So When And How Are We Supposed To Use The Emergencies Act?

Given that I’m about to spend a weekend with a friend with whom I’ve burned no shortage of hours discussing world events, I’m sure this question is going to come up sooner or later. And I have to say, this column from Matt Gurney sums up my feelings pretty well.

You can count me among those who supported it at the time, no question. It was a sad, disappointed support because there was no good reason we should have gotten to that point, but there we were, and something had to be done. Something had to be done, and it had become pretty clear after three damn weeks that neither the city of Ottawa nor the Ontario government was in much of a hurry to do it. Their inaction, either by design or through incompetence, had served to punt the issue up the chain and to their credit, the feds acted. Invoking wartime emergency measures should be the last thing anyone wants to see happen, but this had gone far beyond the point of peaceful protest. A city was crippled, people were being tortured by constant noise, there were armed border blockades, and there was no sign of it packing up and clearing out on its own, much to the chagrin of the wishful thinkers apparently inhabiting city hall and Queen’s Park. In that moment, the government took charge and made a choice. that choice, thank goodness, put an end to the madness.

But now, we have new madness. And as madness goes, it’s pretty bad. We have Emergency Commission hearings that say, reluctantly, that the government was justified in doing what it did. And we also have a Federal Court decision that says, reluctantly, that it wasn’t. No matter which side you fall on, I hope we can all agree that what we need right now is a rubber match. Not because it’s important to be able to say “My side won!”, but because it needs to be set out in the clearest possible terms when inaction becomes inability and what, in future, constitutes a true emergency and a true abuse of power. that line, as we’ve seen, can be a fine one. And it’s imperative that we get some solid direction as to where it is.

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