Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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Niagara declares eclipse “emergency;” Taxis will keep working

“Your patience is appreciated” Taxi firm tells clients looking for cabs during eclipse

Niagara Falls has already declared a “State of Emergency” for Monday, April 8th, when a full eclipse of the sun will occur in the late afternoon. Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley has pre-emptively declared a “State of Emergency” in advance of any events which may occur.

“In order to make sure Niagara is prepared to accommodate this once-in-a-lifetime event, and out of an abundance of caution, Regional Chair Jim Bradley proactively declared a State of Emergency for Niagara Region under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA), effective today, March 28…residents and visitors to Niagara are welcome to safely enjoy the eclipse on April 8, and Niagara’s local governments, emergency responders, schools and other organizations have been working together with the Province and other key partners to make that possible. Declaring a State of Emergency under the EMCPA strengthens the tools the Region has at its disposal to safeguard the health and safety of residents and visitors and protect our critical infrastructure in any scenario that might arise,” Bradley stated on March 28th.

“This should go without saying, but apparently it must be said: a solar eclipse is not an emergency,” says Christine Van Geyn in a National Post op-ed.

“This is all over the top, and in the case of Niagara’s state of emergency, illegal. The region’s councillors should rescind their unnecessary invocation of the act, and if they don’t, Ontario Premier Doug Ford should rescind it for them, which he has the authority to do,” says Van Geyn, co-author of Pandemic Panic: How Canadians Governments’ Responses to COVID-19 Changed Civil Liberties Forever.

“The statutory definition of an ’emergency’ in the EMCPA is not met by an eclipse. An emergency is ‘a situation or an impending situation that constitutes a danger of major proportions that could result in serious harm to persons or substantial damage to property and that is caused by the forces of nature, a disease or other health risk, an accident or an act whether intentional or otherwise.’ An increase in tourism combined with less than three minutes of darkness is not an emergency. If it were, New Year’s Eve, the Toronto International Film Festival, many protests and other large community events would all be emergencies,” Van Geyn points out.

Marc Andre Way, CEO of Coventry Connections in Niagara, Ottawa, Durham and
other Ontario municipalities distributed a public service announcement this
week to local media and government indicating that Taxi service would be
available on April 8th as usual.

“Coventry wants to assure you that our ground transportation services
will be available and working as normal on April 8th. Whether you are hailing a cab on the
street; at a cabstand; by telephone or through our app, all services will be
available.

“However, we ask for your patience in obtaining services at that time.
We cannot predict changes in traffic or pedestrian behaviour during the
eclipse; there may be delays or traffic situations which we have not
anticipated. Thank you for your understanding, and stay safe,” the PSA
reads.