When Procurement Minister Anita Anand was asked by Global News journalist Mercedes Stephenson whether the government was considering the Emergencies Act, Anand said the liberal cabinet would reconvene during the weekend and early this week to “consider all options”.
The Canada Emergencies Act is similar to the now-repealed War Measures Act which was only invoked three times in the country’s history, in both world wars and in October 1970 during a wave of separatist terrorism.
The main difference is that in the Emergencies Act, enacted in 1988, the declaration of an emergency by the Cabinet must be reviewed by parliament, and any temporary laws made under the act are subject to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The Emergencies Act would give the liberal government powers to issue executive orders and rapidly reallocate funds.
Rights guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms have been disregarded throughout the pandemic.
Recently, Ontario closed its border to Quebec, which then also closed its border in response.
This prohibition of travel within provinces is in violation of the Charter’s guaranteed Mobility Rights, but the public health emergency has granted provincial governments numerous levers to disregard portions of the Charter.