Sunday, March 5, 2006

I suppose I am not really "forced" to pay taxes either

We may define anyone who aggresses against the person or other produced property of another as a criminal. A criminal is anyone who initiates violence against another man and his property: anyone who uses the coercive “political means” for the acquisition of goods and services.

Murray Rothbard - The Ethics of Liberty

Chapter 9. PROPERTY AND CRIMINALITY

Recall Andrew Hilton's pathetic attempt to defend Bill 56:
Ontario's new emergency legislation isn't meant to force doctors and other health workers to stay on the job in an influenza pandemic, a government staffer said yesterday.

"Absolutely not," said Andrew Hilton, speaking for Community Safety and Correctional Services Minister Monte Kwinter.

[..] Hilton yesterday said the legislation doesn't contain provisions to keep people on the job and won't allow the government to conscript doctors to work.

"If you want to pass a piece of legislation to do that, you have to use very specific language. 'Authorizing' doesn't even come close," said Hilton.
Trouble is, if "reasonably qualified" professionals choose not to comply with governmental demands, they will be forced to pay large fines or spend time in jail.

Paul McKeever examines the proposed legislation in more detail:
Mr. Hilton would appear to be trying to throw you off the trail with a half-truth. Paragraph 7.0.2(4)(12.) of Bill 56 does indeed state:

(4) In accordance with subsection (2) and subject to the limitations in subsection (3), the Lieutenant Governor in Council may make orders in respect of the following:

[...]

12. The authorization of any person, or any person of a class of persons, to render services of a type that that person, or a person of that class, is reasonably qualified to provide.


And Mr. Hilton is right that "authorization" does not mean the same thing as "compulsion". However, paragraph 12 is only one of the 14 paragraphs listed under subsection 7.0.2(4) of the bill. There are two others that most certain would give the Lieutenant Governor in Council (i.e., cabinet) the power to make orders to compel medical workers to act:

4. The establishment of facilities for the care, welfare, safety and shelter of individuals, including emergency shelters and hospitals.

[...]

14. Consistent with the powers authorized in this subsection, the taking of such other actions or implementing such other measures as the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers necessary in order to prevent, respond to or alleviate the effects of the emergency.


With respect to paragraph 7.0.2(4)(4.), "facilities" don't "establish" themselves. The power to make an order for the "establishment of facilities" is the power to require someone to establish those facilities.

Perhaps more importantly, paragraph 7.0.2(4)(14.) is what may most fairly be called a "catch-all" or "residual powers" paragraph that broadens - arguably without limit - the scope of the Lieutenant Governor in Council's power to make orders. The power to make an order "taking of...other actions or implementing other measures...to...respond to...the effects of an emergency" is the power to make just about any order at all in response to an "emergency". That is why Ontario's medical workers, and their lawyers, are justified in their concern.

Also, it will be noted that, under this bill, an "emergency" is given a special meaning:

"emergency" means a situation or an impending situation that constitutes a danger of major proportions that could result in serious harm to persons or substantial damage to property and that is caused by the forces of nature, a disease or other health risk, an accident or an act whether intentional or otherwise;"

In other words, (a) the "situation" need not even have happened yet (i.e., it can just be thought to be about to happen...i.e., "impending"), and (b) it is not necessary to be sure that "serious harm" will result. In other words, these powers are triggered by the mere possibility of harm, from an event that hasn't even happened yet. Therefore, this bill, if made law, gives virtually unlimited powers to cabinet to make orders requiring people to take "actions" and to "implement measures", even if it is only precautionary.

So, for example, if Ontario authorities expect to suffer a wide-spread power-outage (which isn't really all that unlikely this coming summer), or if Ontario authorities merely fear an outbreak of avian flu may be coming shortly, or if Ontario authorities take seriously one of the numerous threats uttered by terrorists, the powers under this bill would be triggered.

Put another way: this is the stuff Michael Moore movies are (should be?) made about.

This bill is dangerous with a capital D. If people do not gain some basic knowledge of what this bill entails, I fear that the NDP and the PCs will be cowed into either voting for it or saying little to oppose it: when the stuff hits the fan, most politicians don't want to have a record of not voting in favour of legislation to take remedial action...especially with a general election only 19 months away.

1 Comment:

Pietr said...

What happened to London Fog? Where did it go?
Was it Terrorists?