Senator Rand Paul is warning that something like Canada’s use of the Emergencies Act isn’t impossible in the United States. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau employed the Emergencies Act for the first time in Canadian history to give himself sweeping new powers in response to the truck driver protests which occupied Ottawa. Senator Paul and others warn that the president has the ability to give himself similar powers in the United States.
Rand Paul warns of future abuses of power
In a recent podcast appearance, Senator Paul voiced his frustration with his colleagues’ failure to join him in opposing the growth of executive power in the United States.
The senator mentioned that he even worked under the Trump administration to create a bipartisan movement to limit presidential power.
The situation in Canada, for the Kentucky senator, vindicates those efforts to place limits on the power of the White House regardless of who its current occupant is.
Trudeau’s use of the Emergencies Act was condemned by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, which argued that it was a massive overreach and violated the rights of Canadians.
The end result of all of this, according to Rand Paul, is that Canada or the United States might become another Egypt through the excessive use of emergency decrees.
Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has relied on emergency powers to hold his position since leading the military coup which overthrew the Muslim Brotherhood government in 2013.
Emergency powers available for president
While Senator Paul would like to see presidential powers curbed for whoever holds the office, most nations have laws in place to provide their leader with emergency powers in certain circumstances.
The sensible logic behind this is that no country which faces an immediate crisis wants to wait for partisan committees and assemblies to bicker endlessly about what the right response should be.
German political theorist Carl Schmitt famously argued that real power in the state will always belong to the person who has the power to declare that this “state of exception” exists.
Rand Paul is especially right to fear emergency powers in the United States, given that no one can really say who hold this kind of sovereign power in this country.
The Canadians can at least blame Justin Trudeau, but President Biden barely hides the fact that he is not the ultimate power in the White House.
Use of emergency powers in the United States would give immense power to a vast collection of faceless bureaucrats who only nominally answer to Biden.