Learning from the Emergency

What can everyone learn from what’s been happening the past two years, or more recently what’s happened in Canada?

February 21, 2022

By: Bobby Casey, Managing Director GWP

emergency I’m writing this on the 19th, the anniversary of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1942 order to intern all Japanese Americans under an “emergency” executive order. The timing is coincidental, but the alignment is ironic, considering everything happening under the cover of “emergencies”.

COVID-19 hit the US probably around November or December 2019. It didn’t become a matter of political policy until around March 2020. When people were told to stay home, they were also told this was a two-week campaign.

Anyone who’s ever read about governments and their emergency powers knows better than to believe the “two week” promise. In fact, there’s plenty of history that suggests we were in store for much more, and we laid that out on March 16th, 2020 in our blog “What Will a State of Emergency Usher In“.

Bailouts, inflation, stripped interest rates, wars, and fungible endless emergency powers were all on the menu and turns out the world ordered some hearty helpings of it all.

In a notice dated Friday, February 18th, President Biden extended the national emergency declared in March 2020, stating, “The COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause significant risk to the public health and safety of the Nation.”

Justin Trudeau also implemented “temporary” emergency powers to deal with the trucker convoy. Two things came from that: first was the freezing of bank accounts without a court order; the second was the descending of police through the convoy.

Banks have been told they can’t provide “any financial or related services” to people associated with the protests, a move that will result in frozen accounts, stranded money and canceled credit cards.

This ultimately led to the convoy dismantling. With no access to resources, they had to retreat. What’s next for this movement is unsure. Some are suggesting that they will be mounting a lawsuit. But the details are yet unsure as many of the leadership in this are only just getting out of jail.

The Canadian Armed Forces were not keen to interfere in the protest. Even the police chief, Peter Sloly, wound up resigning for not rushing in to arrest the convoy members. Sending in the military is never a good look, especially when the protesters have been asking to have a real conversation and the most Justin Trudeau could do was hide, name-call, and ultimately attack.

Elon Musk caught a lot of heat for tweeting a meme that likens Justin Trudeau to Hitler. He’s since taken it down. It’s a tired trope that usually amounts to: everyone I don’t like is literally Hitler. For the most part, invoking that name has swiftly lost its impact.

Like the word “felony”. It used to infer a violent criminal. Now it also includes someone who had something they shouldn’t, or someone who wrongly packages lobsters.

Targeting dissenters under an emergency act is definitely not cricket, but I think Trudeau walked right up to the line of making the trucker convoy event a Canadian Waco. You have people you don’t approve of surrounded by the government ready to storm in.

I say walked up to the line because they didn’t bomb them out. That’s still a very uniquely American thing.

But the way the government handled everything was very similar: upping the ante when they didn’t get what they wanted, and making up legal issues to justify the overreach.

While Ottawa didn’t use the massive firepower and military used in Waco, they did institute a retroactive approach to the protesters.

In an address given by the Ottawa Police Chief,

If you are involved in this protest, we will actively look to identify you and follow up with financial sanctions and criminal charges. This investigation will go on for months to come.

Basically, Justin Trudeau changed the rules, and is now charging people who broke them, before the emergency act was enacted, with crimes. It would be like passing a law that says plastic bags are illegal, and then arresting everyone who used plastic bags before the law was passed for breaking that law.

So far, at least 76 accounts containing roughly $3.2 CAD have been frozen. Nearly 100 people have been arrested. More have been threatened with arrests and charges, such as the owners of Iconic Cafe for merely feeding the truckers.

The ripple effect of this movement in the Commonwealth has already taken hold. Protests in Wellington, New Zealand and Canberra, Australia have sprouted as well, in solidarity with their distant Commonwealth cousins in Canada.

At what point do we cross over from emergency to normalcy? If nothing else, I think people need to figure that out and stick to it. I saw one post on social media saying: “Emergencies don’t last two years; wars do.” There’s something sharply poignant about that.

Wars since World War 2 have happened under the guise of emergencies, humanitarian activity, or the obscure “overseas contingency operations”. They aren’t declared wars anymore.

From the aforementioned blog from March 2020:

One example was under Truman: he declared a state of emergency which lead to the Korean War. It never was called off… and next thing you know we’re in Vietnam.

States of emergencies are at the whim of the Executive. The powers allowed under those circumstances is decided by Congress. In 1973 alone, 470 additional powers were enacted by congress to the President in times of crisis. While the National Emergencies Act was supposed to keep endless emergencies in check, the US still has emergencies dating back to 1979.

Emergencies are sudden, unexpected, and above all else, temporary. Your car breaking down, house fires, wallet stolen, broke your leg: these are all things we think of when we hear “emergency”. Once the immediate problem is assuaged, then the process of recuperating back to where you were before that happened resumes.

What are the lessons to take away from this?

  • Keep your assets separated from you personally. Using blockchain technology is certainly one way. Another way is to set up a trust or LLC.

  • Whenever you hear of a political “emergency”, prepare for it to stick around for the long haul.

  • While under emergency measures, pay attention to the other policies being passed quietly.

Click here to schedule a consultation on how you can protect your assets from overreaching governments, or here to become a member of our Insider program where you are eligible for free consultations, deep discounts on corporate and trust services, plus a wealth of information on internationalizing your business, wealth and life.

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