Please, Your Worship, say it ain’t so

Jim Watson, the Right Worshipful Mayor of Canada’s capital Ottawa, has declared an emergency. The city is overwhelmed by the huge crowds of protesting truckers, he said, and their protests are illegal. Why? Because the Prime Minister said so.

One funny angle: the mainstream media are claiming – in tune with the Prime Minister – that the protesting truckers form a fringe minority. Claiming that without mentioning the real figures proves what now everybody knows: today’s mainstream media are a bunch of corrupt liars, bribed by the federal government using money stolen from taxpayers.

Ottawa’s Mayor can’t have it both ways: either the protesters form a fringe minority, or his city is overwhelmed.

That the imposition is, in and of itself more than borderline illegal, is yet another matter.

Here’s why:

The Emergency Canada that replaced the War Measures Act in 1988 is very specific about the rules and reasons.

Whether that’s because Pierre Elliott Trudeau (today’s would-be despot’s own Dad) abused its legal predecessor, the War Measures Act when dealing with the so-called October Crisis in Quebec in 1970 remains a matter that could be debated.

In any case, the Emergency Act differs in two major ways from its predecessor.

First of all, if and when the government decide to declare emergency, their decision must pass through both legislative chambers (the Commons and the Senate).

As importantly, any temporary laws made under the act are subject to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

What does this mean? Here’s what: any time the government tries to suspend the civil rights in Canada, even in an emergency, their decision will be subject to the “reasonable and justified” test under section 1 of the Charter.

There are four types of emergencies listed under the act: a public welfare emergency; a public order emergency; an international emergency; and a war emergency.

The law makes sure to mention that its rules extend to similar cases within the smallest of Canadian jurisdictions.

As you can see, this text includes links to the Charter itself, to the lists of civil rights, and to the Charter section to be tested.

Jim Watson’s declaration does not meet any of the demands mentioned in law.

Why?

Who knows.

In any case, I would urge my readers to share their views with His Worship, Jim Watson at his e-mail address: jim.watson@ottawa.ca.

I did write to him on Monday, February 7, 2022. True, I haven’t heard back yet, and it’s late evening, Tuesday, February 8, 2022, closing in on midnight in Ottawa, but why lose hope?

In any case, if you DO decide to write to him, please don’t abuse him. Be polite, just as the myth keeps saying we Canadians all are.

And if you DO write, don’t forget to say Hi from me and tell him that I am anxiously awaiting his reply.

Thanks.

Herewith my sentiments:

—————————————————————————————

Sir,

The news that you, as Mayor of Ottawa, have imposed state of emergency on Canada’s capital is worse than surprising. It is shocking.

From what one sees and hears from eyewitnesses, the truckers who object to current government policies have been anything and everything they can to be helpful wherever they happen to be.

They are only using their constitutional right to express their point of view. That it happens to contradict the views of Canada’s powers-that-be is not shocking: views and opinions are here to differ, so we can debate them.

The other shocking matter is that a Prime Minister who is responsible to his voters is hiding from them. He is hiding from those who are paying his wage and perks.

But that’s another point.

I wonder to what extent you have consulted with your legal counsel: the Emergency Act is quite specific about reasons when a state like this can be imposed. It seems that none of the pre-conditions set in law has been met.

One understands that you may be under enormous pressure: Ottawa, as our capital, after all, has a special status, and the federal government has a lot of say into anything and everything that happens in your city.

Still, here is what a courageous person would do: call a news conference to announce to all and sundry that this or that person in this or that position of power has tried to intimidate you into doing something so blatantly incomprehensible as declaring state of emergency in Ottawa. This is no pipe dream: I have witnessed quite a few people, politicians included, do precisely that under circumstances similar to yours.

I wish you courage and strength to do the right thing and rescind the emergency state order.

Sincerely,

—————————————————————————————

End of quote.

Stay of good cheer and remember: hope dies last.

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