Friday, July 13, 2018

Molinaro on the Emergency State in Canada

Dennis G. Molinaro, Trent University published An Exceptional Law: Section 98 and the Emergency State, 1919-1936 with the University of Toronto Press in 2017. From the publisher: 

An Exceptional LawDuring periods of intense conflict, either at home or abroad, governments enact emergency powers in order to exercise greater control over the society that they govern. The expectation though is that once the conflict is over, these emergency powers will be lifted. 
An Exceptional Law showcases how the emergency law used to repress labour activism during the First World War became normalized with the creation of Section 98 of the Criminal Code, following the Winnipeg General Strike. Dennis G. Molinaro argues that the institutionalization of emergency law became intricately tied to constructing a national identity. Following a mass deportation campaign in the 1930s, Section 98 was repealed in 1936 and contributed to the formation of Canada’s first civil rights movement. Portions of it were used during the October Crisis and recently in the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2015. Building on the theoretical framework of Agamben, Molinaro advances our understanding of security as ideology and reveals the intricate and codependent relationship between state-formation, the construction of liberal society, and exclusionary practices.
Praise for the book:

 "An Exceptional Law: Section 98 & The Emergency State 1919-1936 is a very readable, incredibly well-researched study of Canada’s wartime-derived, but peacetime-continued sedition laws of early 20th century. But the book is of much more than historical interest. As they said in Battlestar Galactica: All this has happened before and will happen again. My copy is marked-up where I noted parallels to current immigration and anti-terror laws. … I highly recommend this book." -Craig Forcese

"A meticulously researched and well-written historical piece…. For those interested in political rights and the extent the public allows governments to determine what is and is not acceptable in the political sphere, An Exceptional Law is an excellent read." -Michael Marschal

"This superb examination of Canada’s storm-tossed years between the wars proposes a fresh interpretation of the harshly repressive and sometimes lethal legislation designed to discipline immigrants, punish radicals, and shape public opinion. Twenty-first-century readers will encounter in its pages a haunting premonition of the insecurity state that, ever since 9/11, has made dissent difficult – yet all the more necessary. This book is an indispensable addition to our understanding of freedom and repression in twentieth-century Canada." -Ian McKay

"An Exceptional Law is an important addition to the scholarly literature on several subfields of Canadian history. Dennis G. Molinaro’s scholarship is excellent." -Jim Mochoruk

Further information is available here.

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