Transcription – English – Allan Rouben

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23. Allan Rouben.mp4: this mp4 video file was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the best speech-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors.

Allan Rouben:
I'll dive right into it, if you don't mind.

Trish Wood:
Please do.

Allan Rouben:
It's about the emergency economic measures order, which was promulgated together with the emergency regulations. When the when the government made the declaration of emergency in February. And so when courts examine the constitutionality of legislation. They will consider whether the act casts the net too wide. Does it go further than it needs to in order to achieve the legislative objective? So it's worth looking at the reach of the emergency economic measures order. The order targets designated persons, which is defined as an individual or entity engaged directly or indirectly in an activity prohibited by sections 2 to 5 of the emergency measures regulations. Section two prohibits the participation in a public assembly that may lead to a breach of the peace. Section five prohibits any person from providing property to facilitate or for the purpose of benefiting anyone participating in a public assembly that may lead to a breach of the peace. Under Section two of the emergency economic measures order. Financial entities must cease dealing in any property that is owned by a designated person or by a person acting on behalf of or at or at the direction of the designated person. They must cease making available any property. For to or for the benefit of a designated person or to a person acting on behalf of or at the direction of a designated person. And they must cease providing any financial or related services to or for the benefit of any designated person or acquire any such services from or for the benefit of any such person or entity. The reach is stunning.

Allan Rouben:
Under this wording, financial support in any amount could be enough to ensnare an individual as a designated person and effectively exclude them from the financial system. Courts also look at whether challenged legislation sets up a fair process in accordance with our traditional notions of justice. In other context, the freezing of bank accounts, what's called the Meriva injunction, is seen as an extraordinary remedy. Before such an order could be made, a judge would have to be satisfied that a claimant has a strong case and that the defendant is disposing of their assets out of the ordinary course for the purpose of frustrating the collection of a judgment. In an important decision from 1995, the Ontario Court of Appeal extended these principles from the civil litigation to the criminal law context, the court said. A Meriva-type injunction can only be issued in aid of the criminal law when the court is persuaded that the accused person is arranging its affairs for the improper purpose of preventing its assets from being available to pay a fine should one be imposed? None of these safeguards exist in this legislation. There is no judicial oversight. Financial entities must cease dealing in the property of designated persons based on a belief that the person or entity is participating in or benefiting a public assembly that may lead to a breach of the peace. There is no court action before that happens, and there is no recourse. One of the most thoughtful analysis I've seen of all this is from a US venture capitalist named David Sachs.

Trish Wood:
On its own, I hope I'm.

Allan Rouben:
His essay. His essay was reprinted in the National Post on February 22nd, 2022. He says the emergency economic measures created a cast of economic untouchables. And that is very true. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms have brought challenges to the emergency measures and regulations. They have both put forward excellent pleadings. But understandably, the focus of their claims are on whether the criteria for the declaration of an emergency was met in the first place. There appears to be less emphasis on the extent of the emergency economic measures order. If that, in fact turns out to be the case, that would be unfortunate. I believe that the extreme and egregious nature of the economic measures and the federal government's realization that they could not be justified on any basis may have played a large role in the government's decision to revoke the emergency declaration. It is an untold story at this point. There is a line of case law in the field of libel and defamation. The case law provides that where a person's financial integrity or solvency is improperly called into question, the individual has a legitimate claim for damages to their reputation. It seems to me that the individuals affected by the economic measures order may well have a claim for damages as a result of the promulgation of those measures. Thank you.

Trish Wood:
Thank you very much. Oh, gosh. So sorry. So. What interested me was your quoting also of the the article in the the op ed piece and how this has been viewed around the world by people. I mean, people were absolutely shocked by the the grabbing of bank accounts and the idea that that's an appropriate penalty against people who are protesting that way. Were you surprised at the the outcry internationally about that?

Allan Rouben:
Well, I think it's fully justified. And it it touched a real nerve that people are concerned with the direction where things are going. The point that David Sacks makes in his article is that. The freezing out of people, out of the what he calls the de-platforming of them from the financial system is the logical but very dangerous next step of the ideology that is. Making people lose their jobs for their thought process or what they say. And so that was the point he was he was trying to make at all.

David Ross:
Thank you very much, Mr. Rubin, for your for your comments. I think maybe one of the things that people are thinking is that this year's invocation of the Emergencies Act was perhaps an unexpected gift to Canadians, to alert them to the extent of the powers that were so easily exercised and so deeply impacting to ordinary Canadians. What would you suggest is the proper way forward for dealing with this reality to which many have been awakened?

Allan Rouben:
Well, it would be nice if the media were. Doing their job properly and calling this out for the extreme nature of what it was. There are court proceedings going on, but those take a very long time and. The Government was required under the Emergencies Act to convene a. You know, a review of that. And they have put it on to a Ontario Court of Appeal judge to lead that effort. But we've been hearing talk that that the full scope of the decision making that went into that is may be shielded by cabinet confidentiality. So it's very disturbing that we may not get to the bottom of this. Through the proper channels.

David Ross:
So what? What should Canadians expect of the media and what role does the does the media play in a healthy and vibrant democracy?

Allan Rouben:
Well, they're there to challenge the government. And to look into things that may not jive with what the government is saying. And I don't I don't think we've gotten that in the last two years.

David Ross:
Is there any reason that you can think of why that might be the case? I've talked with other people who've shared that same concern.

Allan Rouben:
Well, that's far afield from what I'm talking about. But in answering your question about how we can educate the public. And. We are, to a large extent, reliant on the media for that purpose. So we've all heard about the funding of media organisations by the Government. That's not a good recipe. For a free and independent press.

Preston Manning:
I was wondering what needs or can be done legislatively to prevent this sort of thing happening. As you know, the current Emergency Measures Act was a revision of the Old War Measures Act, which was totally comprehensive. And when Pierre Elliott Trudeau invoked it at the time of the FLQ crisis, one of the major criticisms was you got this huge bill with no way of refining its application to a particular part of the country or particular emergency. And this act was supposed to be a limitation on the improvement on the War Measures Act. But are you suggesting that the current Emergency Measures Act itself should be amended to make its scope less comprehensive? Or is the alternatives to strengthen property rights, for example, at the provincial level, what if a province had property rights protection that recognized your bank account as personal property that cannot be confiscated by the federal government except upon your consent and upon payment of compensation, which is one of those roots, the way to go legislatively to correct the problem here.

Allan Rouben:
I'm not sure. The problem here was legislation. I think the problem was that the government overreached and used the powers that they have under legislation to go well beyond what was necessary in the circumstance.

Preston Manning:
But do you try to restrict those powers even more?

Allan Rouben:
Well, we don't know what's coming down the road in the form of an emergency later on that may justify these powers. So I don't know that that's the answer. The powers hadn't been used under the Emergencies Act since it had been promulgated. So I don't necessarily feel like that's the answer. But I do feel that a strong review of the basis for why this was done and the rationale behind it are extremely necessary. And to dig out what was really going on that caused the government to invoke these measures.

Trish Wood:
I have a question for you. We are now learning. That many of the allegations that were made to and I'm not sure they were directly connected to the Emergencies Act, but they were certainly used in the media. Right. The arson claim, which turned out to be false and the. Oh, they're being funded by the proud boys through all that stuff that happened, which turned out to be bogus. Not true, is what maybe this is a philosophical question, but a practical answer would be great if you've got one. What do we do as citizens now knowing that? This kind of pressure based on untruths can be brought to bear. And there there didn't really seem to be anything that the truckers or the protesters in Ottawa could do about it. It was. Mostly based on either faulty news reporting. Or things being said about the convoy that have proved to not be true. So.

Allan Rouben:
So what are we that's why this these measures, the economic measures in particular, are so pernicious, because in order to invoke those measures, to cease dealing with a designated person, all that was needed would be for a bank staff member. Certainly they have checks and balances within the institution, but would be a belief by a bank staff, you know, a bank or other financial institution that a person was a designated person or was acting on behalf of or for the benefit of a designated person. So if these untruths or they may well have gotten, you know, reports from RCMP or the police to flag designated persons. Right. But if the bank staff or the RCMP are acting under these same falsehoods, then those designated persons become the subject of the falsehood. And and they are their financial ability to transact in society is out the window.

Trish Wood:
Do you know if any of the banks pushed back on this? Have you.

Allan Rouben:
Heard? Well, I. I don't know the answer to that. And that's. I. I know.

Trish Wood:
I apologized. Right.

Allan Rouben:
I think we have been failed by the banking system in this matter. Yeah. Because they should have been yelling and screaming from the rooftops when this was going on, that this is contrary to regular norms and it's not appropriate not to have at least some safeguards in place before this happens. But they were directed in the legislation that they must cease dealing, it says must. And then they also were required, not just banks. It's every financial institution that we have in society. They were also required under the measures order, economic measures, order to on a continuous basis determine if they were dealing with a designated person. And and then finally they were required to report to RCMP and CSIS any belief that they were dealing with a designated person or holding assets of a designated person.

Preston Manning:
Trish And Alan, well, isn't what one measure that people did, some people did try to take is they they went and cancelled their bank accounts. And if there had been an organized effort to do that and this was not persons that were named in, these were persons sympathizing with those whose bank accounts had been frozen. If a large enough number of people had done that, particularly if you targeted just one bank to make one bank the target, the threat of a run on a bank in this country politically is a huge political problem. So that that is one thing that could perhaps be organised in the future, although it's a draconian kind of measure.

Allan Rouben:
There was some information and I don't know how valid it was that soon after the emergency economic measures order were. Promulgated and brought into force. The banking system was experiencing some blackouts. There was some speculation that I've never seen if it's been proven or not or talked about any further, which is why I said it's an untold story about why these were the emergency declaration was revoked. But if there was a run going on in the banks and the banks got extremely nervous about any pushback from their customers on this, then maybe in the back rooms they were going to the government and the Department of Finance and saying this cannot continue. It is going to absolutely ruin the reputation of this country for financial stability. We don't know that. We do not know that.

Trish Wood:
To mind answering a personal question before we let you go. I'm just wondering how now that you've had time to kind of think and absorb the magnitude of this. And it is a huge event in the history of this country when you kind of look at it from 30,000 feet. What are your thoughts on? Lasting harm if this is not sorted in a in the the transparency of sunlight. Trust is gone, right? It's absolutely.

Allan Rouben:
Gone. Well, I'm concerned that. How how much has this seeped down into the general public? I don't know. You're saying trust is gone? For a lot of people, trust is gone. But. How many? Like, what percentage? I don't know.

Trish Wood:
Yeah, well, maybe a lot of people who weren't involved in the event weren't paying attention. I will tell you that we had dozens of phone calls from people saying I gave them $10. Am I going to lose my house? That's what people. We're saying they were so frightened of it. It really was a trauma.

Allan Rouben:
And and that was a legitimate fear because when the moneys were given, there was no indication that anything serious could happen as a result of that. And then you have. You know, the emergency order being declared.

Trish Wood:
So thank you very much. Thank you.

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