Reject The Emergencies / War Measures Act
Earlier this week, the federal government invoked the Emergencies Act (formerly known as the War Measures Act) for the first time since 1970.
As a reminder, the War Measures Act was invoked in 1970 because the Quebec nationalist group, Front de libération du Québec, set off over 200 bombs across Quebec, kidnapped a British diplomat, and kidnapped and murdered the Deputy Premier of Quebec, Pierre Laporte.
We highlight this most recent usage of the War Measures Act to explain the extremely high bar required to invoke this massive expansion in government powers, and even then its usage was opposed by the NDP on civil liberties grounds.
Since 1970, Canada has faced many crises in many different forms.
The Emergencies / War Measure Act was not used to resolve the Oka Crisis, a series of protests where multiple deaths and hundreds of injuries occurred, the Calendonia land dispute, the extended blockade of pipelines and railways in 2020 and 2021, the September 11th attacks, or even the COVID-19 pandemic itself.
This is because the Emergencies / War Measures Act contains extremely strict rules about when it may be used.
Just one of these many restrictions says that a crisis must “exceed the capacity or authority of a province to deal with it” before the federal government may step in and take over.
The crisis must also be of a nationwide nature, not restricted to just a small geographic area.
Given all the border blockades across the country were handled and ended by provincial governments before the federal government even invoked the Act, and the only remaining protest is the one in his own backyard in Ottawa, the current protest clearly fails to meet this criteria.
Unfortunately, the nature of the Emergencies / War Measures Act is that it can be initially invoked unilaterally by the government without a vote in Parliament, and a vote in Parliament need only occur if the government wishes to extend the emergency beyond seven days.
While courts may ultimately rule that the Prime Minister's usage of this law was illegal, the requirement to hold a vote in Parliament presents an opportunity to end this government overreach immediately.
The government has already announced that they intend to attempt to extend the emergency by holding a vote in Parliament, but because the government holds only a minority in the Parliament and the Senate, the opposition and independents have a very real opportunity to block the government's plan.
That's why it's vital that we call on every single member of the Parliament of Canada, including Members of Parliament and Senators from all parties, to protect the rights and freedoms of Canadians by rejecting the federal government's invocation of the Emergencies / War Measures Act.
Countless legal experts and civil liberties groups across the country have already denounced the use of this law and called on the government to reverse course.
If you agree, please sign this petition, and encourage all your friends, family, and co-workers to do the same.
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