Friday, June 28, 2013

Did the RCMP seize guns under authority of Alberta's Emergency Management Act before it was in force?

*updated. See bottom of page.

June 28, 2013 Alberta Government news release:  (note the first line. highlighting mine)

" In response to a request from the mayor, the Alberta government has declared a provincial state of emergency in the Town of High River and will assume responsibility for emergency operations, programs and services.

"The disaster in High River has been overwhelming. That’s why we are taking this unique and unprecedented step," said Doug Griffiths, Minister of Municipal Affairs. “Mayor Blokland and his administration have done outstanding work dealing with this situation, but it has become clear to both the mayor and me that the tasks ahead require significant resources and expertise. The province is ready to step in and provide that and build on that as necessary."

"Given the scope and scale of this disaster, I have decided the best course of action for getting the people of High River back into their homes as soon as possible is for the province to take charge of the coordination and implementation of emergency operations," said Emile Blokland, Mayor of High River.
Effective immediately, Rick Fraser, Associate Minister of Regional Recovery and Reconstruction for High River, will assume responsibility and control of emergency operations in High River. He will be supported by an official from the Alberta Emergency Management Agency and other provincial and town employees. They will assist Fraser with all necessary plans and programs and link into the provincial operations centre.
“We understand residents’ frustration, however it is critical we focus on the recovery and rebuilding process, therefore all emergency orders must be followed for health and safety reasons,” added Griffiths.
Our government was elected to keep building Alberta, to live within its means and to fight to open new markets for Alberta’s resources. We will continue to deliver the responsible change Albertans voted for."

*It couldn't have been the mayor or other local authority either because according to Sec 18-1 of the Alberta Emergency Management Act  a State of Emergency can only be declared by the Lieutenant Governor in Council and has to be published or announced publicly.

Part 2
State of Emergency 
Declaration of state of emergency
18 (1)
The Lieutenant Governor in Council may, at any time when
the Lieutenant Governor in Council is satisfied that an emergency
exists or may exist, make an order for a declaration of a state of
emergency relating to all or any part of Alberta.

And other than the release at the top of the page I have not found anything else that says it occurred before June 28th 2013.

So if no State of Emergency, which gives the police the extraordinary powers listed under Section 19, was declared before today, under which law or authority did the RCMP enter private residences and seize personal property?

If you have an answer be sure to let me know because right now I am not seeing it.

*Update: Got to eat some crow on this one as the AEMA does give section 19 powers to municipalities when they declare a local state of emergency, which in this case was done on June 19, 2013 at 7:04AM.
This does bring up other questions as to how and when this can occur ( can they do so on a whim or is their some provincial oversight?) and should local authorities be given such sweeping Charter of Rights limiting powers, but those can wait until this entire subject is brought up in the Alberta Legislature. And you know it will be.

H/T @Resedico


Anonymous said...

The emergency declaration does give sweeping powers to the authorities. But they are always with the caveat that it is to expedite the response to the emergency - ie. saving lives, property and the environment. It is an awful stretch to say that the will forced entry and confiscation of personal property by a mercenary for hire federal police force is in any way related to saving lives or limiting damage to property. the government and the out of control federalis cannot justify this criminal act no matter what mealy mouthed spin the try to place on it.

fernstalbert said...

Awh yes - how much time and precious manpower was wasted on the "looting" of firearms by the police and municipal authorities? Was every house broken into - or just those that had registered guns under the federal registry? Nice police state we have here - the only danger to property was from the government. Did they think Albertans were going to do a New Orleans with murder and mayhem on every street corner? Methinks those in charge watch way too much American news. It would seem we have the wrong people in charge. Time for an election and throw the "bums" out. Cheers.

Ardvark said...

Honestly I am not sure how any Act can be written that violates basic Charter of Rights provisions without having the words "not withstanding" included.

Has this ever been taken before a court?

NeoLuddite said...

Contrary to popular belief no one in Canada has allodial (sovereign)land rights. All property is held in fee simple, a variation of feudalism.

Governments can (and often do) exert their control with little or no recourse for the title holder. Eminent domain comes to mind.

Anonymous said...

It is the INTENT of the law and not necessarily how it is written that is critical. You will often see Hansard quotes in court decisions when they have been tasked to determine what a law really means. In that regard, we have this in regard to this very issue and the Alberta Emergency Management Act....

March 14, 2012 Alberta Hansard 509

Mr. Jacobs:
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My last question is also for the Minister of Municipal Affairs. Some of my constituents feel that powers granted to a local authority during a local state of emergency can be abused. What assurances can you give them that they will not be abused?

Mr. Griffiths:
Mr. Speaker, I know from the hoots and hollers before that some of the members from the wild alliance indicate that this is about property rights. This is not about property rights. This is an issue where local municipal officials, local firefighters, local police officers, and local paramedics are trying to save lives. There is compensation provided in the rare necessary circumstance when property must be commandeered, but I can't think of a single Albertan that wouldn't want a vehicle commandeered if it meant
saving their grandmother from a burning building. THAT'S WHAT THIS IS ABOUT (my emphasis).