The House

CBC Radio's The House: Emergency action in Ottawa

On this week’s show: Justice Minister David Lametti explains the government’s reasons for invoking the Emergencies Act. Sen. Vern White reacts to the Emergencies Act and developments in Ottawa, before former MP Svend Robinson discusses the NDP’s role. Plus — The House digs into the use of the Canadian flag as a symbol to represent the protests and two experts discuss the potential for political populism in Canada.

Here is what's on this week's episode of The House

Police from across the country enforce an injunction against protesters camped near Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Feb. 18, 2022. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)
On this week’s show: Justice Minister David Lametti explains the government’s reasons for invoking the Emergencies Act. Sen. Vern White reacts to the Emergencies Act and developments in Ottawa, before former MP Svend Robinson discusses the NDP’s role. Plus — The House digs into the use of the Canadian flag as a symbol to represent the protests and two experts discuss the potential for political populism in Canada.

Act in case of emergencies

The federal government took the historic step this week of invoking the Emergencies Act — a never-before-used piece of legislation — giving authorities additional powers to put an end to protests in Ottawa and across the country. But was the deployment of the act necessary, and how did law enforcement let things get this far? 

Justice Minister David Lametti sits down with host Chris Hall to discuss his government's decision. Then, Sen. Vern White — a former Ottawa police chief and RCMP officer — offers his reaction to the use of the Emergencies Act and decisions made by authorities on the ground leading up to this weekend.

Plus: former NDP MP Svend Robinson speaks out against that party's support of the Emergencies Act and reflects on the debate that surrounded the original legislation more than 30 years ago.

Three current or former officials — Justice Minister David Lametti, Sen. Vern White and former MP Svend Robinson — each discuss the historic invocation of the Emergencies Act this week.

The meaning of the flag

Across Ottawa, the Canadian flag has been seen flying from trucks and wrapped around determined protesters. Some city residents say they now feel angry or afraid when they see the iconic red-and-white symbol on the streets of the capital.

In a special report, The House speaks with Forrest Pass, a vexillologist and curator with Library and Archives Canada, historian Richard Nimijean, Indigenous artist Lou-ann Neel, NDP MPP Joel Harden and others about how the Ottawa protests have changed the meaning of our national symbol for some.

In a special report, The House speaks with residents, flag experts and historians about how the situation in Ottawa has changed the meaning of our national symbol for some.

Reclaiming populism

Is this the start of Trump-style populism in Canada? Despite the "Trump 2024" and "Make Canada Great Again" flags that have been on display in Ottawa, Paul Summerville and Eric Protzer say the conditions are not right for a strong populist movement in Canada.

Their new book, Reclaiming Populism, argues the key indicators for the emergence of a country-changing populist movement  — such as Trumpism in America or Brexit in the U.K. — do not exist in Canada. Chris Hall talks to the authors about what makes Canada different — and whether that could change.

Academics Paul Summerville and Eric Protzer discuss why they don’t think the conditions that create strong populist movements are present in Canada.

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