Future uses of emergency powers to limit Albertans' rights should include more transparency and democratic accountability.

Calgary, June 16th, 2022: At his Calgary launch event Brian Jean has announced that if elected UCP leader and Premier he will introduce changes to Alberta's various public emergency laws to require automatic after-event judicial inquiries whenever a declared emergency substantially interferes with the rights and freedoms of Albertans.

"I think we need to do a complete rewrite of the various emergency laws we have in Alberta to make sure that we never again take Albertans' rights away lightly. I believe that Alberta laws that allow the government to temporarily take away freedoms and rights should all include a provision for some level of post-event inquiry that is in line with the freedoms and rights taken away," said Brian Jean.  He committed to having different levels of inquiry depending on the nature and duration of the rights infringement.  Small temporary infringement should be subject to a simple judicial investigation similar to a judicial death inquest. A larger breach would get a small public inquiry. A multi-month suppression of the rights of many Albertans should lead to a full public inquiry -- complete with legal assistance for groups granted full intervenor status. Such an approach is consistent with the Federal emergencies act which requires a full public inquiry whenever it is used.

Jean also committed that these inquiries would be allowed to pierce the veil of cabinet secrecy. "Everything considered in the decision should be revealed. Sometimes, emergencies are important enough, serious enough, deadly enough to restrict people’s rights and freedoms, but when that happens Albertans should be certain that the facts, all the facts will be made public," said Jean.

Finally Jean called for Legislative authority over emergencies that limit rights and freedoms by requiring that MLAs ratify the emergency with a free vote within 60 days of the declaring of an emergency and every 90 days thereafter.

Jean observed that his proposal on inquiries and emergencies is more forward-looking than the proposals of other leadership candidates. “A post COVID inquiry is something many Albertans want and it will help rebuild trust, but my proposal takes the lessons learned from the last two years and reassures Albertans that we will have steps in place to protect freedoms in the future. An approach like this will lead to more clarity, more transparency, and more accountability. Questions will be answered faster, more details will be given, and more hidden debates will become public. An approach like this will promote more respect for freedom and more caution when stepping on peoples’ rights," said Jean.

Future Uses of Emergency Powers