It must be clear to all serious political leaders in Canada today that the Emergencies Act has not worked.
The main reason for that, I submit, is that it was poorly constructed in the first place.
Parliament made a grave error when it allowed the Government of the day that would invoke the Act to later appoint the Public Order Commissioner and to set the terms of reference of the inquiry into how effective the Government implementation of the invoking of the Act was.
The principle of conflict of interest was breeched.
A Government given the powers to investigate itself.
Need I remind Parliamentarians of Lord Justice Hewart statements in a case in 1924 where he opined:
“It is not merely of some importance but is of fundamental importance that justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done”.
Justice was not ‘manifestly and undoubtably be seen to be done’ in the recent Canadian context.
As you are all aware you presently operate as Members of Parliament under The Conflict of Interest Act and Code and The Ethics and Conflict of Interest Code for Senators.
I recommend, therefore, that Parliament, the House of Commons and the Senate, strike a Joint Parliamentary Committee to immediately review the present Emergencies Act with its main purpose to restore to Parliament the Power over the implementation of the Pubic Order Commission.
This Committee would conduct hearings in every Provincial and Territorial Capital and the National Capital over the next two years and recommend to Parliament a new Emergencies Act which would render to Parliament the final power over the appointment of a Public Order Commissioner and set the terms of reference for such a Commission. Additionally, the Committee would be mandated to give special attention to the importance of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the conduct of any powers exercised under the Act, and their temporary potential violation in the exercise of the Act, must entail a written justification to Parliament to meet the ‘demonstrably justify’ condition of Section 1 of the Charter. Parliament would decide whether the justification is valid.
Obviously, the Parliamentary Committee would be free to examine all other aspects of the Act and make recommendations, but at its core, the Committee would be mandated to ensure that Parliament was in charge of any examination of the invoking of the Act by Government and that a full and thorough written analysis and justification of any potential temporary Charter breech by Government was tabled in Parliament.
Some would argue that there are still Court proceedings ongoing concerning the Emergencies Act. I would argue that the Country has already witnessed the Emergencies Act failure in its blatant conflict of interest, heard the opinions without evidence from the Chief Justice of Canada and without there being a court appearance, and from various decisions of other Courts where the Charter and Science were ignored. This brings the whole system in disrepute and undermines our Parliamentary System of Government, especially responsible government where our Government leaders are accountable to Parliament.
It is time for the people, through its democratically elected representatives, to restore democracy to our land. Citizens have lost faith in our institutions. This might be the last chance to reform our present system.
Obviously, the Committee would be provided with all the necessary finances and expertise to carry out such a task.
I will send this to the Parliamentary Offices of the leaders.
Hon. A. Brian Peckford P. C.—www.peckford42.wordpress.com
The Honourable A. Brian Peckford P.C. is the last living First Minister who helped craft the charter and Chairman of ‘Taking Back Our Freedoms ‘