Though the economy in Ontario will begin opening up once more in the coming weeks as we make our way out of the third wave of the pandemic, there is still a long road ahead as far as vaccinating the population, keeping variants of concern under control and assuring that COVID-19 case counts and hospitalizations stay low.
This is ostensibly why the provincial government is moving to extend its emergency powers, which enable it to make quick decisions and implement restrictions like business closures and gathering limits in less time and with less red tape.
But, this latest motion coming to Queen’s Park on Monday has some residents and local politicians concerned, as it is asking that these powers be extended all the way through December 1.
Please vote NO @BhutilaKarpoche This is completely nuts. Ford does not need emergency order power until December. https://t.co/6DAuSXtVeS
— Joy McCarthy (@joyoushealth) May 31, 2021
The motion, presented by MPP and Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, is one that that Premier Doug Ford has recommended so that he has powers to amend and extend various emergency orders as needed for the remainder of the year as we attempt a return to normal.
But it’s definitely causing a lot of fuss on social media, where people are apprehensive about the lengthy timeline and potential governmental overreach.
Doug Ford says he is “just not into big government” yet his own MPPs will extend his sweeping unlimited emergency powers until December. This means his government will go unchecked without debates, committee, and with less accountability and transparency. #VoteFordOut2022
— J Kyle Davidson (@Kyledavidson002) May 31, 2021
A state of emergency in Ontario was first brought into effect in March 2020 and was eventually allowed to expire before being introduced again in January 2021 before yet again expiring and yet again returning for a third time in early April, and is separate from the emergency orders under it.
The state and its orders and have to continually be extended every two weeks and every 30 days, respectively, to remain in effect.
Currently, a number of orders remain in effect under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMPCA) and the Reopening Ontario Act (ROA), including the stay-at-home order, regulations for various businesses in operation and for those who will soon be permitted to reopen, the overall power of the government to enforce COVID-19 orders on businesses and individuals, and more.
On Monday, PC MPPs will be forced to pass a motion giving @fordnation power to extend the Emergency Orders to December, without a vote or parliamentary debate.
This unnecessary abuse of power is hostile to our democracy. We must condemn & oppose it unanimously. #onpoli #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/VDHiZYLg08
— Roman Baber (@Roman_Baber) May 30, 2021
As Jones’s motion being voted on today states, “the power to amend and extend the orders expires on the first anniversary of the day the orders were continued by the Act” and the decision to allow the powers to continue need to be voted on by the Legislative Assembly.
Noted lockdown opponent Roman Baber, controversial independent MPP for York Centre, said to his peers today that “extension will be done by a government-run committee without debate or vote in this house … today the government will cut Parliament out of its most impactful decisions in our lifetimes.”
“The premier will have the ability to close schools, lockdown business, and prevent us from seeing family, all because he says so,” Baber continued. “Speaker, this is an unprecedented abuse of power.”
Today the Ford government will be committing yet another total abuse of power as they vote to pass a motion to extend Premier Doug Ford’s emergency powers to December. This is not how democracy works. I strongly urge #Nepean MPP @MacLeodLisa to vote against this. #onpoli
— Tyler Watt 🇨🇦 (@tylerwatt90) May 31, 2021
According to the OLA website, the motion was carried on division.