Civil liberties groups challenge emergency law in federal court

Two civil liberties groups have appeared in federal court seeking the release of unredacted documents that led to the federal government’s decision to invoke the Emergency Act to end the Freedom Convoy protests earlier this year. rice field.

The Canadian Constitutional Foundation (CCF) and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) challenged the use of the law on August 8.

and statementthe CCF said it is seeking an order from the Attorney General to release documents including the minutes of the incident response group (IRG) and the minutes of the cabinet meeting that led to the declaration of this act.

“The government’s failure to disclose extensive evidence leading to the question of whether it was justified to invoke the emergency law is significant,” CCF chief litigator Christine Van Geyn said in a statement. It is an attempt to avoid judicial review.”

“Keeping these documents secret undermines the procedural integrity of this historic issue if litigants are spared from alleging that the government committed unconstitutional acts in court. ”

Incident response group

Founded in August 2018 by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the IRG is a federal commission. explained As a “dedicated emergency committee to be convened in the event of a national crisis, or in the event of incidents elsewhere that have a significant impact on Canada,” the government will:

Prime Minister Trudeau will meet with federal ministers and senior officials on Feb. 10 during a Freedom Convoy protest against federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates in the heart of downtown Ottawa since late January. Convened the IRG. Border crossings in Canada and the United States have implemented several blockades in solidarity with the fleet, as well as a growing push to end other pandemic restrictions.

” [IRG] We discussed the critical federal support that the RCMP provides to our law enforcement partners in Ontario and across Canada,” the government said. statement talked about the meeting.

Following the meeting, the liberal government invoked an emergency law on February 14, giving police additional powers to remove demonstrators in escalated operations over the next few days.

The law also allowed financial institutions to freeze the bank accounts of individuals or entities they believed had donated to protests without the usual requirement of obtaining a court order first.

This Act replaced the War Measures Act in 1988 and has been in force only three times in Canada’s history: two World Wars and the October Crisis of 1970. .

Review of emergency law

On August 8, CCLA also appeared in federal court considering the federal government’s invocation of the law.

According to CCLA, the hearing is part of a legal challenge to an unprecedented public hearing by the government. emergency lawThis allowed the government to circumvent typical democratic processes and limit constitutional rights across the country.

“The arguments we present today will highlight how the federal government has sought to use cabinet prerogatives to protect an increasingly wide range of government information from meaningful scrutiny,” CCLA said. . news release August 8th.

Advocacy groups said they were aware of the turmoil caused by the Freedom Convoy protests at the time But he said the activation of the emergency law was “illegal and unconstitutional”.

“Since then, our pro bono defense team has been trying to get an answer from the government. What evidence did the government have to support its invocation? emergency lawand what is the evidence that justifies the emergency orders they passed and restricts constitutional rights across the country?” the CCLA said.

“It wasn’t easy to get answers.”

Andrew Chen


Andrew Chen is a reporter for the Epoch Times based in Toronto.