More than thirty lawyers from across Canada have signed an open letter urging all Members of Parliament and Senators to reject the use of the Emergencies Act. The letter argues:
The Emergencies Act is designed for use in rare circumstances. We do not believe that the current circumstances warrant its unprecedented invocation.
The rule of law is a fundamental principle of our constitutional order and requires that the government be bound by the law. It appears that the government has enacted an Emergency Declaration where it has not met the strict criteria permitting it to do so.
Our Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadians’ freedom to peacefully assemble, free expression, and the right to due process before and under the law. While these are subject to “reasonable limits,” we have concerns about the discretion that law enforcement officials can and may exercise to infringe upon these rights and freedoms, and that the mere invocation of an emergency may be used to justify breaches of these rights and freedoms.
We are also concerned that future federal governments will use the current emergency to justify emergency measures against Canadians’ peaceful political and ideological activities, and against those who might simply oppose the government of the day.
For these reasons, we call upon you to reject the Emergency Declaration when it comes to a vote in Parliament.
You may read the full letter here.
If you have not already done so, we encourage you to make your voice heard, too! Email or phone your member of parliament to share your concerns with them!