Declaring A State Of Emergency In Canada Is More Common Than You Think
It happened multiple times last year.
Newfoundland is still in the midst of a state of emergency, although city officials have promised the end is coming soon. While it may seem like something that doesn't happen very often, Canada's states of emergency are actually more common than you might think.
In 2019 alone, multiple ones were declared at the local and provincial levels.
This includes when a blizzard knocked out a number of hydro lines in Manitoba, leaving about 50,000 people without power. That occurred just days before was set to take place.
Earlier in the year, Ottawa made its own emergency declaration when rising water levels put the city at risk of flooding. had even requested additional assistance from the province and Canada's military.
During that time, Montreal enacted its own municipal measures due to rising floodwaters.
After Hurricane Dorian, a crane in Halifax collapsed onto a neighbouring building, prompting a localized state of emergency while took place.
However, there are other events that can prompt such steps to be taken. During the 2003 SARS outbreak in Toronto, 25,000 people were put in quarantine and the city found itself in the same situation due to a pandemic.
Canada's most infamous state of emergency was put in place in 1970, when the extreme separatist group known as the Front de Libération du Québec (FLQ) kidnapped two provincial government officials. One of them was also murdered.
This prompted then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau to enact the War Measures Act, which was the precursor to the modern Emergencies Act of 1988.
It suspended civil liberties and allowed police to conduct searches and arrest people without warrants. It was the only time it had been used outside periods of war.
All of this is to say that the latest declaration in St. John's is not an outlier. It might not even be the only state of emergency Canada sees in 2020.