Federal Court Strikes Down Use of Emergency Powers in Freedom Convoy, Citing Charter Violations
Ottawa, Canada – Federal Judge Richard Mosley has made a ruling which has sent political and constitutional shockwaves across Canada. Justice Mosley in his ruling on the decision by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to evoke emergency powers during the Freedom Convoy occupation of downtown Ottawa branding that move as “unreasonable” and a breach of Canada’s rights charter.
This decision has led to an immediate announcement from Deputy Prime Minister Christina Freeland that the Government plans to to appeal the ruling.
“We respect very much Canada’s independent judiciary, however we do not agree with this decision,” says Deputy PM Chrystia Freeland as she announces the government will appeal a Federal Court ruling that the February 2022 invocation of Emergencies Act was unreasonable.
— CPAC (@CPAC_TV) January 23, 2024
Unjustified Use of Emergency Powers
The crux of Tuesday’s decision by Judge Richard Mosley was that the Emergencies Act, which was invoked by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the midst of the convoy’s three-week blockade in Ottawa, overstepped legal bounds and failed to uphold the principles of justification, transparency, and intelligibility. “The decision to issue the proclamation does not bear the hallmarks of reasonableness,” Judge Mosley stated, casting a shadow over the government’s actions.
The Emergencies Act in Question
Prime Minister Trudeau turned to the Emergencies Act on February 14, 2022, as the Freedom Convoy’s stance against the government’s Covid-19 vaccine mandates escalated into a significant disruption. The Act’s sweeping powers were used to impose bans on public assembly and restrict travel, a move that has now been retroactively scrutinized and condemned by the federal court.
Political Leaders Weigh In The ruling prompted a swift response from political figures. Pierre Poilievre, Leader of the Conservative Party, did not mince words, saying, “Trudeau broke the highest law in the land by invoking the Emergencies Act, finding that Trudeau’s decision to use the Act directly violated Canadians’ most essential rights.” He accused the government of dividing the country and illegally suppressing its citizens, promising that under his leadership, “The Emergencies Act can never be used again to silence political opposition.”
Alberta Premier Danielle Smith, alongside Justice Minister Mickey Amery, issued a stern statement: “The Federal Court released its decision that the issuance of emergency orders under the Emergencies Act was unreasonable and a contravention of the act. This court decision reaffirms that regulations under the act violated charter rights to freedom of expression and that the orders infringed upon the rights of Albertans, and Canadians, to be free from unreasonable search and seizure.”
Court sides with Alberta: Liberal use of Emergencies Act Unconstitutional
I have issued the following statement with Minister of Justice Mickey Amery in response to the Federal Court’s decision on the invocation of the Emergencies Act:
“Since day one, Alberta has been clear… pic.twitter.com/sKWUTkrCLe
— Danielle Smith (@ABDanielleSmith) January 23, 2024
Affirmation for Civil Rights Advocates For the protesters and the legal teams that supported their cause, this ruling is a triumph. “This is a great victory for democracy, for Charter rights and freedoms, and for the rule of law,” expressed John Carpay, President of the Justice Centre. Plaintiffs like Edward Cornell, a retired military veteran who had his bank accounts frozen, found solace in the ruling. “I am not a criminal. I am not a terrorist. I am a retired Canadian military veteran who honourably served his country… I feel betrayed by my own government,” Cornell stated.
Thunder Bay and the Freedom Convoy
During the journey to Ottawa, the Freedom Convoy travelled through Thunder Bay of course.
The Freedom Convoy rolled into Thunder Bay at about 5:30 PM on January 26th, 2022.
There were about 500 vehicles in the convoy. While numbers of 50,000 transport trucks were being talked about on social media, that number according to the group is the total which will arrive in Ottawa on Saturday.
In Thunder Bay, there were about 200 trucks, and about 300 other vehicles in the convoy which departed the city on Thursday morning. This convoy has captured a moment in time in Canada.
Departing from Prince Rupert on the west coast of British Columbia the convoy was greeted by large numbers of Canadians as it has made its way east.
The Freedom Convoy has attracted a lot of attention as it has continued across Western Canada into Ontario. That large stage has also brought in some who appear to have their own agendas.
In Thunder Bay that night, the NetNewsLedger video crew sought to gather a sense of why the participants in the convoy are so passionate about the cause they are on. There are reports of other media crews being insulted, and reporters feeling threatened.
That is something sadly becoming all too common in recent years.
The role of reporters on the ground is to gather the story and report on it. That is what NetNewsLedger sought to do and did.
Despite last year’s federal inquiry finding the government’s use of the Emergencies Act justified, Tuesday’s court ruling has raised critical questions about the balance between emergency powers and civil liberties.