COVIDIOTs could be deterred by Emergencies Act

One might be intoxicated if they were to drink every time a reporter asked Prime Minister Trudeau whether he will try to invoke the Emergencies Act, R.S.C., 1985, c.22 (4th Supp.).

As cases grow each day and the death toll climbs, we are becomingly justifiably anxious. We grasp at what we can control when trying to tame the unknown. We will use anything and everything to combat this %&*$&#@ virus. Including the Emergencies Act. Each province has stepped up. Invoking the Act would add quarantine powers and persuade a handful of COVIDIOTS to follow the rules. These may be reasons enough to justify its declaration.

COVIDIOTS are those doing their part to ensure the spread of the virus. They are best depicted on spring break in Florida. Drunk, topless, bloodshot eyes and with slurred speech they commented to reporters, “If I get corona I get corona, no one is going to stop me from partying.”

The federal government can declare COVID-19 a “public welfare emergency” and invoke the Emergencies Act. This is a temporary measure that allows the federal government to regulate travel; use or dispose property; order the evacuation of persons; regulate essential goods and services; establish emergency hospitals, among other things.

In order to invoke the Act it requires the approval of the cabinet. It also contains a 90-day sunset clause — this can be renewed.

No, this doesn’t open up a tickle trunk full of untapped resources not yet utilized in our war against the virus. Each province has passed similar measures. But it can expand the powers under the Quarantine Act, requiring certain Canadians (not just those entering Canada), to isolate for 14 days.

The signal it sends is powerful. It says to the COVIDIOTS that this is the final straw. The longer we do not follow the rules the longer we remain incarcerated in our homes without a warrant expiry date.

Trudeau revealed that he and the premiers have discussed the possibility of invoking the Act. The premiers would support its passing.

At the moment each province has passed its version of the Emergency Act. They’ve ordered all nonessential businesses closed, required everyone to stay at home and added fines/possible detention for those who do not comply. We don’t know if any of the provinces are overwhelmed and need help. It’s possible. This is also a requirement of the Act.

Invoking the Emergency Act could do things that provinces can’t do. Sending a message. Creating broad quarantine powers.

What real power does the Act have? The answer is simple: It’s what the Act represents — not the bones of the law — that would make a difference. This is why doctors continue to advocate for its implementation. This is our last resort. All hands on deck. It is a wake-up call needed to deter COVIDIOTS.

Originally published in The Lawyer’s Daily March 27, 2020:

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