Mr. Speaker, it is disappointing that we are here debating the use of emergency powers as has been laid out by the Prime Minister. This is really an indictment of failed leadership. This is about a Prime Minister who has not only dropped the ball when it comes to dealing with this crisis, but has also failed to unite Canadians because he constantly divides, stigmatizes, insults and marginalizes those who have concerns about vaccine mandates and the restrictions that have been brought in by the federal government. He does not seem to listen.
I do not believe the Emergencies Act needs to be used. I do not believe the threshold has been met under the definitions of the Emergencies Act. I do not believe the federal government has used the powers it already possesses to deal with these situations. What I do believe is that in this order in council, under I believe section 19 of the Emergencies Act, there are open-ended powers being handed over to the current Prime Minister.
We know that, at the beginning of this pandemic, the Prime Minister tried to ascertain how much power and control was possible over Parliament, the treasury and the executive of the government, because he thought he needed to grab on to that power. We know that his lust for power brought us to an early election, because he thought he could win a majority in the middle of a pandemic. He ignored the plight of Canadians who were dealing with the issues surrounding the pandemic and he ignored the plight of the Afghan refugees who had worked alongside our soldiers and were trying to get to Canada, all because he wanted more power and thought he could get his majority.
In the past, we had the War Measures Act. I acknowledge that the Emergencies Act is a modernized version of that, but it still has the same ultimate goal of dealing with major catastrophes in our country. Have we had a major hurricane or an earthquake? Were we attacked? No, we were not. Are we in a world war, such as World War I or II? Have we gone through something like the 1970 FLQ crisis? Have leaders of government been kidnapped or murdered? No, there have not. There is no way that the sovereign nation of Canada is under threat so that we have to use the Emergencies Act.
What we see out on the streets is sometimes annoying to those who live there. I am a property owner. There is no doubt, and I denounce all of those who show signs of hate. I have spent my entire political career, and before that, denouncing racism, anti-Semitism and those who fly Nazi flags and dress up as Nazi soldiers. I denounce those who are carrying Confederate flags. We have to stop racism. Each and every one of those people who have infiltrated the convoy need to be called out and held responsible for those hateful acts.
However, at times, to get attention and make a point, part of being a Canadian is to have a peaceful protest. Sometimes that includes civil disobedience. I have said this in the House before. When the Liberals had their long gun registry I refused to register my long guns. That was my act of civil disobedience, to stand against an overbearing, overreaching Liberal government policy.
I will also say this because there is a lot of concern about how traffic, borders and infrastructure have been blocked. I always oppose blockades. We cannot hold our economy hostage. I believe everybody has made their point. I am glad they are going home, and they are going home from our border points without the use of the Emergencies Act. It was provincial governments, local policing and local municipal leaders who were able to negotiate and remove those blockades, the same way the current government has dealt with blockades in the past at our Vancouver port, pipelines and railway crossings. They went on for days. We did not call in the Emergencies Act to get those blockades removed, because we listened to the people and their concerns. The government refuses to talk with the truckers on Wellington Street. That is disturbing to say the least.
The biggest concern I have is that this is suspending our civil liberties and charter rights because it is open-ended at this point in time.
I am of Ukrainian descent and I want to remind everyone that under the War Measures Act, in World War I, my baba and gedo came to Canada on Austrian passports. They were declared enemy aliens and for four years had to go 20 miles one way to the RCMP station every week to register. Summer, winter, fall and spring, it did not matter what they were doing on the farm, they had to register, even though my baba's brother was fighting for Canada in World War I. They still had to report in and they had to for two years after the war ended because the government refused to lift the War Measures Act and that violation of their charter rights.
I am concerned that the Liberal government will want to continue to erode the civil liberties that we have now. We have to make sure that does not happen. I do appreciate and acknowledge that the Emergencies Act does provide parliamentary oversight, and that is why we are having this debate tonight, to make sure that we can ask for it to be revoked if it passes with the support of the NDP. I have to say that I am really upset that the NDP would stand against freedom and the charter and support the Liberals and the Prime Minister in this ham-fisted approach to dealing with the crisis they think is out on the street.
Section 2 of the charter, peaceful assembly, right now is undermined. I walk through the convoy every day. Everybody says hi and has been very polite. Sometimes they honk the horns, which at 10 minutes to seven this morning was annoying, but they do not do it all day long, just for short periods here and there. The first week it was a bit overbearing, I will say that.
Section 7 is life, liberty and security. How are the Liberals going to ensure those things to the tow truck companies when they are commandeering equipment to tow away the vehicles on the street right now? What is beyond the pale in all of this is that they are violating section 8 of the charter, unreasonable search and seizure. They are locking down the bank accounts of people who gave generously to help the trucking convoy. They could not join and felt they had no other voice, so they financially supported the convoy. Now having their bank accounts locked down is disgusting. This is an overreach of the Government of Canada and I am concerned, now that they are on FINTRAC, that they are going to be treated like they were funding a terrorist organization and will not be able to get loans, access their savings accounts or even get mortgages. That, to me, is really disturbing.
Really, what is next? Section 19 of the Emergencies Act and referenced in the order in council says that there are going to be other temporary measures authorized under section 19 of the act. That is not known.
I again come back to the issue of failed leadership, inaction and paralysis by the Prime Minister. I have been here for quite a while, 17 years, and I am shocked that we do not have an emergency management plan for the Parliament buildings and Ottawa as the capital city. I was here when the terrorist attack happened in 2014. We witnessed what happened January 6, 2021, when the riot occurred on Capitol Hill. We know there should have been plans made to deal with a situation like this.
When the Minister of Emergency Preparedness was the Toronto police chief in 2010 and protests were taking place at the G20 in Toronto, in a couple of days 1,100 protesters were arrested. The RCMP, the OPP, the Toronto city police and regional police in the area were brought in to deal with the situation. If we did not need an Emergencies Act to do that then, why do we need it now?
It is time to de-escalate this situation. The Prime Minister has to stop stigmatizing, marginalizing, traumatizing and name-calling those who do not agree with his policies and bring people around, take the heat off and end these restrictive and divisive mandates so that we can get back to a normal life again and live as a strong, united Canada.