Updated: Feb 16
TORONTO: Today the CCF has issued the following statement in response to the announcement that the federal government is invoking the Emergencies Act:
“The CCF is concerned by the federal government's historic invocation of the Emergencies Act today. The government has set a dangerous precedent for the right to free assembly and protest, declaring the protests occurring in Ottawa and elsewhere across the country to be unlawful without any further explanation.
The Emergencies Act may only be invoked in narrow circumstances. The Act defines a national emergency as ‘an urgent and critical situation of a temporary nature that … seriously endangers the lives, health or safety of Canadians and is of such proportions or nature as to exceed the capacity or authority of a province to deal with it.’ Provincial police forces already possess all of the powers necessary to enforce the law and keep the peace, as demonstrated in the Ontario Provincial Police's successful clearing of the Ambassador Bridge. The CCF is especially concerned by the policies announced today surrounding the freezing and seizure of financial assets by crowdfunding platforms and banks. It is not yet clear how these policies will operate, but the new powers are said to grant the ability to banks to freeze or suspend an account without a court order. These measures present the clear opportunity for undermining rights to property and privacy."