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Dan Albas is the Conservative Party MP for the riding of Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola. This riding includes the communities of Kelowna (specific boundaries), West Kelowna, Peachland, Summerland, Keremeos, Princeton, Merritt and Logan Lake.
Contributions published by KelownaNow reflect only the opinions of those who write them, and not necessarily those of KelownaNow or its staff.
In late April I wrote about the Trudeau Liberal government invoking the Emergencies Act.
I pointed out that many of the reasons that the majority of Liberal and NDP MPs had cited to justify voting for invoking the Emergencies Act had since been proven as false and untrue.
For example, there was no “act of attempted arson” on behalf of the protestors nor were any guns found in Ottawa during the protest.
I further pointed out that the law governing the use of the Emergencies Act also requires that an independent review must occur after the act is invoked.
For the past 28 days now the Public Order Emergency Commission (POEC) has been conducting hearings into the invoking of the Emergencies Act.
This week took a very interesting turn as cabinet ministers took the stand.
While direct questions to the ministers have yielded little useful information as to how the Trudeau Liberal government believed that the legal threshold had been met to invoke the Emergencies Act, the normally confidential and private messages shared between ministers has been far more of interest.
One text message exchanged between the Minister of Public Safety, Minister Marco Mendicino and the Minister of Justice, Minister David Lametti read as follows: “Police have all of the legal authority they need to enforce the law they just need to exercise and do their job."
This was the statement from Minister of Public Safety.
This is particularly relevant as the legal standard to invoke the Emergencies Act is clear.
As the Canadian Civil Liberties Association describes it: “The Emergencies Act can only be invoked when a situation 'seriously threatens the ability of the Government of Canada to preserve the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of Canada' and when the situation 'cannot be effectively dealt with under any other law of Canada.'"
The last part is key “when the situation 'cannot be effectively dealt with under any other law of Canada."
This was precisely the argument that the official opposition, a few Liberal MPs and other academics and legal scholars opposed to invoking the Emergencies Act all referenced.
To hear the Minister of Public Safety state, privately in a text message to the Justice Minister, that “Police have all of the legal authority they need to enforce the law they just need to exercise and do their job” is a candid admission that they knew this situation could be deal with under existing Canadian laws.
If you are following the PEOC in the news, you may have heard that the Director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) David Vigneault confirmed that CSIS did not believe the legal standard had been met to invoke the Emergency Act (as is required under law).
You may have also heard that, in spite of this fact, the CSIS Director still advised PM Trudeau to invoke the Emergency Act.
Why would Mr. Vigneault advise that, given that the legal standard had not been met?
The Commission has been told by the CSIS Director his recommendation was based on a new legal opinion from Justice Canada.
The obvious question is, what was this legal opinion?
Unfortunately, the Trudeau Liberal Government is claiming privilege and refuses to reveal this legal opinion.
My question this week: Considering this new information, do you believe the use of the Emergencies Act was justified?
I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.