How Does The Ottawa Police Keep A Straight Face?
The OPS Is Absurdly Enabling A Lawless, Fascist Regime
Update: The Canada Gazette has in fact published the requisite proclamation for invoking the Emergencies Act. The formalities of the law have thus been met, although the legal foundations for the proclamation remain dubious and problematic.
I am almost tempted to feel sorry for the Ottawa Police Service—almost, that is.
Think about it…how would you feel approaching a major political protest and tell them if they don't leave at once you will cite them all for criminal mischief? And “this time” you're actually serious?
Oh, and you have to keep a straight face when you tell the protesters that their disagreement with Prime-Minister-in-hiding Justin Trudeau is a National Emergency, so their rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms are “temporarily” suspended.
No wonder Peter Sloly resigned. At least he saved himself that last embarrassment.
What Is “Mischief”?
In that peculiar argot reflexively employed by professional legislators, “mischief" is actually a category of offenses under the Canadian Criminal Code, outlined in detail within Section 430:
430 (1) Every one commits mischief who wilfully
(a) destroys or damages property;
(b) renders property dangerous, useless, inoperative or ineffective;
(c) obstructs, interrupts or interferes with the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property; or
(d) obstructs, interrupts or interferes with any person in the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property.
Depending on the target of the mischief, the penalties can range from fines, to a brief jail sentence, to up to ten years in prison:
(3) Every one who commits mischief in relation to property that is a testamentary instrument or the value of which exceeds five thousand dollars
(a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years; or
(b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.
(4) Every one who commits mischief in relation to property, other than property described in subsection (3),
(a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or
(b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.
This is Justin Trudeau's “National Emergency.” Seriously.
Arguably, the OPS are technically correct. Disrupting traffic and interfering with established businesses can be counted as the crime of mischief. However, other than outright vandalism, it is difficult to see how any activity arising from an otherwise lawful protest could occasion the maximum sentences allowable under the statute. However, given the reluctance of the OPS to make any arrests, it is difficult to envision the Freedom Convoy members engaging in any greater criminality than serial traffic violations and violations of local noise ordinances.
As I pointed out at the beginning of the Canadian Revolution, even the OPS acknowledged that the Freedom Convoy is a peaceful protest. In a free society such as what Canada claims to be, peaceful protest is not merely lawful but is a protected fundamental right.
The OPS Mis-states The Emergencies Act
In their most recent statements urging the truckers to leave, the Ottawa Police Service also apparently managed to get the law wrong as well.
The Federal Emergencies Act allows for the regulation or prohibition of travel to, from or within any specified area. This means that anyone coming to Ottawa for the purpose of joining the ongoing demonstration is breaking the law. The act also provides police with a number of measures including the ability to seize vehicles that are part of this demonstration.
Except the Emergencies Act does not actually say that. Section 19(a) establishes the following authorities regarding travel to and within designated areas:
(a) the regulation or prohibition of
(i) any public assembly that may reasonably be expected to lead to a breach of the peace,
(ii) travel to, from or within any specified area, or
(iii) the use of specified property;
The Emergencies Act also provides explicit protections both for Canadians’ fundamental rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as the Canadian Bill of Rights, as well as explicitly carving out general exemptions for lawful peaceful protests and assemblies. By restricting the definition of a Public Order Emergency to “threats to the security of Canada” as defined by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act, the Emergencies Act by definition cannot apply to peaceful protests and assemblies, no matter how politically inconvenient they may be.
Put simply, it is not possible, owing to the explicit text of the law, for the Ottawa Police Service to interdict travel to Ottawa for the purpose of political protest only. The OPS may shut down the capital entirely as a means of restoring public order, but the authority of the Emergencies Act does not include regulating travel to Ottawa based on intent.
Is The Emergencies Act Even In Effect?
There is also a question of whether the Emergencies Act has even been actually invoked. In Trudeau's statements to the press, as reported by the press, the Prime-Minister-in-hiding said he would be invoking the Act (future progressive tense), not that he is invoking the Act (present progressive tense).
Trudeau said the measures will be geographically targeted and "reasonable and proportionate to the threats they are meant to address.”
The verb tenses are critical because they determine whether or not the Emergencies Act is formally in effect. Announcing intent is semantically and legally distinct from announcing an action.
Moreover, the Act itself explicitly requires Trudeau to specify what extra authorities he is assuming (and then delegating to law enforcement agencies).
(2) A declaration of a public order emergency shall specify
(a) concisely the state of affairs constituting the emergency;
(b) the special temporary measures that the Governor in Council anticipates may be necessary for dealing with the emergency; and
(c) if the effects of the emergency do not extend to the whole of Canada, the area of Canada to which the effects of the emergency extend.
Where is the declaration or proclamation issued by the Prime-Minister-in-hiding establishing both the required delineation of the emergency and the extra authorities being claimed? As of this writing, there is nothing on the Prime Minister's web site which gives these details, nothing published in the Canada Gazette, and nothing reported by the media. As far as I am able to determine (and I freely acknowledge I may be overlooking a crucial publication site), the detailed declaration explicitly required by the Emergencies Act has not been made, which means that, as of this writing, the Emergencies Act is not actually in effect.
If this is indeed the case, the OPS is exercising authority it has not been given, and arguably could not be given.
The presumption that the Act is in effect is further undermined by the several provincial premieres opposed to its invocation. In particular, Quebec Premier François Legault has declared his opposition to use of the Emergencies Act within his province:
"I think that I was very clear with the prime minister that the federal Emergencies Act should not, must not apply in Quebec," Legault said.
"We don't have any problems in Quebec so far. The Sureté du Québec has everything under control," Legault said, referring to largely peaceful protests that unfolded in Montreal over the weekend and in Quebec City the previous weekend.
As with earlier reporting, the verb tenses employed by Legault indicate the Act has not been invoked yet, even though Trudeau has made plain his intention to do so. Trudeau might even think he already has invoked the Act merely by announcing his intent, but I have not seen where he has complied with the clear notification requirements of the statute.
I will reiterate here that I am not a lawyer, much less a Canadian lawyer. It may be that my reading of the applicable statutes is incorrect, and that Trudeau's statement to the media is the requisite notice for invocation.
However, Christine Von Geyn of the Canadian Constitution Foundation is a Canadian lawyer, and she questions whether the legal threshold for invoking the Emergencies Act has even been met.
Canadian Constitution Foundation lawyer Christine Van Geyn told True North’s Andrew Lawton that Trudeau likely lacks the legitimate grounds for invoking the Emergencies Act.
“The threshold for actually invoking the Emergencies Act may not have been met in this case,” said Van Geyn on “The Andrew Lawton Show” on True North on Tuesday. “While perhaps there is some evidence that the government is relying on that we don’t have access to, there’re really specific things that the act requires in order for it to be invoked.”
Van Geyn said that in order for the act to be invoked for a public order emergency, there have to be threats to Canada’s territorial integrity, espionage, and sabotage.
This is also the opinion of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association:
The federal government has not met the threshold necessary to invoke the Emergencies Act. This law creates a high and clear standard for good reason: the Act allows government to bypass ordinary democratic processes. This standard has not been met.
The Emergencies Act can only be invoked, according to its own terms, when a situation “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,” or “seriously threatens the ability of the Government of Canada to preserve the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of Canada” and when the situation “cannot be effectively dealt with under any other law of Canada.”
The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms concurs.
“Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau used the War Measures Act in 1970 to deal with violence, kidnapping and murder committed by terrorists in Quebec. Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is considering using the Emergencies Act to deal with bouncy castles and ball hockey,” says lawyer Jay Cameron, Litigation Director at the Justice Centre.
“Peaceful protesters who feed the homeless, shovel snow, pick up garbage, dance in the streets, play street hockey, wave Canadian flags, sing the national anthem and set up bouncy castles for children do not ‘seriously endanger the lives, health or safety of Canadians,’ nor are these peaceful activities ‘of such proportions or nature as to exceed the capacity or authority of a province to deal with it’,” states Mr. Cameron.
Thus, even if the formalities for invoking the Act have been satisfied, multiple Canadian lawyers and legal advocacy groups argue the legal threshold for invoking the Act has not been met, which renders the invocation either null and void or simply unlawful.
The Ottawa Police Must Keep Up The Pretense
Such is the absurd backdrop for Ottawa Police actions and statements regarding the Freedom Convoy. They are in the surreal position of declaring criminal mischief a grave threat to Canada, of ignoring their own statements that the Freedom Convoy is a peaceful protest (and thus lawful), and that anyone giving any aid to the Freedom Convoy is guilty of facilitating criminal mischief.
Supporting the Freedom Convoy is a conspiracy to commit traffic jams. That is the absurdist logic of the OPS. And the officers themselves have to defend that logic with a straight face.
Trudeau Has Abandoned The Police
For his part, Justin Trudeau continues to inflame the situation with his policy of “do unto others, then run.” After fleeing Ottawa even before the Freedom Convoy arrived, Trudeau has maintained that habit of running away in the face of spirited opposition and heckling by members of Parliament.
His latest statesmanlike showing of the Prime Ministerial backside came after he artlessly accused a Conservative MP who happens to be both Jewish and descended from survivors of the Nazi Holocaust of “standing with people who wave swastikas.”
[Melissa] Lantsman, who became the first Jewish woman to be elected as a Conservative MP last October, read a 2015 quote from Trudeau when he said, "If Canadians are going to trust their government, their government needs to trust Canadians."
Lantsman contrasted such a sentiment with Trudeau characterizing members of the Freedom Convoy as "very often misogynistic, racist, women-haters, science-deniers, the fringe." Accusing him of fanning "the flames of an unjustified national emergency," Lantsman demanded to know "When did the prime minister lose his way?"
"Conservative Party members can stand with people who wave swastikas, they can stand with people who wave the Confederate flag," Trudeau said in response. "We will choose to stand with Canadians who deserve to be able to get to their jobs, to be able to get their lives back. These illegal protests need to stop, and they will."
Pretty much the entire Conservative caucus erupted in anger at that remark, and Speaker of the House of Commons Anthony Rota attempted to restore order by rebuking Trudeau and cautioning all MPs to refrain from “inflammatory language.” Several MPs demanded Trudeau apologize for his remarks, and were ignored.
Lantsman made her demand for an apology a point of order, but Trudeau had by then fled the chamber.
Lantsman later introduced a point of order demanding a personal apology from Trudeau.
"I am a strong Jewish woman and a member of this House and a descendant of Holocaust survivors and … it's never been singled out, and I've never been made to feel less," she said. "Except for today, when the prime minister accused me of standing with swastikas. I think he owes me an apology. I'd like an apology and I think he owes an apology to all members of this House."
Lantsman's point of order was met with applause, by which time Trudeau had already left the chamber.
By fleeing the scene and his duties as Prime Minister, Trudeau has effectively abandoned the Ottawa Police Service, leaving them to defend his lawless and irrational decisions while refusing to do what elected officials are supposed to, which is to sit down with the people and at least hear their grievances. The quick and simple resolution to the Freedom Convoy protests has always been in his hands, but he refuses to meet with the truckers. He refuses to even face the truckers.
Instead, Justin Trudeau continues to denigrate, demean, and dismiss Canadian citizens with hateful, divisive, bigoted rhetoric. He insults everyone who refuses to bend the knee to his rule. Then he leaves the Ottawa Police to clean up the mess.
It almost makes me feel sorry for the OPS…until I remember they are the ones who had the brilliant idea to steal the truckers fuel in order to freeze them out. Trying to freeze people to death disqualifies them from any sympathy for the difficulty of their position.
Thomas Jefferson is apocryphally attributed with the quote, “When tyranny becomes law, rebellion becomes duty.” The Freedom Convoy and all who have joined the Canadian Revolution are doing their civic duty, standing up against the lawless, fascist, tyrannical Trudeau Regime and its enablers in the Ottawa Police Service.