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THE ADVOCATE V O L . 7 5 P A R T 2 M A R C H 2 0 1 7 297 VOL. 75 PART 2 MARCH 2017 LEGAL ANECDOTES AND MISCELLANEA By D. Michael Bain* The War Measures Act, 1914, S.C. 1914 (2nd Sess.), c. 2 was enacted in August 1914. Apart from containing a declaration that “war has continuously existed since the fourth day of August, 1914, and shall be deemed to exist until the Governor in Council … declares that it no longer exists”, the federal statute granted a power to the Governor-in-Council to proclaim the existence of “war, invasion, or insurrection, real or apprehended”. Such a proclamation was conclusive evidence of such a situation, and once proclaimed, the Governor-in-Council was empowered to “do and authorize such acts and things … as he may by reason of the existence of real or apprehended war, invasion or insurrection deem necessary or advisable for the security, defence, peace, order and welfare of Canada”. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, these powers extended to such matters as censorship, arrest, detention, deportation, ports, transportation, trade and the appropriation and disposition of property. In 1988 the War Measures Act was repealed and replaced by the Emergencies Act, S.C. 1988, c. 29, which differed from the War Measures Act in two distinct ways. First, the declaration by Cabinet of an emergency became subject to a review by Parliament. Second, the temporary laws made pursuant to the Emergencies Act became expressly subject to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. But before such limitations on unfettered government power, there was the War Measures Act. There was only one occasion during Canadian peace time that the War Measures Act was invoked. That was during the “October Crisis” in 1970 when members of the violent Quebec separatist Marxist-Leninist group * D. Michael Bain is the editor of the Advocate. Growing up as he did in Alberta, he grew up thinking Trudeau’s given name was “Thatasshole”.


March Pages 2017
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