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What is a national emergency? Can Trump declare one for the wall? | Trump News

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US President Donald Trump will sign a funding bill that will avert another government shutdown, the White House said on Thursday. But he also plans to declare a national emergency to circumvent Congress to obtain funds to build a wall on the US southern border. 

Democrats have vowed to respond appropriately to any declaration, saying it would be a “lawless act”. 

Trump began weighing whether to declare a national emergency after Democrats refused to cave to his demand for $5.7bn in funding for the wall, prompting a 35-day government shutdown – the longest in US history. 

That shutdown ended last month after Trump, his fellow Republicans and Democrats came to an agreement to open the government while talks continued on border security. 

Facing a Friday deadline, congressional leaders came to an agreement earlier this week aimed at keeping the government open. Although it includes $1.37bn in funding to help build physical barriers on the border, it does not include money for concrete walls, forcing Trump to look elsewhere for funding.   

“President Trump will sign the government funding bill, and as he has stated before, he will also take other executive action – including a national emergency – to ensure we stop the national security and humanitarian crisis at the border,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement on Thursday. 

But any declaration would almost certainly face a legal challenge. 

Here’s a look at what a national emergency is, and why Democrats and many experts say Trump does not have the legal authority to declare one in this context. 

What is a national emergency? What will happen once it’s declared?

US federal law gives a number of powers to the president to use in response to a “crisis, exigency, or emergency circumstances threatening the nation”, a document prepared for Congress states. He can do so at will. 

Declaring a national emergency allows the president to meet the problems of “governing effectively” in times of crisis. They also allow the president to “seize property, organise and control the means of production, seize commodities, assign military forces abroad, institute martial law, seize and control all transportation and communication, regulate the operation of private enterprise, restrict travel, and, in a variety of ways, control the lives of United States citizens,” the document states.

Declaring a national emergency is a rare step. In this case, it would allow Trump to redirect federal funds from elsewhere to pay for his border wall. 

Jessica Levinson, political law professor at Loyola Law School, said although Trump has the power to declare an emergency at any moment, it would be complicated process.

“He has to say here’s an emergency and here’s what I need,” she told Al Jazeera.

“I need more money, I need more people, etc,” she added. “But the question is then if he waited so long to do this, and the country went through a government shutdown over this, how is it an emergency now? Where is the urgency?”

It’s also unclear where Trump can get the funding because Congress would still need to earmark money for the wall. However, some legal experts have told local media that Trump may be able to turn to unallocated funds in the Department of Defense’s budget. 

A source told Reuters that the White House lawyers had vetted the figures and believed they would withstand a legal challenge.

Levinson said to expect a legal battle once Trump declares a national emergency. 

“At that point people will sue and say this is not an emergency,” she said.

Under the Constitution, Congress holds the national purse strings and makes major decisions on spending taxpayer money.

Disputes over the constitutionality or legality of the exercise of emergency powers are judicially reviewable, the document prepared for Congress states.

What does Trump say?

Trump, who campaigned on a promise to build a wall on the US-Mexico border, had demanded Congress allocate $5.7bn in funding for the wall. 

But Democrats, who recently took control of the House of Representatives, refused, calling the wall ineffective, expensive and immoral. 

The legislation hammered out by Congress this week does not include money for a concrete wall, but it does allocate $1.37bn in funding for physical barriers. 

But, Trump hopes with the national emergency he can still follow through on his campaign promise. 

On Monday, as congressional leaders announced a compromise that didn’t include wall funding, Trump declared in front of a rally of supporters that he was going to get the wall built one way or the other. 

“Just so you know – we’re building the wall anyway,” Trump said. 

The president maintains that the wall is necessary to stem irregular immigration and drug trafficking. 

But statistics show that irregular immigration has dropped to a 20-year low and that many drug shipments are likely smuggled through official ports of entry, leading critics to argue a wall is not needed. 

What do Democrats say?

Democrats have long resisted Trump’s call for a wall.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday that there’s no crisis at the border with Mexico that requires a national emergency order. 

“If the president can declare an emergency on something that he has created as an emergency – an illusion that he wants to convey – just think of what a president with different values can present to the American people,” Pelosi added, pointing to gun violence in the United States as a national emergency.

She said Democrats were prepared to respond appropriately to a declaration of national emergency. 

She has not said if House Democrats would legally challenge the president. But she did say if Trump invokes an emergency declaration it should be met with “great unease and dismay” as an overreach of executive authority. 

She added that such a declaration would mean Trump is making an “end run around Congress”. 

The top Democrat in the Senate echoed Pelosi’s harsh comments. 

Senator Chuck Schumer said if Trump declares a national emergency to build the wall, he would be committing a “lawless act”. He also warned that Congress would take steps to stop the president. 

He added that Trump would be committing “naked contempt for the rule of law and congressional authority”. 

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Tiger-Cats claim victory against the Argos to maintain home record on Labour Day

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The Hamilton Tiger-Cats were at their devastating best against the Toronto Argonauts when the two locked horns on Labour Day at the Tim Hortons Field.

Just like with previous Labour Day fixtures, the Ticats produced a stellar performance with Dane Evans throwing two touchdown passes while Frankie Williams scored on a 67-yard punt return as they claimed a 32-19 victory on Monday. With this vital win, the Ticats extended their Labour Day home record to 7-0.

For players and fans of the Tiger-Cats, games on Labour Day are a lot more special and losing is something the Ticats aren’t used to.

“We know the fans are going to be behind us, we know Toronto is going to be chippy, we know it’s going to be sunny; we know it’s going to be windy. Everything that happened (Monday) we prepared for. There is something extremely special about Tim Hortons Field on Labour Day . . . you can feel it in the air, I can’t put it into words,” said Evans.

After the COVID-19 induced hiatus, the CFL is back in full action and fans can now bet on their favourite teams and just like with online slots Canada, real money can be won. Hamilton (2-2) recorded its second straight win to move into a tie atop the CFL East Division standings with Montreal Alouettes (2-2). Also, the Ticats lead the overall Labour Day series with Toronto 36-13-1.

In the sun-drenched gathering of 15,000—the maximum allowed under Ontario government COVID-19 protocols—the fans loved every minute of this feisty game. After all, this was the Ticats first home game in 659 days, since their 36-16 East Division final win over Edmonton in November 2019.

The contest between the Ticats and Argos was certainly not bereft of emotions, typical of a Labour Day fixture, as it ended with an on-field melee. But the Argos often found themselves on the wrong end of the decisions with several penalty calls and most of the game’s explosive plays.

Hamilton quarterback Evans completed 21-of-29 passing for 248 yards and the two touchdowns while Toronto’s make-shift quarterback Arbuckle completed 18-of-32 attempts for 207 yards. Arbuckle also made a touchdown and two interceptions before eventually being substituted by McLeod Bethel-Thompson.

Bethel-Thompson made an eight-yard TD pass to wide receiver Eric Rogers late in the final quarter of the game.

“They got after us a bit . . . we didn’t block, or pass protect well,” said Ryan Dinwiddie, rookie head coach of the Argos in a post-match interview. “They just kicked our butts; we’ve got to come back and be a better team next week.”

The Labour Day contest was the first of four fixtures this year between Toronto and Hamilton. The two teams would face off again on Friday at BMO Field. Afterwards, the Tim Hortons Field will play host to the Argonauts again on Oct. 11 with the regular-season finale scheduled for Nov. 12 in Toronto.

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Roughriders looking to bounce back after Labor Day defeat

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In what an unusual feeling for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, they would now need to dust themselves up after a 23-8 loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in what was a Labor Day Classic showdown in front of a full capacity crowd at Mosaic stadium.

Craig Dickenson, head coach of the Riders, witnessed his team with an unbeaten record get utterly dominated by a more superior team from Winnipeg. Now, he has got a lot of work on his hands getting his team back to winning ways as they visit the Banjo Bowl next.

“We’re going to see what we’re made of now…the jury’s out,” said Dickenson.

Dan Clark, who played centre for the Riders expressed his disappointment in losing what was “the biggest game of the year”.

 “If you lose every other game, you don’t want to lose that one. We’ve just got to take the next step,” said Clark in a report. “There are 12 steps to the Grey Cup left and it’s just about taking that next step and focusing on what Saturday will bring.”

With their first defeat to Winnipeg, the Riders (3-1) now rank second place in the CFL’s West Division, trailing the Bombers by one victory (4-1). However, the Riders will have the chance to even the season series during their trip to Winnipeg this Saturday. With the CFL heating up, fans can now enjoy online sports betting Canada as they look forward to their team’s victory.

The Rider’s offensive line will once again have a busy time dealing with the Blue Bombers’ defence.

Quarterback Cody Fajardo, who played one of the best games of his career two weeks earlier, had quite a stinker against the Bombers in the Labour Day Classic—which is the most anticipated game for Rider fans.

Fajardo had a 59 per cent completion percentage which wasn’t quite indicative of what the actual figure was considering he was at 50 per cent before going on a late drive in the final quarter with the Bombers already becoming laid back just to protect the win.

Fajardo also registered a personal worst when he threw three interceptions, but in all fairness, he was always swarmed by the Bomber’s defence.

While Fajardo has claimed responsibility for the loss and letting his teammates down, many would be curious to see how the team fares in their next game and with less than a week of preparation.

Dickenson is confident that his team would improve during their rematch in the 17th edition of the Banjo Bowl in Winnipeg. The only challenge now would be the loss of home advantage and dealing with the noisy home crowd, he added.

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Canadian report reveals spike in food-related litter during pandemic

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TORONTO — Restaurants’ inability to offer their usual dine-in service during much of 2020 may explain why an unusually high amount of food-related litter was found across the country, a new report says.

The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup (GCSC) is an annual program in which volunteers are encouraged to clean up green spaces and other natural areas.

Last year, single-use food and beverage containers made up 26.6 per cent of waste collected through the program – nearly twice as high a percentage as in 2019, before the pandemic.

“We suspect the change may be one of the many implications of COVID-19, including more people ordering restaurant takeaway and consuming more individually packaged foods,” GCSC spokesperson Julia Wakeling said in a press release.

While food- and beverage-related litter accounted for a greater percentage of waste uncovered by GCSC than in the past, it wasn’t the single largest category of items picked up through the program last year.

That dubious honour goes to cigarette butts and other smoking-related paraphernalia, which comprised nearly 29 per cent of all items collected. There were more than 83,000 cigarette butts among the 42,000 kilograms of waste found and clean up last year.

So-called “tiny trash” – little pieces of plastic and foam – also accounted for a sizeable share of the waste, making up 26.8 per cent of the total haul.

In addition to smoking-related items and tiny trash, the main pieces of litter removed by GCSC volunteers last year included nearly 22,000 food wrappers, more than 17,500 pieces of paper, more than 13,000 bottle caps and more than 10,000 beverage cans.

Discarded face masks and other forms of personal protective equipment were also detected and cleaned up, although not tallied in their own category.  PPE waste has been repeatedly cited as a concern by environmental advocates during the pandemic; a robin in Chilliwack, B.C. is the earliest known example of an animal that died due to coronavirus-related litter.

The GCSC is an annual program organized by Ocean Wise and the World Wildlife Fund Canada. Its operations were disrupted by the pandemic as well; only 15,000 volunteers took part in the program last year, versus 85,000 in 2019, due to delays and public health restrictions making large group clean-ups impossible.

Still, there was GCSC participation from every province and the Northwest Territories in 2020. Nearly half of the volunteers who took part were based in B.C., where the program began in 1994.

Data from past GCSC reports was used as part of the research backing Canada’s ban on certain single-use plastic items, which is scheduled to take effect by the end of 2021.

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