Ottawa would consider a “range of options” to limit international travel.
You have to say “finally”. First, because the new variants of COVID-19 are not reassuring.
“Finally”, too, because since the start of the pandemic a year ago, the Trudeau government has not hesitated to give lessons in the areas of provincial jurisdiction. But has always been too hesitant in some of his responsibilities, primarily border management.
Why not invoke the Emergency Measures Act?
This is the “Law of War Measures” 2.0. It was redone in 1988, in the Mulroney era. It now includes in its preamble almost absolute protection of rights. Thus, even if it applies “extraordinary measures” in an emergency, the federal government should respect, among other things, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Such exceptional legislation would still bring back a bad memory to Quebeckers: the law invoked in 1970 which led to the arbitrary arrest of nearly 500 people.
Trudeau father had her adopted at the time. Trudeau junior did not officially apologize for this decision of his father; but has no desire to be associated with a gesture that may appear as liberticidal.
Justin Trudeau could also imitate another strong gesture of his father: the anti-inflation law of 1976 which massively invaded the fields of provincial jurisdiction in the name of “Peace”, “order” and “good government. »(POBG), enshrined in the constitution of 1867. Ottawa then dictated prices and wages!
By invoking POBG in turn, Justin Trudeau could control the entire fight against COVID from coast to coast. But does he, who does not manage any hospital and knows little about local realities, want to launch into an all-out war against the provinces in the midst of a pandemic? Ask the question…
Especially since if Ottawa wants to limit movement at the borders, it already has everything it needs in its “quarantine law”.
In section 58, everything is clear. It can, by decree prohibit entry to “any category of persons” who have “stayed in a foreign country […] struggling with the onset of a communicable disease ”.
It used it in an executive order to block flights from the UK.
Finally, there is the “kiwi” model, the one advocated by New Zealand, but also, to some extent, by Australia.
This is what François Legault demanded from the Prime Minister on Thursday: impose a 14-day quarantine on all travelers entering Canada, in a hotel, at their expense.
This is in fact a form of special travel tax that travelers must pay in money, but also in time. It would then be less necessary for Ottawa to define what is and what is not essential. We would let the “consumers” judge!
It will be said that wealthy and retired travelers would benefit. Members of diasporas, in particular, present in Quebec and Canada, will be reluctant.
It would still be better for them than a complete closure of the borders.