- Prime Minister Jean Chretien's government will be on
full Y2K alert New Year's Eve and ready to invoke an updated War Measures
Act if needed, sources have told the Sun.
- The Emergencies Act, which was passed in 1988, gives
cabinet sweeping powers to issue whatever orders or regulations it believes
are necessary to deal with emergencies such as major power outages caused
by computer glitches or civil insurrections, major riots and prison revolts.
- Depending on the emergency -- such as a nuclear accident
-- manpower, vehicles, equipment, food and clothing could be mobilized.
- Failure to comply could lead to fines and prison terms
of up to five years.
- The Defence Department has shelled out $700,000 for generators
to thwart possible Y2K power failures.
- Public Works has fenced in the four rented diesel generators
housed in tractor trailers beside defence headquarters to power its crisis
centre. The Defence Department has also tapped about 11,000 reservists
and 14,000 regular forces to work starting Dec. 27 through New Year's Day.
Everyone else is on call.
- "Against the worst, DND has to be prepared,"
defence spokesman Maj. John Blakely said of the $386-million Y2K preparedness
- "They can't arrest you just for something they think
you've done, but they can arrest you for not obeying the (emergency) regulations
they've made," a government insider said.
- Chretien has ordered eight key cabinet ministers to be
in Ottawa to handle any crises when the clock strikes midnight Dec. 31.
- Senior officials are loath to acknowledge the potential
for disaster and say Canada is nearly fully compliant to respond to Y2K
- They are even more reluctant to discuss the potential
for terrorist threats, mass suicides and crackpots looking to enter the
afterlife in a blaze of glory.
- "We don't respond to hypothetical situations,"
said Valerie de Montigny of the Privy Council Office.
- Governor General Adrienne Clarkson is responsible for
invoking the act, which sets off a chain of events including the recall
- At least 10 MPs and 15 senators would have to be in attendance
to approve the emergency law.
- Four key cabinet ministers -- Treasury Board's Lucienne
Robillard, Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy, Industry's John Manley
and Defence Minister Art Eggleton -- will run the show.
- Sources say senators -- besides the 10 or so who live
in the region -- have been warned to be prepared to come to Ottawa.