The premiers of Manitoba, Quebec, and Saskatchewan oppose Trudeau’s power grab.
UPDATE 4:44 PM: Justin Trudeau invokes the Emergencies Act.
“Today, to continue building on these efforts, the federal government is ready to use more tools at its disposal to get the situation fully under control. After discussing with cabinet and caucus, after consultation with premiers from all provinces and territories, after speaking with opposition leaders, the federal government has invoked the Emergencies Act to supplement provincial and territorial capacity to address the blockades and occupations. I want to be very clear: the scope of these measures will be time-limited, geographically targeted, as well as reasonable and proportionate to the threats they are meant to address. The Emergencies Act will be used to strengthen and support law enforcement agencies at all levels across the country. This is about keeping Canadians safe, protecting people’s jobs, and restoring confidence in our institutions.”
Oh my fucking goodness: Canada's Deputy Prime Minister says that, as part of the Emergencies Act, they are broadening Canada's "Terrorist Financing" rules so that they cover crowdfunding platforms and cryptocurrencies to the Canadian Freedom Convoy pic.twitter.com/35bXSu4k6j
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) February 14, 2022
Rebel News reported that three premiers oppose Trudeau’s action: Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson, and Quebec Premier Francois Legault.
Legault said: “We don’t want it in the Quebec territory.”
Therefore, Saskatchewan does not support the Trudeau government invoking the Emergencies Act.
If the federal government does proceed with this measure, I would hope it would only be invoked in provinces that request it, as the legislation allows.
— Scott Moe (@PremierScottMoe) February 14, 2022
I am proud of Manitoba’s law enforcement officials & have full confidence in them to protect our communities. The proposal from the federal government to use the Emergencies Act is not helpful to the situation at the Emerson Border. https://t.co/oHnAACALLz #mbpoli
— Heather Stefanson (@HStefansonMB) February 14, 2022
Canadian Prime MinisterTrudeau wants to invoke the Emergencies Act to fight those in the Freedom Convoy because they won’t bend the knee.
Sources told Global News:
One national security source and one source that participated in a Monday morning Liberal national caucus meeting said the government is poised to invoke the act and that senior officials are preparing for an imminent announcement.
Multiple sources have also told Global News federal officials are weighing options for the military to help law enforcement with logistics. But there is no plan at this time, according to the sources, to have the military help police in dealing with civilians or deploying into the streets.
It’s the first time a prime minister has invoked the Emergencies Act. Daddy Trudeau used the war Measures Act in 1970 after terrorist attacks in Quebec. But the government repealed and replaced that law in 1988.
Now Canada has the Emergencies Act to combat four emergency situations: public welfare, public order, international emergencies, and war emergencies.”
The Emergencies Act gives powers to the federal government:
- the ability to “regulate or prohibit public assembly that may reasonably be expected to lead to a breach of the peace, travel, or the use of property”
- the ability to “designate and secure protected places”
- the ability to “assume the control, restoration and maintenance of public utilities and services”
- the ability to “authorize or direct the provision of essential services and the provision of reasonable compensation”
- the ability to “impose on summary conviction a fine not exceeding $500 or imprisonment not exceeding six months or both, or on indictment, a fine not exceeding $5,000 or imprisonment not exceeding five years, or both, for any breach of an order or regulation”
Trudeau has to meet with his provincial cabinet. Then he will release a proclamation.
As soon as Trudeau invokes the Emergencies Act it will go into effect. However, Parliament must receive a motion for the emergency within seven days.
The motion for the emergency must survive the House of Commons and the Senate. If it does not then it will end.
If Parliament votes for the motion it will expire after 30 days.
So will Parliament agree with Trudeau? The Emergencies Act has strict language, for obvious reasons, especially when it comes to attacking protests:
The criteria are strict: to qualify as a public order emergency, a situation must meet the definition of “threats to the security of Canada” as outlined in the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act — or the act that regulates the powers of the country’s intelligence agency.
That legislation is clear in its definition of “threats to the security of Canada” that “lawful” protests do not qualify, and outlines four possible scenarios:
- “espionage or sabotage that is against Canada or is detrimental to the interests of Canada or activities directed toward or in support of such espionage or sabotage”
- “foreign influenced activities within or relating to Canada that are detrimental to the interests of Canada and are clandestine or deceptive or involve a threat to any person”
- “activities within or relating to Canada directed toward or in support of the threat or use of acts of serious violence against persons or property for the purpose of achieving a political, religious or ideological objective within Canada or a foreign state”
- “activities directed toward undermining by covert unlawful acts, or directed toward or intended ultimately to lead to the destruction or overthrow by violence of, the constitutionally established system of government in Canada.”
It’s all weird because Trudeau said he will only release the military as a last resort. Greg Taylor, a former member of the Canadian army and now a provincial emergency manager and consultant, wrote at the National Post it won’t be easy for Trudeau to convince others he needs to invoke the act, especially since protests are affecting only one province:
Section 3 of the Act defines a national emergency as “an urgent and critical situation of a temporary nature that … seriously endangers the lives, health or safety of Canadians and is of such proportions or nature as to exceed the capacity or authority of a province to deal with it.”
If we just look narrowly at that definition do provinces have the authority to deal with the current protests? Yes. Constitutionally they are responsible for enforcing criminal law and maintaining public order. They establish and regulate provincial and municipal police services. They or their municipalities can declare an emergency in their jurisdictions, as Ottawa and Ontario have done. And in dire circumstances — a “riot or disturbance” — they can even requisition armed soldiers for “aid of the civil power” by invoking Part VI of the National Defence Act.
Do provinces have the capacity to deal with the current protests? Yes, but their municipal police services might need help with additional resources such as funding, specialized capabilities like police with public order (i.e. riot control) training and equipment, or simply more constables for routine policing to give their own officers some rest. That help, as we have seen, is already being provided to Ottawa Police by other services — municipal, provincial and even RCMP, without a national emergency declaration, and Windsor police were aided by other forces in clearing the blockade of the Ambassador Bridge over the weekend.
It’s difficult to declare a national emergency if only one province is affected, because that province under Section 25 (3) of the Act must state they don’t have the authority or capacity to solve the problem. Is the Ontario Premier — or any other premier for that matter — going to state that?
Jack Lindsay, a professor in the applied disaster and emergency studies department at Manitoba’s Brandon University, explained that Trudeau’s first hurdle will be proving the convoy is a national emergency and a threat to Canada’s security.
But here’s the kicker. The federal government cannot take over the provincial police department:
“They do have the grounds to regulate and prohibit public assembly and travel and then regulate or prohibit the use of specific properties,” he said.
“I suppose they could put out regulations about where semi-trailers are allowed to park overnight, for example. They can designate protected places like the Ambassador’s Bridge or something.”
The government can also order or direct any person to render services with compensation, said Lindsay, which could in theory be used to tow trucks blocking streets downtown.
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