Emergency measures: “What did you do before?” asks the opposition
As the Government of Canada wishes to resort to the Emergency Measures Act< /em>to end the demonstration against sanitary measures which has paralyzed downtown Ottawa for nearly three weeks, two of the main opposition parties accuse him of triggering this historic measure without demonstrating that other actions have been attempted before .
Since Thursday morning, the Canadian Parliament has been debating the merits of using the Emergency Measures Act. If the government motion passes, it would be a first since the law was passed in 1988.
The New Democratic Party (NDP) supports the government of Justin Trudeau in the application of emergency measures although it is “reluctant”, indicated its leader, Jagmeet Singh. The Bloc Québécois and the Conservatives oppose it, however.
What steps before the “last resort”?
On several occasions Thursday afternoon, Conservative and Bloc MPs asked the Liberals what they had tried to do before invoking the Emergencies Act. This law must serve as a “last resort”, underline all the federal elected officials.
“Why, from the start, did you not put in place measures, both political and public security, instead of allowing the blockade that we now know in front of the hill parliamentary?” asked Bloc Québécois MP Louise Chabot in particular.
The Conservatives also questioned the Government of Canada on several occasions about the actions it had taken previously to calm things down.  ;
“The Prime Minister himself has said that this law should not be the first, second or third response. But he couldn’t tell us what his first, second and third responses were that he conjured up. After doing nothing, the Prime Minister is moving on to the most exceptional and extreme measures,” said Conservative MP Eric Melillo.
According to him, the government's invocation of the law is the result of its failure. “Parliament must overturn this decision,” he added.
His colleague Frank Caputo even maintains that the interim leader of the Conservative Party, Candice Bergen, asked Prime Minister Trudeau ten days ago to meet with all the party leaders to put an end to the problem. The request would have gone unheeded.
“Time and time again MPs have asked the question: what was the first step? what was the second step? Radio silence every time. We had some chatter, but no content,” Caputo said.
A “justified” appeal, according to the liberals
For their part, the liberals maintain that the use of the Emergencies Act is “justified” and “proportionate” to the impacts experienced by Canadians.
Their main arguments for invoking it are the protection citizens of Ottawa and limit the impacts of the lockdowns on Canada's economy.
“The lockdowns have caused significant damage to our economy and our democratic institutions. Jobs and Canada's prosperity are at stake. Because of the illegal actions that have been taken, international confidence in Canada as a favorable place for investment is today shaken,” said Liberal MP for Outremont, Rachel Bendayan. .
Recall that the Emergency Measures Actmakes it possible to give the police more powers, but also to block the financing of the protest movement.
A threshold not respected, according to the conservatives
However, the conservatives believe that there are already provisions which allow the authorities to intervene to put an end to illegal barricades without invoking this exceptional law.
“Even without the application of the Emergency Measures Act, protesters can be arrested and charged with participating in all sorts of illegal activities. It is provided for in the Criminal Code,” said Frank Caputo.
He cites as an example the police interventions that have already been carried out, notably in Coutts and Windsor. “What's left? What has been achieved without recourse to the Emergency Measures Act?”, he repeated.
The necessary conditions are met, says the government
To trigger the Emergency Measures Act, the government must meet three conditions.
First, the country must be in a situation that either seriously endangers the life, health or safety of Canadians and exceeds the ability or authority of any province to deal with it, or threatens seriously the ability of the Government of Canada to preserve the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of Canada.
Second, the ability of the provinces to manage the situation must be found to be insufficient or have deficiencies.
And third, the government must conclude that the situation cannot be adequately addressed under any other Canadian law, including provincial and territorial laws.
“Our government believes that these conditions have been met and yesterday we filed an explanation of the reasons for issuing the declaration as required by law,” said Justice Minister and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti.
Amnesty International will be vigilant
Amnesty International intends to closely monitor the use of the Emergencies Act< /em> invoked by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to end a situation that had spiraled out of control.
While the violence and hatred shown by many of the participants in the convoys are worrying, the organization nevertheless believes that the announcement of the use of emergency measures and the changes made to the municipal by-laws of the City of Quebec raise concerns and questions. relating to respect for human rights.
“We will be vigilant in the implementation of these exceptional measures so that they respect human rights”, it was said. affirmed in a press release.
While the Premier of Quebec, François Legault, opposed the application of emergency measures in the province, 72% of Quebecers support the Law on emergency measures, reveals a Maru poll published Thursday morning. In the country, 66% of respondents are in favor of this recourse.
The Ottawa police are preparing an “imminent” action to dislodge the demonstrators and truckers in Ottawa, announced the police chief by acting, Steve Bell, Thursday. “To those who are protesting, if you want to leave on your own, now is the time to do it,” he said.