Thresholds, Powers, and Accountability in the Emergencies Act

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Abstract


It can be difficult for a legislature to clearly define an emergency or
precisely describe different kinds of emergencies. In the context of
emergency legislation some degree of vagueness and ambiguity is therefore
to be expected. As a consequence, there will be some unavoidable
uncertainty about the scope of the executive’s authority when it exercises its
emergency powers. Legislatures can, however, avoid unnecessary ambiguity
and vagueness in statutes, and thereby reduce uncertainty about the scope
of emergency powers. Legislatures can also set out consultation mechanisms
and impose reason-giving obligations that render the executive politically
accountable to those affected by exercises of emergency powers. This paper
proposes amendments that aim to eliminate avoidable uncertainty that
arises from how the Emergencies Act currently defines a national emergency
and a public order emergency. Further, the paper proposes amendments to
the Act that aim to increase the executive’s accountability to those affected
by declarations of public order emergencies
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-51
JournalManitoba Law Journal
Volume46
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2023

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