Image shows people wearing Canadian flags as capes flanking a truck with a sign on the front of it that reads "we unite to take our freedom back." The person in the foreground appears to be filming the scene in front of them on their phone.
It’s one of the oldest plays in the book — a crisis is followed by new laws that are intentionally broad enough to be applied to just about anybody considered inconvenient.

That’s what we’re seeing with the Ontario government’s Bill 100, Keeping Ontario Open for Business Act, a piece of legislation that could do little more than stamp out and criminalize many labour actions, like strikes and picket lines, and critically important demonstrations on issues including racial justice and meaningful climate action.

The legislation, which would permanently prohibit demonstrations and blockades on “protected transportation infrastructure,” like land or water border crossings and international airports, is, on the face of it, in response to the convoy from earlier this year. This has some superficial appeal given the havoc that things like the blockade of the Ambassador Bridge and the occupation of downtown Ottawa caused.

The thing is, law enforcement already had all the tools they needed to disperse the blockades at their disposal. Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act allows officers to remove a vehicle from streets and the Criminal Code covers offences like mischief. Indeed, the major border blockades were cleared using normal legal tools before the federal government invoked the Emergencies Act.

Also, a very similar law, passed in Alberta following the Wet’suwet’en railway blockades, wasn’t even deployed in that province to end the convoy protest blocking the border between Alberta and the United States.

So if this new legislation is redundant and if there are signs from another province that it might not even be used to prevent the kind of demonstrations it claims to respond to, what exactly is it for?

Written by Moya Teklu, Cara Zwibel, and Fred Hahn. Click here to read the full op-ed on