Doug Ford can claim privilege to avoid testimony in emergency law investigation: Judge

Federal court judges control Ontario Premier Doug Ford and former Attorney General, now Health Minister and Ontario Deputy Premier Sylvia Jones have parliamentary privileges and refuse to testify before the Public Order Emergency Committee can do.

Ford and Jones were subpoenaed on October 24 to testify at a hearing about the federal government’s invocation of the Emergency Act to end the Freedom Convoy protests in Ottawa earlier this year. did. They voluntarily refused to attend, and the matter went to court.

Officials from both governments were scheduled to testify this week on Nov. 10, but instead asked a federal court to declare that the subpoena was issued without jurisdiction.

In issuing the written ruling, Judge Simon Fothergill said the subpoena was “validly issued.” he said:

The judge said, “The court’s role in reviewing claims of parliamentary privilege is limited to ascertaining whether the privilege exists and applies to the circumstances.”

He added that both witnesses may “have valuable evidence to offer.”

Exercise parliamentary privileges

However, Fothergill said that as long as the Ontario Legislative Assembly remained in session, Ford and Jones “could resist subpoenas by claiming parliamentary privilege, and the commission would compel them to attend and present evidence.” No action can be taken to compel them to submit.”

The Prime Minister and Supreme Minister said the judge “has a valid excuse for not complying with the summons issued by the Commission. The Commission will take steps to compel them to attend and to compel them to produce evidence.” I can not do it.”

Officials from both governments used parliamentary powers to avoid testimony. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Attorney General David Lameti abandoned It is their prerogative and they plan to bring evidence before the commission closes the hearing.

Fothergill said in the decision that two state officials will testify before the commission. Deputy Attorney General Mario Di Tomaso and former Deputy Minister Ian Freeman, but neither are part of the legislative branch.

Attorneys for the commission argued that “it is in the public interest to gain insight into the political choices made in the face of the events of early 2022.” Ottawa Residents and Business Coalition, Canadian Constitutional Foundation , the Canadian Civil Liberties Association also supported the subpoenas of Ford and Jones.

At a press conference on November 7, after a decision in his favor, Ford Said“This is a federal investigation under federal law seeking emergency legislation. This is a federal matter.”

Canadian Press contributed to this report.

Marnie Cathcart


Marnie Cathcart is a reporter based in Edmonton.