In case readers here think that the Emergencies Act was a Liberal creation, the answer is no. It came into effect in 1988, under “Conservative” Prime Minster, Brian Mulroney. It looks like the current head, Erin O’Toole, is on board with imposing these types of measures. So much for valuing individual rights.
The actual freedoms that can be stripped away are very similar to the 2005 Quarantine Act, enacted by Liberal Paul Martin. Now, what does this act actually say?
30 (1) While a declaration of an international emergency is in effect, the Governor in Council may make such orders or regulations with respect to the following matters as the Governor in Council believes, on reasonable grounds, are necessary for dealing with the emergency:
(a) the control or regulation of any specified industry or service, including the use of equipment, facilities and inventory;
(b) the appropriation, control, forfeiture, use and disposition of property or services;
(c) the authorization and conduct of inquiries in relation to defence contracts or defence supplies as defined in the Defence Production Act or to hoarding, overcharging, black marketing or fraudulent operations in respect of scarce commodities, including the conferment of powers under the Inquiries Act on any person authorized to conduct such an inquiry;
(d) the authorization of the entry and search of any dwelling-house, premises, conveyance or place, and the search of any person found therein, for any thing that may be evidence relevant to any matter that is the subject of an inquiry referred to in paragraph (c), and the seizure and detention of any such thing;
(e) the authorization of or direction to any person, or any person of a class of persons, to render essential services of a type that that person, or a person of that class, is competent to provide and the provision of reasonable compensation in respect of services so rendered;
(f) the designation and securing of protected places;
(g) the regulation or prohibition of travel outside Canada by Canadian citizens or permanent residents within the meaning of subsection 2(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and of admission into Canada of other persons;
Being allowed to seize or heavily control the means of production basically amounts to socialism. Property rights would end as they can either be entered, or outright seized, without genuine grounds (like getting a warrant). Mobility rights would become non-existent as travel and movement can be stopped almost entirely.
Part (e) comes across as a form of compelled labour. But don’t worry, there will be compensation afterwards.
While this act does mention several different types of emergencies, they are very similar in what freedoms get suspended.
Marginal note: Protection from personal liability
47 (1) No action or other proceeding for damages lies or shall be instituted against a Minister, servant or agent of the Crown, including any person providing services pursuant to an order or regulation made under subsection 8(1), 19(1), 30(1) or 40(1), for or in respect of any thing done or omitted to be done, or purported to be done or omitted to be done, in good faith under any of Parts I to IV or any proclamation, order or regulation issued or made thereunder.
Marginal note: Crown not relieved of liability
(2) Subsection (1) does not relieve the Crown of liability for the acts or omissions described therein and the Crown is liable under the Crown Liability Act or any other law as if that subsection had not been enacted.
Marginal note: Compensation
48 (1) Subject to subsection (2) and the regulations made under section 49, the Minister shall award reasonable compensation to any person who suffers loss, injury or damage as a result of any thing done, or purported to be done, under any of Parts I to IV or any proclamation, order or regulation issued or made thereunder.
Marginal note: Release
(2) No compensation shall be paid to a person unless that person, in consideration of the compensation, signs, in a form provided by the Minister, a release of any right of action that the person may have against the Crown as a result of any thing done, or purported to be done, under any of Parts I to IV or any proclamation, order or regulation issued or made thereunder.
Marginal note: Subrogation
(3) The Crown is subrogated to all rights of any person to whom compensation is paid to recover damages in respect of the loss, injury or damage for which the compensation is paid and may maintain an action in the name of that person or in the name of the Crown against any person against whom the action lies.
No politician or official shall be held personally liable for anything they have done, as long as they acted, or “claim” to have acted in good faith.
Furthermore, if you want any compensation whatsoever, you will be required to sign a waiver of responsibility for every person who make be responsible.
Orders and Regulations
Marginal note: Tabling in Parliament
61 (1) Subject to subsection (2), every order or regulation made by the Governor in Council pursuant to this Act shall be laid before each House of Parliament within two sitting days after it is made.
Marginal note: Reference to Committee
(2) Where an order or regulation made pursuant to this Act is exempted from publication in the Canada Gazette by regulations made under the Statutory Instruments Act, the order or regulation, in lieu of being laid before each House of Parliament as required by subsection (1), shall be referred to the Parliamentary Review Committee within two days after it is made or, if the Committee is not then designated or established, within the first two days after it is designated or established.
Typically, orders would have be published, such as in the Canada Gazette. This ensures some transparency, whether or not people agree with the content. However, the Emergencies Act provides an exemption from publication. This is the sort of thing that really demands open discussion.
Parliamentary Review Committee
Marginal note: Review by Parliamentary Review Committee
62 (1) The exercise of powers and the performance of duties and functions pursuant to a declaration of emergency shall be reviewed by a committee of both Houses of Parliament designated or established for that purpose.
Marginal note: Membership
(2) The Parliamentary Review Committee shall include at least one member of the House of Commons from each party that has a recognized membership of twelve or more persons in that House and at least one senator from each party in the Senate that is represented on the committee by a member of the House of Commons.
Marginal note: Oath of secrecy
(3) Every member of the Parliamentary Review Committee and every person employed in the work of the Committee shall take the oath of secrecy set out in the schedule.
Marginal note: Meetings in private
(4) Every meeting of the Parliamentary Review Committee held to consider an order or regulation referred to it pursuant to subsection 61(2) shall be held in private.
Marginal note: Revocation or amendment of order or regulation
(5) If, within thirty days after an order or regulation is referred to the Parliamentary Review Committee pursuant to subsection 61(2), the Committee adopts a motion to the effect that the order or regulation be revoked or amended, the order or regulation is revoked or amended in accordance with the motion, effective on the day specified in the motion, which day may not be earlier than the day on which the motion is adopted.
How can there be any accountability, if all of the politicians are sworn to secrecy? Sure, they aren’t really accountable to begin with, but now they have an excuse not to answer.
Now, a report does have to be filed within 1 year of the “emergency” being deemed over. However, that’s cold comfort for those whose livelihoods have been destroyed.