An Exceptional Law: Section 98 and the Emergency State, 1919-1936

An Exceptional Law: Section 98 and the Emergency State, 1919-1936

by Dennis G. Molinaro


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During 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 Following a mass deportation campaign in the 1930s, Section 98 was repealed in 1936 and contributed to the formation of Canada's first civil rights movement.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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442629578
Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Publication date: 04/21/2017
Series: Canadian Social History Series
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Dennis G. Molinaro holds a PhD from the University of Toronto and his research focuses on the historical use of emergency powers and their effect on society. He is currently completing a second book on Canada's role in the Five Eyes intelligence alliance and it's covert Cold War wiretapping programs. He teaches at Trent University.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Exception

Chapter 1: For the Protection of People and State

Chapter 2: Defining Suspects

Chapter 3: The Trial

Chapter 4: Citizens of the World

Chapter 5: Outlaws

Chapter 6: Judgement

Conclusion: Towards a Real State of Exception


Notes and Bibliography

What People are Saying About This

Jim Mochoruk

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

Ian McKay

"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."

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