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Saskatchewan premier doesn't see need for Emergencies Act in COVID-19 fight

Last Updated Apr 9, 2020 at 6:08 pm EDT

REGINA — Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says he doesn’t see a need for Ottawa to use the sweeping Emergencies Act to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Moe says he’s had discussions with the federal government on the issue and recently received a letter about it.

The Emergencies Act would give Ottawa power to override the provinces and restrict the flow of people and goods.

Moe says he doesn’t see how the never-before-used legislation would do anything the provinces aren’t already doing to respond to the spread of the virus.

He says he’s on weekly calls with premiers about how they can work together and believes provincial laws allow leaders the flexibility to address to the needs of their jurisdictions.

Moe says he hopes Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes Saskatchewan’s stance seriously.

The provinces must be consulted before the legislation is invoked. Moe was slated to take a call with Trudeau later Thursday.

“I have every reason to believe that as myself and potentially other premiers communicate, that they feel that the use of this act at this point in time would at the very least be premature,” Moe told reporters at a press conference in Regina.

Last month, Trudeau resisted the idea of turning to the legislation.

New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs has said that he is in favour of the measure, calling it a move that would
“unify our approach as a nation.” Ontario Premier Doug Ford, however, has said the provinces need to be able to act unilaterally.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 9, 2020

The Canadian Press