Thursday, February 24, 2022

Canada’s Trudeau Revokes Use of Emergency Powers

OTTAWA—In a surprise turnaround, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday said his government no longer required emergency powers to deal with protests against Covid-19 restrictions, amid mounting criticism from civil-liberties groups and some Canadian politicians that the use of those measures was an abuse of state power.

1 comment :

  1. Not a surprise. Actually it's an example of the law of unintended consequences.
    The Canadian parliament has 2 houses - the Commons and the Senate. While the Commons is elected, senators are appointed. In our usual half-British half-American way, we have a House of Lords like the UK but call them senators like the Americans.
    Anyhoo, senators until recently were appointed by prime ministers along political lines. Usually it was a reward to a former MP or political hack but it was always along party lines. Liberal PM's appointed Liberals and Conservative PM's appointed Conservatives. Since the Liberals held power for something like 85% of the 20th century, they had a majority in the Senate.
    Senate reform is an issue that comes up repeatedly because people aren't comfortable with the idea of (a) appointed senators and not elected ones and (b) the cost of funding 100 failed politicians and hacks in a lavish lifestyle until they decide to retire. However, real reform is impossible because it would require altering the constitution and that is practically impossible.
    So when Justin became the Liberal leader, but before he became PM, he announced he was going to reform the Senate. He declared the Liberal senate caucus null and voice. "There are no more Liberal senators." (This was a shock to the Liberal senators who apparently found out about this on the TV news, not from him) When he became prime minister he started appointing senators but not former liberals. We got social workers, activists, community leaders and the like. All very liberal, most farther to the left than the mainstream Liberal party. That's when the trouble began.
    See, if you're a Liberal and you owe your job to the leader who appointed you then you tow the party line. The Liberals pass a bill in the Commons, you support it in the Senate. Done. However, these independent senators have refreshingly shown they have no gratitude to Justin for giving them cushy jobs for life. Instead they actually review legislation and demand the Commons change in on multiple occasions.
    And that's what really happened here. The independent senators served notice to Justin that they didn't think he was justified to invoke the Emergency Act and, even though the Commons had passed it, they were likely to reject it which would be a huge embarrassment to him. That's why he suddenly backtracked and, a few days after saying that he would keep it going indefinitely just in case the truckers came back, he announced that the emergency was over.


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