa residents. They had sought access to $200,000 of the millions in donations frozen by the court [node:read-more:link]

China eases pandemic restrictions

After unprecedented massive public protests in several major cities against President Xi Jimping‘s rigidly enforced zero-Covid policy, and despite the latest wave of infections, the Chinese government is lifting its most severe restrictions such as enforced quarantine. Persons who test positive but are asymptomatic now can isolate at home and others no longer need proof for most venues and can travel more freely. [node:read-more:link]

Broad support for Emergencies Act

Results of a late November poll by Nanos Research indicate that a majority of Canadians approve of the use of the Emergencies Act to shut down “Freedom Convoy” protests last February. Some 48 per cent if the more than 1,000 respondents supported the government’s decision and 18 per cent were “somewhat” in favour. [node:read-more:link]

Massive Salvadoran gang crackdown

Unable to deal with widespread gang violence through conventional policing, the government of El Salvador deployed some 10,000 troops to surround the city of Soyapango December 3 as part of a massive crackdown. President Nayib Bukele said “extraction teams from the police and the army are tasked with extricating all the gang members still there one by one.” [node:read-more:link]

Unredacted protest documents to be released

Lawyers for “Freedom Convoy” organizers will have access to unredacted versions of 20 government documents about last February’s invocation of the Emergencies Act. The commission of inquiry, which has an early February 2023 deadline for issuing its final report, announced the decision today as it wound up proceedings after seven weeks. [node:read-more:link]

UN unveils record aid budget

The United Nations is asking its member states for a record US$51.5 billion in aid funding for 2023, some 25 per cent more than in 2022. Citing Russia’s war on Ukraine, drought in Africa and flooding in Pakistan, among other things, the UN’s emergency relief coordinator, Martin Griffiths, said today that “humanitarian needs are shockingly high, as this year's extreme events are spilling into 2023.” [node:read-more:link]

Oath Keepers leaders guilty of sedition

Stewart Rhodes, founder and national head of the Oath Keepers militia and a key figure in the January 2021 mob attack on the U.S. Capitol, was found guilty by a federal jury in Washington today of seditious conspiracy along with Kelly Meggs leader of the militia’s Florida chapter. Both face up to 20 years in prison. They also were found guilty of obstruction of an official proceeding, namely congressional certification of the November 2020 presidential election results. Three co-defendants were found guilty of the latter charge only. [node:read-more:link]

Stage set for constitutional confrontation

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith introduced her draft Alberta Sovereignty Within a United Canada Act today, a proposal she says will enable her cabinet to direct cities, police, health authorities, universities and other entities to ignore federal laws her government believes would be unconstitutional or harmful to the province. The bill does not define “harm” and legal scholars have panned the idea as unconstitutional and it has been divisive within Smith’s own party. [node:read-more:link]

Legal privilege argument defended

The federal government’s reliance on “client-solicitor privilege” to prevent access to cabinet decisions which could provide insight into the government’s invocation of the Emergencies Act was challenged today by a constitutional lawyer who argued that it was “in the interest of transparency.” When he put the question to Prime Minister Trudeau, who did not immediately respond, a government lawyer interjected that privilege is “a very substantial right in our legal system.” [node:read-more:link]

Emergencies Act a “tough call”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the Emergencies Act inquiry today that his decision to invoke the legislation to end “freedom” protests last February stemmed from a concern about what might happen if he didn’t. “This was a moment where the collective advice of cabinet, of the public service, and my own inclination, was that this was a moment to do something . . . to keep Canadians safe.” [node:read-more:link]

Convoy lawyer sued for defamation

Brendan Miller, the Alberta lawyer representing a group of “Freedom Convoy” protestors before the Emergencies Act inquiry, is being sued for defamation over his claim that Brian Fox, a partner in a public relations firm carried a Nazi flag into the Ottawa blockade in February in an attempt to discredit the protestors. Miller tried to dismiss the suit November 24 as “intimidation” but Fox, who has received death threats, was not even in Ottawa when the alleged incident occurred. [node:read-more:link]


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