Emergencies Act Commission Report Sets A Dangerous Precedent

The threshold for the use of significant government power has been lowered. Those cheering this on now may not be so pleased when another government is in office.

Commissioner Paul Rouleau has released his findings after the many weeks of testimony at the Emergencies Act Inquiry.

Despite multiple officials making clear that the government did not meet the CSIS threshold for invoking the Act, Rouleau stated that the government could consider a ‘broader’ threshold, and was justified in invoking the act based on what could have happened.

The ruling – which is not a significant surprise given Rouleau’s long-term connections to the Liberal Party – sets a dangerous precedent.

And while many Liberal partisans will cheer on the ruling, all Canadians should consider the implications.

The best way to consider this is to imagine how Liberal/NDP partisans would react if a Conservative Prime Minister used the Emergencies Act against left-wing protestors.

Imagine for a moment that it’s 2026, and the world security situation has deteriorated further. Imagine if the government deemed it necessary to our national security to push through a pipeline from West to East, to more easily supply our allies and ensure that we ceased all imports of oil from Saudi Arabia.

What if some left-wing environment protestors blocked pipeline construction sites.

Would a Conservative PM be justified in claiming that national security concerns and the threat to the country of having the pipeline construction slowed would justify the use of the Emergencies Act?

Would a Conservative PM be justified in seizing the bank accounts of anti-pipeline protestors?

You can be sure that left-wing protestors would denounce a Conservative PM as a dictator for taking such actions.

The issue is that the CSIS definition of the threshold necessary to invoke the Emergencies Act provided a clear “yes or no” answer to whether the use of the Act was justified.

By creating a more vague, nebulous, and open-to-interpretation threshold for invoking the Act – based more upon how politicians feel – makes it much easier for a government to use extensive government power in the future.

Since no political party in a democracy stays in power forever, we must always consider that the shoe will be on the other foot one day, and those cheering on today’s Emergencies Act Commission ruling could very well regret the long-term consequences for the nation.

Spencer Fernando

Photo – YouTube


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