Emergencies Act, now what?

 

Background

On February 14th Trudeau invoked the never before used Emergencies Act.

There are four types of emergencies listed in the Emergencies Act: a public welfare emergency, a public order emergency, an international emergency, and a war emergency. In this case, the government has declared a public order emergency.

The Liberals declared a public order emergency to deal with the current protests. A public order emergency, “means an emergency that arises from threats to the security of Canada and that is so serious as to be a national emergency (Part II, 16).”

The emergency declaration is considered effective the date that it is issued, but there must be a motion of confirmation in the House within seven days.

Once the motion is brought forward in Parliament, the House will consider and debate the motion without interruption. Once the House is ready for the question of the motion, the Speaker will put the motion to a vote.

If the House votes against the motion, the declaration of emergency is revoked effective the day of the negative vote.

What about the vote?

Although the Act is effective as soon as it is issued, within 7 days it must be put before Parliament. The Liberals brought the motion to the House on Wednesday February 16, and the debate will take place until Monday Feb. 21. NDP Leader, Jagmeet Singh, has already announced the NDP will support the Liberals in Parliament for their emergency declaration.

Conservatives have been challenging the Liberal government’s invocation of the Emergencies Act. There is no justification of the invoking the act which has massive repercussions and is an unprecedented overreach of power.

Unless the NDP change their perspective on this Act, as indicated by their Leader, they will support the Liberal motion for it’s continuation for 30 days and it will likely pass with majority support.

What are the next steps?

As mentioned, as MPs we will be given the opportunity to debate and vote on this Act within seven days. If it passes, Parliament can also reconsider a declaration of emergency fully or a portion of it, if a motion is brought forward in the House of Commons with the signatures of 20 members of the House of Commons or 10 members of the Senate. Parliament must consider this motion within 3 days (59(1)). The motion cannot be debated for more than 10 hours and, upon expiry, the Speaker will put the motion to a vote. If the motion is passed, the declaration of emergency and its accompanying powers is revoked.

Final thoughts

We have a Liberal government which continues to disrespect Parliament. Trudeau took The Speaker to court rather than hand over documents ordered by Parliament, has collapsed debate on important legislation, filibustered committees to avoid answering serious questions, shut down Parliament during a health crisis, interfered in a criminal investigation into SNC Lavalin and has given itself the power to rule by decree.

There is a lot of broken trust between Canadians and the government when it comes to whether or not there is confidence in the Liberal’s ability to use legislation properly and not abuse their authority.

Parliament exists to challenge, to question, to reflect, to analyze and to make laws better. We need to protect our democracy by protecting our democratic institutions. That is what we will do. While our opportunities are limited as Opposition, we will use all the tools in our tool belt – we will continue to ask the tough question, demand for transparency and I will vote against implementing the Emergencies Act.

 

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