Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) expressed his concern over the “horrendous” actions Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s “emergency” declaration permits him while warning the U.S. could do the same.
Paul sat down with co-hosts Brad Polumbo and Hannah Cox on an episode of their podcast “BASED Politics” that aired Sunday to discuss the authoritarian “emergency powers” implemented by Trudeau. Of the trucker protests against vaccine mandates that led to Trudeau’s declaration, Polumbo asked, “What do you think of a premier declaring an emergency to crackdown on protests like this?”
“I think statutes that allow presidents or heads of state to invoke emergencies are very, very dangerous,” Paul began. “We have the same sort of statutes here, and I have long-time been an opponent of these. We actually have in the United States an Emergency Act that allows the president to shut down the internet.”
Paul further explained that he hasn’t just spoken out against these statutes. He has actually taken steps to get them removed. Paul said that during President Trump’s administration he tried to “get the Democrats who hate President Trump and…the libertarian-minded Republicans” together against the statute, but the effort failed.
He went on to add that Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), “had some reforms that he put forward on the Emergency Act, and it’s something we should look at because these things go on and on. There are some emergencies in the U.S. that have been going on for many, many decades.”
“And the president can just renew them every year. There’s no real stopping him,” Paul added before pointing out that while some expire, many do not require action to remain on the books. This assertion brought Paul to draw the comparison between Trudeau’s actions and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, which he had tweeted on Feb. 16.
When Canada became Egypt . . . ruled by emergency edict that allows prohibition of public assembly, travel, and the commandeering of private companies without your day in court.https://t.co/wvX2BydS4x
— Rand Paul (@RandPaul) February 16, 2022
Paul explained that Al-Sisi had been continually extending emergency edicts since he had taken power years ago that allow him to arbitrarily detain people similar to Trudeau’s current powers. “And so the emergency edict that Trudeau has done in Canada allows him to do some horrendous things, allows him to stop travel, allows him to detain people without trial.”
“Now we don’t know that he’s going to do that,” Paul stipulated, “but it is very, very worrisome what he might do.”
Turning to focus on the United States, Paul pointed out that his father, former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) had warned at the inception of the PATRIOT Act that no-fly lists were aimed at enemies of the U.S. but they could easily be turned on the citizenry.
This is the same conclusion that journalist Glenn Greenwald came to in his most recent Substack piece where he asserted these kinds of power grabs were designed to crush dissent against those in power. Greenwald determined these kinds of measures aimed at turning political adversaries into criminals precisely because of their opposition.
In backing that assertion, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) had introduced a legal challenge to Trudeau’s Emergency Act during the initial week.
This use of the Emergencies Act is unnecessary, unjustifiable and unconstitutional.
The high threshold to invoke the act has not been met.
It is in light of all these violations of civil liberties that we will be taking the government to court.
— Canadian Civil Liberties Association (@cancivlib) February 18, 2022
This was followed by the CCLA decrying the manner in which the vote to extend the measure took place that essentially dismissed the opportunity to oppose it.
Instead the government made it a confidence matter and we have seen numerous government MPs express both publicly and in confidence to us that they would vote against the emergency declaration if given a chance.
— Canadian Civil Liberties Association (@cancivlib) February 22, 2022
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