If you haven’t been paying attention to what just happened with our neighbors in the Great White North, we urge you to start.
The Canadian Freedom Convoy, which consisted of truckers protesting COVID-19 mandates in Ottawa and blocking three of the most-trafficked interstate bridges between Canada and the United States, led Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to invoke the Emergencies Act.
While we are used to the federal government deploying the National Guard during emergencies, America has never seen the type of extraordinary control demonstrated by our neighbors across the border.
But, with the American version of the Freedom Convoy heading towards D.C., now it is time to consider if our President's power is similar to that of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Canada’s Emergencies Act
Canada recently imposed historic governmental emergency powers over its people – the Emergencies Act of 1988, which replaced the War Measures Act of 1914.
Lockhaven explains of the War Measures Act, “Due to real and perceived injustices related to use of the act, it was repealed in the 1980s. The War Measures Act facilitated internment of nearly 22,000 Japanese Canadians in British Columbia during World War II. When the Emergencies Act succeeded the War Measures Act in 1988, it introduced changes regarding how the federal government can use extraordinary powers in times of crisis.”
Since being enacted in 1988, the Emergencies Act has not been used until now – as a result of the trucker convoy protests.
The Emergencies Act allows for out-of-the-ordinary expansive governmental powers. These have allowed the government to seize control of vehicles, tow and remove trucks, imprison without bail or fine protestors, prohibit protest funding, freeze bank accounts of suspected protestors, and suspend insurance.
Currently in Canada…
- Banks and financial institutions were able to temporarily freeze the accounts of those suspected of supporting the blockades, without obtaining a court order. The insurance on vehicles used in the protests could also be suspended.
- All crowdfunding platforms and payment providers had to register with Canada's anti-money laundering agency, FINTRAC, and report suspicious activities.
- Towing companies were ordered to provide their services to clear blockades.
While the Canadian government may not be using military force, they hurt their citizens where it hurts the most – their pocketbooks – and prevented access to their hard-earned money.
According to reports, “On Saturday [February 19, 2022], the federal government said it had frozen at least 76 accounts linked to the protests, representing C$3.2m ($2.5m; £1.8m) under the emergency measures.”
You can read Canada’s Emergencies Act in full here.
What Will Happen in Canada as a Result?
The Emergencies Act will have ongoing repercussions for both those who participated in the trucker convoy protests and people who offered financial support.
The way they identified those supporting the protest was extreme.
CBC reports, “Police could gather the names and license plate numbers of people participating in a protest or an unlawful assembly and share that information with FINTRAC.”
Additionally, this likely included those who donated to funding sites, such as GoFundMe and GiveSendGo.
Under the Emergencies Act, individuals are deemed “designated persons” (those who "provide property to facilitate or participate in any assembly”), and banks or financial institutions must report these to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), and Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC), the government's financial intelligence unit.
Essentially, these “designated persons” will receive a scarlet letter, which will make it difficult for them in the future.
According to a CBC report, “Mark Blumberg is a lawyer at Blumberg Segal LLP who specializes in non-profit and charity law. In an interview, he said that while the Emergencies Act gives banks time-limited powers, these institutions ‘may just decide to shut the person's account down’ because there could be ‘huge risks’ for banks servicing these customers in the future.”
Moreover, these “designated persons” struggled with daily transactions because they were not able to pay bills, pay child support, or buy food and fuel.
And Now to U.S. Executive Order 13603…
Canada is a different country from the U.S., and it operates under different laws.
However, it is wise to consider what is happening under the Emergencies Act.
In the U.S, we have the Defense Production Act of 1950. The act was initially enacted in response to the Korean War and the Cold War to ensure Americans had supplies and equipment during war times.
However, since it was enacted, it has been reauthorized more than 50 times.
According to the Congressional Research Service:
“The Defense Production Act of 1950, as amended (DPA), provides the President a broad set of authorities to ensure that domestic industry can meet national defense requirements. In the DPA, Congress has found that ‘the security of the United States is dependent on the ability of the domestic industrial base to supply materials and services for the national defense and to prepare for and respond to military conflicts, natural or man-caused disasters, or acts of terrorism within the United States.’ Through the DPA, the President can, among other activities, prioritize government contracts for goods and services over competing customers, and offer incentives within the domestic market to enhance the production and supply of critical materials and technologies when necessary for national defense.”
The DPA has been utilized for natural disasters, such as hurricane relief and the COVID-19 pandemic by President Trump.
Presidents tend to make Executive Orders under the Defense Production Act to address national emergency procedures and delegate authority in these extraordinary circumstances.
On March 16, 2012, President Obama issued Executive Order 13603, which focused on National Defense Resources Preparedness, under the Defense Production Act of 1950.
The Executive Order updated previous orders to include specifics about who is responsible for allocating which materials.
According to Jim Powell, “More than previous national security executive orders, Obama’s 13603 seems to describe a potentially totalitarian regime obsessed with control over everything.”
Executive Order 13603 essentially gives the federal government power to seize control of everything, including:
- All commodities and products that are capable of being ingested by either human beings or animals.
- All forms of energy.
- All forms of civil transportation.
- All usable water from all sources.
- Health resources – drugs, biological products, medical devices, materials, facilities, health supplies, services, and equipment.
Can you still sleep easy knowing the U.S. government can seize and control food and water?
It’s a terrifying thought – and it gets worse.
On October 21, 2021, President Biden issued the Executive Order on the Designation to Exercise Authority over the National Defense Stockpile.
President Biden’s press release states, “In Executive Order 14017 of February 24, 2021 (America’s Supply Chains), I directed a comprehensive review of America’s supply chains to ensure that they are resilient in the face of a range of risks. One critical component of safeguarding supply chain resilience and industrial base health is ensuring that both the Federal Government and the private sector maintain adequate quantities of supplies, equipment, or raw materials on hand to create a buffer against potential shortages and import dependencies.”
Read Executive Order 13603 in full here.
Recent Events That Show It’s Possible
If you assume we won’t deal with anything as extreme as Canadians recently faced, consider the following examples.
- JPMorgan freezes donations to Republicans who contested the 2020 election – “The country's largest lender was among many corporations that paused political giving following the deadly January 6 Capitol riots when supporters of former president Donald Trump tried to stop Congress from certifying the election.”
- GiveSendGo hacking – As a result of Canada’s Emergencies Act, GoFundMe stopped allowing people to donate money to the Freedom Convoy through their funding platform. So people started contributing to the Freedom Convoy using a different funding platform – GiveSendGo. It raised more than $10 million. However, GiveSendGo was hacked, and all of those who donated (many of whom were Americans) had their personal information posted publicly, which threatened their livelihoods.
Preparedness Steps to Take Today
While we shouldn’t live in fear, it is wise to recognize that what is happening in Canada could one day affect us. And that with a swipe of a pen, Executive Order 13603 could be enacted.
Here are some ways to prepare should we face “out-of-the-ordinary expansive governmental powers.”
- Cash – Do not depend wholly on banks or other financial institutions. If the situation in Canada has taught us anything, it is that the government can go after our financial resources. Keep cash on hand.
- Food – Executive order 13603 designates the ability to seize control of food resources. This includes taking control of meat packaging plants, farms, etc. Prepare for this possibility and keep plenty of long-term emergency food on hand.
- Fuel and Transportation – Keep fuel in your gas tank and have a backup form of transportation. In addition, have paper maps on hand and know backroads in your area.
- Energy – Governments in America have already enacted rolling blackouts (such as Texas and California). Since we already know they have the power to do so, invest in solar power tools.
- Build Community – Get involved locally. Get to know your neighbors as you may have to rely on them or barter for supplies.
If it could happen there, it can happen here. Stay alert, friends.
Preparedness Advisor, My Patriot Supply