War Measures Act
Overview
 
The War Measures Act was a Canadian statute
Statute
A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislative authority that governs a state, city, or county. Typically, statutes command or prohibit something, or declare policy. The word is often used to distinguish law made by legislative bodies from case law, decided by courts, and regulations...

 that allowed the government to assume sweeping emergency powers in the event of "war, invasion or insurrection, real or apprehended". Enacted in August 1914, the act remained in force until being superseded by the Emergencies Act
Emergencies Act
The Emergencies Act is an Act of the Parliament of Canada to authorize the taking of special temporary measures to ensure safety and security during national emergencies and to amend other Acts in consequence thereof....

 in 1988.

The act was invoked three times in Canadian history: during the First World War, the Second World War, and the 1970 October Crisis
October Crisis
The October Crisis was a series of events triggered by two kidnappings of government officials by members of the Front de libération du Québec during October 1970 in the province of Quebec, mainly in the Montreal metropolitan area.The circumstances ultimately culminated in the only peacetime use...

 and, when used, is often seen as being in opposition of Canadian rights and freedoms.
The War Measures Act has been questioned about its suspension of civil liberties and personal freedoms, most notably during the Japanese Canadian internment
Japanese Canadian internment
Japanese Canadian internment refers to confinement of Japanese Canadians in British Columbia during World War II. The internment began in December 1941, following the attack by carrier-borne forces of Imperial Japan on American naval and army facilities at Pearl Harbor...

 and October Crisis
October Crisis
The October Crisis was a series of events triggered by two kidnappings of government officials by members of the Front de libération du Québec during October 1970 in the province of Quebec, mainly in the Montreal metropolitan area.The circumstances ultimately culminated in the only peacetime use...

.
Encyclopedia
The War Measures Act was a Canadian statute
Statute
A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislative authority that governs a state, city, or county. Typically, statutes command or prohibit something, or declare policy. The word is often used to distinguish law made by legislative bodies from case law, decided by courts, and regulations...

 that allowed the government to assume sweeping emergency powers in the event of "war, invasion or insurrection, real or apprehended". Enacted in August 1914, the act remained in force until being superseded by the Emergencies Act
Emergencies Act
The Emergencies Act is an Act of the Parliament of Canada to authorize the taking of special temporary measures to ensure safety and security during national emergencies and to amend other Acts in consequence thereof....

 in 1988.

The act was invoked three times in Canadian history: during the First World War, the Second World War, and the 1970 October Crisis
October Crisis
The October Crisis was a series of events triggered by two kidnappings of government officials by members of the Front de libération du Québec during October 1970 in the province of Quebec, mainly in the Montreal metropolitan area.The circumstances ultimately culminated in the only peacetime use...

 and, when used, is often seen as being in opposition of Canadian rights and freedoms.

Civil liberties

The War Measures Act has been questioned about its suspension of civil liberties and personal freedoms, most notably during the Japanese Canadian internment
Japanese Canadian internment
Japanese Canadian internment refers to confinement of Japanese Canadians in British Columbia during World War II. The internment began in December 1941, following the attack by carrier-borne forces of Imperial Japan on American naval and army facilities at Pearl Harbor...

 and October Crisis
October Crisis
The October Crisis was a series of events triggered by two kidnappings of government officials by members of the Front de libération du Québec during October 1970 in the province of Quebec, mainly in the Montreal metropolitan area.The circumstances ultimately culminated in the only peacetime use...

. This is described as the majority of Canadians exercising their influence on the minority, although not necessarily with conscious thought.

First World War

The War Measures Act was adopted on 4 August 1914, and remained in effect until 10 January 1920. With the advent of the Russian Revolution in 1917, additional regulations and orders were added to make the membership in a number of organizations, including socialist
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 and communist
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 organizations forbidden. Immigration from nations that were connected directly or indirectly with the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Germany was stopped and natives of these countries (Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

, Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 and Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

) were classed as enemy aliens under the War Measures Act. These enemy aliens were required to carry identification with them at all times and forbidden from possessing firearms, leaving the country without permission, or publishing or reading anything in a language other than English or French. Thousands of these enemy aliens were also interned
Internment
Internment is the imprisonment or confinement of people, commonly in large groups, without trial. The Oxford English Dictionary gives the meaning as: "The action of 'interning'; confinement within the limits of a country or place." Most modern usage is about individuals, and there is a distinction...

 in camps or deported
Deportation
Deportation means the expulsion of a person or group of people from a place or country. Today it often refers to the expulsion of foreign nationals whereas the expulsion of nationals is called banishment, exile, or penal transportation...

 from Canada. It was not until the labour shortage in Canada became dire that these interned individuals were released into the workforce again in an attempt to boost the economy and the war effort.

Japanese internment

The attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941 led to Canada declaring war against Japan. An already established racial bias towards Japanese-Canadians was transformed into full anti-Japanese thoughts and behaviour by Canadian citizens, who saw Japanese-Canadians as spies for Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

. This fear towards Japanese-Canadians led to their rights slowly being taken away, until March 4, 1942, when 12,000 Japanese-Canadians were internment in interior camps, 2,000 were sent to road camps and another 2,000 were forced to work in the prairies
Canadian Prairies
The Canadian Prairies is a region of Canada, specifically in western Canada, which may correspond to several different definitions, natural or political. Notably, the Prairie provinces or simply the Prairies comprise the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, as they are largely covered...

 at sugar beet farms . This internment
Internment
Internment is the imprisonment or confinement of people, commonly in large groups, without trial. The Oxford English Dictionary gives the meaning as: "The action of 'interning'; confinement within the limits of a country or place." Most modern usage is about individuals, and there is a distinction...

 of Japanese-Canadians was done under the authority of the War Measures Act.

World War II strike prevention

The War Measures Act was also used in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 as a method of strike prevention by the Canadian government. The War Measures Act made it possible to create Privy Council Order 1003 (also known as PC 1003) which could control strikes
Strike action
Strike action, also called labour strike, on strike, greve , or simply strike, is a work stoppage caused by the mass refusal of employees to work. A strike usually takes place in response to employee grievances. Strikes became important during the industrial revolution, when mass labour became...

 and lockouts
Lockout (industry)
A lockout is a work stoppage in which an employer prevents employees from working. This is different from a strike, in which employees refuse to work.- Causes :...

. As it was a necessity for wartime production to keep going, the government was able to use PC 1003 to insert itself in this process during labour unrest, which was widespread at the time. There was, however, frustration on the part of the unions which felt that the government tended to not care about the issues the unions were trying to bring to light. PC 1003 lasted post-war .

The October Crisis

In 1970, Quebec nationalists and Front de libération du Québec
Front de libération du Québec
The Front de libération du Québec was a left-wing Quebecois nationalist and Marxist-Leninist paramilitary group in Quebec, Canada. It was active between 1963 and 1970, and was regarded as a terrorist organization for its violent methods of action...

 (FLQ) members kidnapped British diplomat James Cross
James Cross
James Richard Cross, CMG was a British diplomat in Canada who was kidnapped by the Front de libération du Québec terrorist group during the October Crisis of October 1970....

 and Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

 provincial cabinet minister Pierre Laporte
Pierre Laporte
Pierre Laporte was a Canadian lawyer, journalist and politician who was the Deputy Premier and Minister of Labour of the province of Quebec before being kidnapped and killed by members of the group Front de libération du Québec during the October Crisis. Mr...

, who was later murdered. What is now referred to as the October Crisis raised fears in Canada of a militant terrorist faction rising up against the government. At the request of the Mayor of Montreal
Mayor of Montreal
The Mayor of Montreal is head of the executive branch of Montreal City Council.The Mayor's office administers all city services, public property, police and fire protection, most public agencies, and enforces all city and provincial laws within Montreal....

, Jean Drapeau
Jean Drapeau
Jean Drapeau, was a Canadian lawyer and politician who served as mayor of Montreal from 1954 to 1957 and 1960 to 1986...

, and the Quebec provincial government, and in response to general threats and demands made by the FLQ, the federal Liberal government of Pierre Trudeau
Pierre Trudeau
Joseph Philippe Pierre Yves Elliott Trudeau, , usually known as Pierre Trudeau or Pierre Elliott Trudeau, was the 15th Prime Minister of Canada from April 20, 1968 to June 4, 1979, and again from March 3, 1980 to June 30, 1984.Trudeau began his political career campaigning for socialist ideals,...

 invoked the act on 16 October 1970. He did this so police had more power in arrest and detention, so they could find and stop the FLQ members. There was a large amount of concern about the Act being invoked as it was a direct threat to civil liberties
Civil liberties
Civil liberties are rights and freedoms that provide an individual specific rights such as the freedom from slavery and forced labour, freedom from torture and death, the right to liberty and security, right to a fair trial, the right to defend one's self, the right to own and bear arms, the right...

, removing rights such as habeas corpus
Habeas corpus
is a writ, or legal action, through which a prisoner can be released from unlawful detention. The remedy can be sought by the prisoner or by another person coming to his aid. Habeas corpus originated in the English legal system, but it is now available in many nations...

from all Canadians.

Under provisions of the National Defence Act, the Canadian Forces
Canadian Forces
The Canadian Forces , officially the Canadian Armed Forces , are the unified armed forces of Canada, as constituted by the National Defence Act, which states: "The Canadian Forces are the armed forces of Her Majesty raised by Canada and consist of one Service called the Canadian Armed Forces."...

 had been called to assist the police. They appeared on the streets of Ottawa on 12 October (four days before invocation of the WMA), and upon request of the Quebec government with unanimous consent of all party leaders in the Quebec National Assembly, on the streets of Montreal on 15 October (the day prior to WMA invocation).

The response by the federal and provincial governments to the incident still sparks controversy. This is the only time that the War Measures Act had been put in place during peacetime in Canada.

The use of the War Measures Act to address the problem presented by the FLQ was well supported by Canadians in all regions of Canada. However, there were many vocal critics of the Government action, including New Democratic Party
New Democratic Party
The New Democratic Party , commonly referred to as the NDP, is a federal social-democratic political party in Canada. The interim leader of the NDP is Nycole Turmel who was appointed to the position due to the illness of Jack Layton, who died on August 22, 2011. The provincial wings of the NDP in...

 leader Tommy Douglas
Tommy Douglas
Thomas Clement "Tommy" Douglas, was a Scottish-born Baptist minister who became a prominent Canadian social democratic politician...

, who said, "The government, I submit, is using a sledgehammer to crack a peanut."

While the War Measures Act was in force, 465 people were arrested and held without charge.

Critics, such as Laurier LaPierre
Laurier LaPierre
Laurier L. LaPierre, OC is a retired Canadian Senator and former broadcaster, journalist and author. He is a member of the Liberal Party of Canada....

, accused Trudeau of suspending habeas corpus
Habeas corpus
is a writ, or legal action, through which a prisoner can be released from unlawful detention. The remedy can be sought by the prisoner or by another person coming to his aid. Habeas corpus originated in the English legal system, but it is now available in many nations...

in only Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

 as more of a reaction to the separatist movement in Quebec
Quebec sovereignty movement
The Quebec sovereignty movement refers to both the political movement and the ideology of values, concepts and ideas that promote the secession of the province of Quebec from the rest of Canada...

 and as an attempt to criminalize it .

Replacement

The Act's 1970 regulations were replaced by the Public Order (Temporary Measures) Act of November 1970, which expired on 30 April 1971.

In May 1981, an Order in Council adopted by the Trudeau government adopted an Emergency Planning Order which assigned responsibilities for planning to meet the exigencies of different types of emergencies to various Ministers, and departments and agencies of government.

In 1988, the Progressive Conservative government of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney introduced Bill C-76, the Emergency Preparedness Act. At the same time the Emergencies Act
Emergencies Act
The Emergencies Act is an Act of the Parliament of Canada to authorize the taking of special temporary measures to ensure safety and security during national emergencies and to amend other Acts in consequence thereof....

was introduced, and passed, as a replacement for the War Measures Act, which was repealed under Bill C-77.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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