As both interest rates and inflation continue to rise and negatively impact many households here in our region, I doubt there is much attention on the current discussion in Ottawa over the Trudeau Liberals invoking of the Emergencies Act earlier this year.
However, that does not mean that many Canadians should not be seriously concerned over what is transpiring in Ottawa on this subject.
In my Feb. 16, column, I explained the Emergencies Act is the replacement for the former War Measures Act. The War Measures Act was only used once outside of wartime, by Pierre Elliott Trudeau at the request of the Quebec Government in 1970. The replacement Emergencies Act had never been used until Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked it, claiming it was the only way to end the truck protests occurring in Ottawa in February.
As the Canadian Civil Liberties Association described it: “The Emergencies Act can only be invoked when a situation ‘seriously threatens the ability of the Government of Canada to preserve the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of Canada’ and when the situation ‘cannot be effectively dealt with under any other law of Canada.’”
This column is not to revisit the decision to invoke the act but rather to share my concerns with the process that led up to this decision. To be clear, invoking the Emergencies Act is the most serious action a Canadian government can take against its own citizens.
In this case, some citizens alleged to be involved in the protests had their personal bank accounts frozen based on unverified leaked documents that were reported through some media sources. This was done without formal verification of the facts and no due process whatsoever for those alleged to be involved.
During the Emergencies Act debate in the House of Commons, close to a dozen Liberal MPs, as well as many NDP MPs, claimed an act of “attempted arson” on behalf of the protestors was part of their justification to vote for invoking the act. Ottawa police have stated the allegation against protestors was untrue.
Likewise, some media reported claims of weapons being found at the Ottawa trucker protests. That claim was also cited by many Liberal and NDP MPs as justification for invoking the Emergencies Act. It was proven to be false.
In other words, (some) of the claims argued by the government, and supported by the NDP, to justify invoking the Emergencies Act, were false.
Fortunately, the law that allows for the invocation of the Emergencies Act also requires an independent review of the use of the act must occur after the fact. At the same time, several groups, including the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, are suing the government, claiming the threshold to invoke the Emergencies Act was not met.
It’s a sentiment I share and is the reason why I voted against invoking the act.
Unfortunately the government revealed in the Supreme Court that it will claim cabinet confidence in order to withhold many of the reasons that led to it deciding to invoke the Emergencies Act.
My question this week:
Are you concerned that this Liberal Government decided to invoke the Emergencies Act and is now withholding the reasons why from Canadians?
I can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.
(Editor's note: The federal finance department ordered the frozen bank accounts be unfrozen in late February after the government's nine-day emergency public order under the Emergencies Act was lifted.)
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.