"We are taking the steps necessary to support our police."
Premier Doug Ford has announced new measures in response to ongoing trucker protests, with hefty fines and potential jail time for protesters.
Ford announced that Ontario is in a state of emergency in a press conference on Friday due to Freedom Convoy protesters occupying Ottawa and border crossings and impacting people's lives, trade and the economy.
"I will convene cabinet to use legal authorities to urgently enact orders that will make crystal clear it is illegal and punishable to block and impede the movement of goods, people and services along critical infrastructure," said Ford.
The new order will make it illegal to block or hinder travel in trade settings such as "international border crossings, 400-series highways, airports, ports, bridges and railways."
It will also protect the movement of ambulances, medical services, transit, roads, and even walkways, Ford said.
The fine for breaking this new order will have a maximum penalty of $100,000 and up to a year imprisonment, with the possibility of having personal and commercial licences revoked.
Ford said that while these new emergency orders are temporary, he has no intention of keeping them that way.
"We have every intention to bring new legislation forward that will make these measures permanent in law, " said Ford. "We are taking the steps necessary to support our police as they do what it takes to restore law and order."
Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said that the initial declaration "will be for 42 hours. The cabinet will be meeting tomorrow to go over further amendments."
While Ford acknowledged that the right to protest is part of what makes Canada great, he said it can't trump the lifeline of trade, which employs "hundreds of thousands" of Ontarians.
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