Former Defense Minister Perrin Beatty, who drafted the Emergency Act in the 1980s as an alternative to the controversial War Measures Act, said transparency was important in a government investigation into the exercise of emergency authority earlier this year. I am saying.
The investigation may be able to draw conclusions without compromising the confidence of the Cabinet, but it is up to the Liberal Party government to be transparent enough to convince Canadians that measures are needed, Beatty said in Canada. Said in a recent interview with the press.
“If you don’t have it [transparency]That way, people will always suspect that something has been withheld, “he said.
“Trusting us” is not enough to earn the trust of the people at the end of the day. “
Beatty said transparency is an important issue in the War Measures Act, the predecessor of the Emergency Act, urging the need for a new incarnation.
“The government essentially said,’If only you know what we know, you will support the enforcement of that law,'” Beatty said of the War Measures Act.
“It was in my mind when we introduced the new law. We needed the highest level of transparency possible to secure public trust.”
Beatty’s efforts as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has begun investigating the use of the emergency law, but the government has not promised to publish details of the private discussions that led to the enforcement of the emergency law. Is currently being tried.
Trudeau enacted an emergency law on February 14 in response to the abolition of federal COVID-19 obligations and restrictions, and the Freedom Convoy protest sought support for the rights and freedoms of the Canadian Charter.
In a three-week protest, a large convoy of truck drivers and supporters gathered in the capital from late January. Parallel protests and blockades across some major Canadian-US borders have also begun in solidarity with the truck convoy, but most have ended by the time the law comes into force.
The emergency measures have wiped out additional authority, including the physical exclusion of the remaining protesters. The law also allowed financial institutions to freeze the accounts of protesters or convoy supporters who donated money for their purposes without court order.
On May 3, the Treasury did not confirm that financial institutions were taking appropriate measures, but instead confirmed that they were “in good faith” in freezing their accounts.
In developing an emergency law, Beatty set out to create a new law with more checks and balances to curb potential abuse of power. One of those checks was a compulsory investigation that must be initiated within 60 days of a state emergency. declaration.
On April 25, the government appointed Judge Paul Rouleau of the Ontario Court of Appeals to lead the investigation and report lessons learned on how to avoid the use of this law in the future.
The announcement in the lobby of the West Block of Parliament began a series of exchanges between government ministers, opposition members, and the media on the purpose of the investigation and the amount of information Roulo could access.
Public Security Minister Marco Mendicino did not say whether the investigation would determine whether the government justified the law in the first place, but Beatty said it was a compulsory investigation as part of the law. Said that it was the purpose of including.
“Is it right to call the act in the first place? Did you meet the expected high thresholds required by the law?” Beatty said.
On May 3, Mendicino again asks if the government intends to abandon the cabinet’s credibility for an emergency law investigation, that is, if it intends to hold a secret debate exclusively for the minister. Was done.
“We empowered Judge Roulo to enforce witnesses, information and documents. To be fair, we thought he would have access to sensitive information,” he said. Added that he would work with the judge. This is to maintain transparency. “
However, Rouleau has not so far requested sensitive information.
Before being replaced by the new law, the War Measures Act was used three times in history. It’s during the crisis in October, and between World War I and World War II.
According to Beatty, old law allowed human rights abuses, including the imprisonment of Japanese Canadians during World War II.
In contrast, the goal of the Emergency Act is to understand how to protect Canadian civil rights in the worst of circumstances, and therefore the expiration date of government authority, requirements for parliamentary approval, courts, and. Compulsory investigation.
“The only thing I can say as the author of this act is that wherever you have extraordinary power, you must have extraordinary accountability,” Beatty said.
Canadian Press contributed to this report.