A local political observer and history buff says invoking the Emergencies Act is a significant move for the federal government.

Michael Zwaagstra teaches both politics and history and is a Steinbach City Councillor. He says the Emergencies Act was first put in place in 1988 and it replaced the War Measures Act which was used in the FLQ Crisis in 1970.

Zwaagstra says the Emergencies Act is not as powerful as the War Measures Act.

“The War Measures Act was a more blunt instrument. When the War Measures Act was invoked, it literally gave the power to the government to remove civil rights from everyone in the country and that is why you saw soldiers with guns on the streets in 1970. The Emergencies Act is still very significant but it is more finely tuned than the War Measures Act was.”

This is the first time the Emergencies Act has ever been used.

ct will certainly be noticeable for anyone that lives in or near Ottawa.

For the military to be called in, the federal government would have to invoke the National Defense Mobilization Act.

Zwaagstra says it is hard to say whether or not the Emergencies Act will have any effect on the Emerson border protest. He notes it depends on how the government chooses to use it.