I though the PC’s were the ‘small government,’ ‘free speech’ party.
Justin Trudeau faced widespread – and fully justified – criticism for trying to exploit the CCP Virus pandemic to massively expand his powers.
So, when we see similar actions from the PCs in Ontario, that needs to be condemned as well.
The PCs have been pushing Bill 195, legislation which absurdly both declares the state of emergency to be over, while seeking a permanent extension of government emergency powers.
Here’s what Christine Van Geyn of the Canadian Constitution Foundation had to say about it:
“Why is the province of Ontario making emergency powers permanent while simultaneously declaring the emergency over? This power-grab by the premier is an unjustified violation of Charter protected rights, and citizens should be concerned.
Bill 195, The Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Approach to COVID-19) Act, 2020, was introduced at Queen’s Park on July 7. This proposed legislation would end the state of emergency, which was declared on March 17. But it would simultaneously continue a number of existing emergency orders.”
“Dan Sheppard of Goldblatt Partners has stated that with Bill 195, the “constitutional calculus may have shifted.” In a recent report on the COVID-19 emergency measures, Sheppard stated that “in light of the government’s position that the COVID-19 pandemic no longer constitutes an emergency — at least as that word is defined in the EMPCA — it becomes harder to justify orders that directly conflict with constitutional right(s).” Public policy research shows that changes to emergency powers tend to happen during emergencies. It is how the policy process works. Emergencies are the impetus to the policy cycle.
For this reason, both civil libertarians and unionists should be concerned. Bill 195 is power seeking, but it may be only the beginning. If these intrusions into our rights are not resisted, we may be at the beginning of a new policy cycle that seeks even longer term and larger changes that further limit our rights. Emergency powers should apply only during emergencies, and any attempt to extend them beyond must be described as nothing more than a power-grab.”
Given these serious concerns, and especially given that the PCs ran as a more ‘limited government,’ pro-freedom party, PC MPP Belinda Karahalios voted against the legislation:
NEW: Progressive Conservative MPP Belinda Karahalios voted against her own government today on legislation that gives the Ford government new pandemic-related powers.
— Colin D'Mello (@ColinDMello) July 21, 2020
Note how Karahalios’ makes points similar to what Conservative MPs had said about Justin Trudeau’s attempted power grab.
A pandemic is no excuse to shut down or weaken democracy. In fact, it’s during a crisis that we must be most vigilant to attempts by those in power to weaken our rights. After all, they are supposed to work for us, not dictate or control us.
After voting against the legislation, Karahalios was booted from the PC Caucus:
UPDATE: Karahalios has now been ejected from the PC caucus and will sit as an independent. pic.twitter.com/rBnA0otGep
— Colin D'Mello CTVNews (@ColinDMello) July 21, 2020
This is a disgraceful move by the Ontario PCs.
It is a betrayal of their core members, their volunteers, and their stated values.
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT QUEEN’S PARK: The last few months have been increasingly difficult for those who expected better from @fordnation. And now?@KarahaliosPC has been booted from caucus for opposing the indefinite extension of emergency powers.
This is not what you voted for. pic.twitter.com/54W17w7TPK
— National Citizens Coalition (@NatCitizens) July 21, 2020
By allowing zero room for different opinions or disagreement, and by punishing someone for opposing the expansion of government power, the PCs are showing that they would prefer to act more like the Liberal elites, rather than actually stay true to what their members and supporters expect.
Belinda Karahalios deserves to be praised for standing up for what she thought was right, and we all need to speak out against politicians who try using a crisis to expand their power at our expense, regardless of what party they are in.
Photo – YouTube