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The federal government has ended the use of the Emergencies Act, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday.

Mr. Trudeau made the announcement at a news conference alongside several cabinet ministers, including Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino. The ministers have been at the forefront of managing and explaining the policy intended to give police extra powers to deal with blockades and protests.

Prior to a vote in the House of Commons this week that enabled the act, Mr. Trudeau said the previously unused legislation afforded powers, such as compelling tow-truck drivers to move big rigs out of Ottawa’s downtown core.

But he said Wednesday that the act is no longer needed, “We were very clear that the use of the Emergencies Act would be limited in time. When we invoked it, it was in place for 30 days, and we said that we would lift it as soon as possible,” Mr. Trudeau told the news conference.

“Today, after careful consideration, we’re ready to confirm that the situation is no longer an emergency. Therefore, the federal government will be ending the use of the Emergencies Act.”

Mr. Trudeau said existing laws and bylaws are now sufficient to keep people safe.

On Monday, Liberal and NDP MPs voted in favour of the legislation. The Conservatives and the Bloc Québécois voted against.

Parliamentary reporter Kristy Kirkup and i report here.

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

CHAREST CONSIDERS RUN FOR TORY LEADERSHIP - Former Quebec premier Jean Charest is inclined to seek the leadership of the federal Conservative party but is waiting to see the rules of the race before he makes a final decision, says a source close to Mr. Charest. Story here.

Meanwhile La Presse reports here that former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper “will not sit idly by” if Mr. Charest decides to seek the party leadership, but rather use the influence he has retained in the party to ensure “a true conservative” wins.

CANADA ESCALATES UKRAINE ACTIONS - Canada is sending hundreds more troops to Europe and slapping what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called a “first round” of new economic sanctions on Russia for its decision to recognize two breakaway regions in Ukraine and deploy soldiers there. Story here. There’s a Globe and Mail Explainer here on the latest in the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

UNEVEN JOB MARKET RECOVERY IN ONTARIO - Ontario’s job market charted a very uneven recovery over the course of 2021, with employment in low-wage industries remaining woefully below prepandemic levels, while the number of people employed in higher-wage white-collar jobs soared to levels not seen before in years. Story here.

OTTAWA PROTESTS

TRUCK BLOCKADE ORGANIZER DENIED BAIL - In Ottawa, an organizer who had a key role in the truck blockade in the core of the country’s capital has been denied bail, and some police checkpoints remain in place to prevent further demonstrations. Story here.

ONTARIO PROMISES MORE AID FOR PROTEST-IMPACTED BUSINESSES - Ontario’s Finance Minister says more help is coming for businesses affected by the weeks-long protest against COVID-19 measures in Ottawa. While Peter Bethlenfalvy didn’t share specifics, he said Tuesday that the province would have more to say on targeted supports soon.

MAN CHARGED AFTER PULLING A GUN IN OTTAWA MALL - Ottawa police say one man has been charged after he pulled a gun inside the capital’s largest mall near Parliament Hill, hours after it was able to reopen in the aftermath of a three-week long occupation of the city’s downtown core. Story here.

MEANWHILE

SUSPICIOUS FIRE AT LIBERAL MP’S OFFICE - Police say a fire that damaged a Liberal MP’s constituency office in Mississauga, Ont., has been deemed suspicious. Story here.

KEY POINTS FROM B.C. BUDGET - Five key points from the B.C. budget that B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson introduced on Tuesday. Story here.

CORRECTION: MP Rob Morrison (Kootenay-Columbia) is one of two Conservatives designated as the party’s preferred appointees to the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians. Incorrect information appeared yesterday.

THIS AND THAT

TODAY IN THE COMMONS - The House is adjourned until Feb. 28, 2022 at 11 a.m. (EST).

CLARK ENDORSES CHAREST FOR TORY LEADERSHIP - Former British Columbia premier Christy Clark has endorsed Jean Charest as leader of the federal Conservatives even as the ex-Quebec premier considers seeking the job. On this week’s edition of The Curse of Politics podcast available here, Ms. Clark touted Mr. Charest’s centrist credentials, understanding of the complexities of Canada and the economy, and ability to advance discussion on “the things we have in common rather than the things that divide us.” Ms. Clark was the leader of the B.C. Liberals - a coalition of federal Conservatives and Liberals - and premier from 2011 to 2017. “The Liberals are going to have to decide what they want to do about Justin Trudeau but, honestly, the Conservatives have a chance with a guy like Charest running for office, becoming their leader.”

NEW CANADIAN AMBASSADOR IN CUBA - Geoff Gartshore, who has served at Canada’s embassy in Germany as counsellor and head of the political and economic section, has become Canada’s ambassador to Cuba, replacing Perry Calderwood, a former high commissioner in Pakistan, who was appointed ambassador in 2019. Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly made the announcement in a statement today.

BACK TO WORK ON CENTRE-BLOCK RENOVATION - Work resumed Tuesday on the years-long renovation of Centre Block. The program of construction was suspended on Jan. 28 because of the protests in downtown Ottawa.

A NEW GENUIS - Alberta Conservative MP Garnett Genuis (Sherwood Park - Fort Saskatchewan) is announcing the arrival of a son here.

THE DECIBEL - On Wednesday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, the Globe’s senior international correspondent, Mark MacKinnon, discusses the role of diplomacy now that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has moved into a more inauspicious stage. The Decibel is here.

PRIME MINISTER’S DAY

Private meetings. The Prime Minister chaired a meeting of the Incident Response Group on the illegal blockades and the situation in Ukraine. He held an afternoon news conference on the Emergencies Act. And the Prime Minister was scheduled to attend and deliver remarks at the Ukrainian Canadian Congress board meeting.

LEADERS

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh meets virtually with the executive of the Canadian Federation of Students and was scheduled to meet virtually with Burnaby South community organizations.

No schedules released for other party leaders.

OPINION

Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on how our shared reality – and the knowledge that undergirds it – is being assaulted: This is the other discovery we have made of late, far more disturbing than the first: not just how easily a certain section of the population can be made to believe the most outrageous lies, but how willing a certain section is to tell them. The latter know exactly what they are doing. They know that they are spreading falsehoods, validating lunacy, crossing lines previously considered uncrossable. They just no longer care. How long would the Ottawa occupation have lasted, had certain members of the Conservative Party not given it their enthusiastic support? How much comfort did the occupiers take from their enablers online, as quick to minimize their misconduct (“peaceful protest”) as to exaggerate their mistreatment (“police brutality”)? How healthy can our democracy remain, under this combined assault on reality?”

John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on how the Conservative leadership convention is shaping up to be a competition for the party’s soul: A contest for the Conservative leadership featuring Mr. Charest and Carleton MP Pierre Poilievre, who has already declared, would be a contest between the establishment and populist wings of the party for its soul. Right now, the populists own it. But if there are enough people in Canada who want to see a fiscally pragmatic, socially moderate Conservative Party led by someone with demonstrated ability, and who are willing to take out a party membership, Mr. Charest might have a chance.”

Andrew Cohen (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how the occupation showed Ottawa is a city still satisfied with mediocrity: “As we know, the City of Ottawa did almost nothing to stop what Mayor Jim Watson called a state of emergency. Nothing. In the first week, the now-former police chief, Peter Sloly, offered daily self-congratulation for avoiding violence. Later, Mr. Watson tried to negotiate with the truckers – a fruitless exercise in appeasement. It took Zexi Li, a heroic young public servant, to get a court injunction to stop the ear-piercing honking. And the federal government, finally, to organize a police intervention to stop the carnival of intimidation. Effectively, this made Ottawa its ward. The occupation of Ottawa was the apotheosis of an inept city. How could this happen in the capital of a G8 country? Easily, actually, if you have an autocratic mayor, a weak city council and a contented constituency.”

Beverley McLachlin (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how the Ottawa truck convoy has revealed the ugly side of freedom: “Freedom is not absolute. We live in a social matrix, where one person’s exercise of freedom may conflict with another person’s exercise of freedom. Section 1 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states this plainly. The Charter gives Canadians a bundle of rights and freedoms. But it prefaces them with this caution – these rights and freedoms, precious as they are, are not absolute. Governments, it proclaims, can limit freedoms, provided the limits are “reasonable” and can be “justified in a free and democratic society.” The bottom line is that you can’t use your freedoms in a way that unreasonably conflicts with or affects the freedoms of other people. The freedoms guaranteed by the Charter stop where they harm others. With freedom comes responsibility.”

Kelly Egan (The Ottawa Citizen) on a blockade miracle - metal seas parted, disaster avoided: “So we wake up, in our hungover state, with no permanent police chief, down two deputies, a remade police board and some pretty deep scars around the council table. No great victory was won by the “Freedom Convoy.” Protesters did not get Justin Trudeau to change his mind on vaccine mandates or have the governor-general take over, or have mainstream media vaporized. In a democracy, policy isn’t changed, or negotiations started, by holding a gun to someone’s head. And was this not a version of that? Protest all you want – but don’t illegally take over Canada’s front porch for three weeks and expect to be invited in.”

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