Thus, the Trudeau government considered sending tanks against demonstrators.
This is, among other things, what was established at the Rouleau commission yesterday on the invocation of the Emergencies Act against the so-called “freedom convoy” in Ottawa in February.
I couldn’t help but think of Father Trudeau, professor of law by profession, cantor of freedoms, but who shamelessly suspended them in October 1970. And who, in addition, brought in the army at the same time .
Fifty-two years later, the Trudeau son, with his Minister of Justice David Lametti (professor of law by profession), invoked the Emergency Measures Act.
Law certainly softened in 1988, precisely to prevent a skid like that of 1970.
And if there is a commission that studies a posteriori the proclamation of the state of emergency, it is precisely because the new version of the law, rewritten in the Mulroney era, imposes such an exercise. The goal: to ensure that this type of massive intervention is justified and remains exceptional.
The testimony of Minister Lametti was staggering in several respects.
First, this praiser of the charters advocated, as of January 30 (the day after the arrival of the truckers in Ottawa), the invocation of an emergency law.
Then – this is more fundamental – the minister asserted that according to his own “interpretation” of the law, all the criteria were met.
However, this requires the government to demonstrate the existence of a “national crisis”, i.e. a situation which “seriously endangers the life, health or security of Canadians and is beyond the ability or powers intervention by the provinces”. In section 3(b), it is added that this situation “seriously threatens the ability of the Government of Canada to guarantee the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of the country”.
I have no sympathy whatsoever for the truckers and their convoy in January and February, but did they really pose “threats” of such magnitude?
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The Emergencies Act does not imply an explicit suspension of rights. But it still allowed the federal state to trample certain rights. Example: freezing bank accounts. Moreover, Ottawa invoked the law without first trying other solutions.
And it is this same government that howls as soon as a provincial parliament uses the “notwithstanding clause”. Yet a legal tool inscribed in the charters, which is the product of a compromise. Which allows legislatures (for a limited time) to opt out of “interpretations” of rights made by the courts.
When it comes to “derogation” on questions of rights, Lametti, Trudeau and co. act as if the rights were absolute and they give lessons.
But make a noisy demonstration in front of their parliament last a little too long and here they are ready for all the contortions, interpretations, to justify other types of serious derogations. And even think of calling in the army against citizens!