Canada Federal Court: Emergencies Act Unjustified
On January 23, Canada’s Federal Court found the Trudeau government’s move to block the 2022 truckers’ protest unjustified, unreasonable and a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
- Justice Richard Mosley, a veteran judge with a specialty in criminal law and national security, issued a 165-page ruling that is the first official rebuff of the invocation.
What was it? A public order emergency was declared under the Emergencies Act on Feb. 14, 2022, to stop the Freedom Convoy protest in Ottawa and other border blockades across the country.
The powers gained from the invocation allowed the government to make arrests without a warrant, froze at least 257 bank accounts, and essentially suspended civil liberties. Despite the proclamation guaranteeing that charter rights would not be violated, in practice they were.
The Emergencies Act was the most belligerent government response in generations. Despite multiple public inquiries claiming that the government was justified, Justice Mosley disagreed. He summarized his ruling:
I have concluded that the decision to issue the proclamation does not bear the hallmarks of reasonableness—justification, transparency and intelligibility—and was not justified in relation to the relevant factual and legal constraints that were required to be taken into consideration.
Unjustified: Not only did Mosley find that the legal threshold for a “public emergency” was not reached, he also found that the freezing of bank accounts was not justified by Section 1 of the charter, which allows the government to circumvent rights if it is “reasonable” and is minimally impairing.
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland stated that the government would appeal the ruling.
Comments from Chief Justice Richard Wagner in an interview with LeDevoir, published on April 9, 2022, indicates that he will try to find a way to overturn it. He said the protests were “the beginning of anarchy where some people have decided to take other citizens hostage.” He also said that “forced blows against the state, justice and democratic institutions like the one delivered by protesters … should be denounced with force by all figures of power in the country.”
Trouble for Trudeau: There is no legal punishment in this ruling, but it comes at the same time that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s support is plummeting nationwide. . Douglas Alderson, a retired lawyer and constitutional scholar, told the Trumpet: “There is however a huge pollical punishment, if people are paying attention. This is the third major court loss for Trudeau and his Liberal cronies. In October of 2023, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in Reference re Impact Assessment Act that the Impact Assessment Act was unconstitutional. A month later, in Responsible Plastic Use Coalition v. Canada (Environment and Climate Change), Justice Angela Furlanetto (a Liberal appointee by the way) struck down the law banning single-use plastics. All in all, these are three huge and embarrassing losses for Trudeau.”
Two of Trudeau’s key environmental policies, the single-use plastics ban and the Impact Assessment Act, were ruled unconstitutional. After using police powers in an unprecedented way in the Emergencies Act, the Trudeau government has been in a free fall.
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