Remarks by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance addressing the Emergencies Act and support for public transit


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February 17, 2022

For nearly three weeks now, our economy, our democracy, and Canada’s international standing in the world have contended with sustained, coordinated and foreign-funded threats.

That cannot—and will not—be allowed to stand in this country.

On Monday, Cabinet invoked the Emergencies Act to restore public order.

Information is now being shared by law enforcement with Canada’s financial institutions.

Financial service providers have already taken action based on that information.

The emergency measures we put in place are being used, they are having an impact, and they will have a growing impact in the days to come.

The measures we’ve introduced include:

Broadening the scope of Canada’s anti-money laundering and terrorist financing rules to cover crowdfunding platforms and their payment service providers, and requiring them to report large and suspicious transactions the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC);

Directing our financial institutions to freeze or suspend the accounts of individuals and businesses affiliated with the illegal blockades;

Requiring financial institutions to review their relationships with anyone involved in the blockades, and to report to our national security agencies;

And providing federal, provincial, and territorial government institutions with the authority to share information with banks and financial services providers that will help put a stop to the funding of illegal blockades and illegal activities.

Since Monday’s announcement, I have spoken directly with the heads of our major banks, and with the Director of FINTRAC.

My Cabinet colleagues and I are meeting regularly, including with the Commissioner of the RCMP, to discuss next steps. Our absolute priority is ending these illegal blockades and occupation.

It gives me no pleasure to impose any of these measures. In fact, we do so with great sorrow.

But do not doubt our determination to act, to defend our democracy, to defend our economy, and to restore peace, order, and good government.

So let me repeat what I said on Monday:

If your truck is being used in these protests, your corporate accounts will be frozen. The insurance on your vehicle will be suspended.

The consequences are real and they will bite. It is time for you to go home.

And let me also be clear that we will have zero tolerance for the establishment of new blockades or occupations. We now have the tools to follow the money, we can see what is happening and what is being planned, and we are absolutely determined that this must end now and for good.

Before turning to my colleagues, I want to provide one additional, but unrelated announcement — one that will be welcome news for cities across the country.

The federal government will be providing a one-time $750 million top-up of transit funding for municipalities to help make up for some of the pandemic-related operating shortfalls that transit systems have been experiencing.

This funding is contingent on two very reasonable requirements:

First: that our provincial and territorial partners match the funding we, the federal government, will be providing.

And second: that provinces work to speed up their actions to improve housing supply in collaboration with municipalities. Housing is a shared responsibility, and we all have an important role to play.

Public transit is an important part of improving the living and working conditions in our communities. We need to ensure that our municipalities are able to deal with the ongoing impacts of the pandemic.

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