Ford attorneys claim irreparable damage to rule of law if investigative subpoena doesn’t stay

Ontario Government lawyer On Tuesday, Prime Minister Doug argued that there would be “irreparable damage” to the rule of law if that happened. ford And one prime minister was forced to testify at a federal inquiry after trying to avoid testifying, citing parliamentary privilege.

However lawyer The Public Order Emergency Commission, which is overseeing the investigation, argued that evidence of damage was “speculative” at best.

The claim was made in federal court as follows: ford And then-Attorney General Sylvia Jones called for an investigation into the federal government’s use of the Emergency Act to end the so-called Freedom Convoy protests in Ottawa and Windsor, Ontario last winter. I am trying to destroy the subpoena with

both ford and Jones argued through them lawyer Parliamentary privilege is a centuries-old constitutional privilege granted to incumbent politicians.

State Attorney Susan Keenan said parliamentary prerogatives protect the separation of the courts, the crown and parliament in the proper functioning of the constitutional system.

“When privilege is under threat, it’s important to protect it,” Keenan said. “Otherwise, the damage is not only irreversible, but cumulative.”

ford and Jones were seeking a stay of the subpoena issued by last week’s investigation pending a full hearing on the application for judicial review.

Judges and parties agree that there will be no time to hear the full application as the Commission will meet only until November 25th, ford and Jones are scheduled to testify on November 10, if subpoenas are granted.

What the commissioner of the investigation wants to hear ford and Jones talked about how they handled the occupation in downtown Ottawa and the blockade of traffic from the United States at the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor.

ford And Jones could face contempt of court, fines, and imprisonment for ignoring the subpoena unless he wins an application for stay. lawyer Said.

Another state attorney, Darrell Klose, said: “Prime Ministers and Deputy Prime Ministers have to claim privileges and are put in the intolerable position of potentially being charged with contempt.”

The state argued that not allowing stay would have a chilling effect on all legislative bodies, and that politicians could face fines, contempt of court, or imprisonment if they chose not to testify in court.

Mr Keenan said allowing subpoenas would erode all of Congress’ privileges. and immunity from being subpoenaed to appear in court as a witness.

The judge who heard the discussion said he struggled with the idea that the subpoena itself would be void, given that the commission has the same powers of subpoena as a state high court.

Judge Simon Fothergill said both things ford and Jones had “appropriate” testimony, and in fact the harm to them was “not very serious, just two people testifying”.

He said the parliamentary privilege of being immune from being summoned to criminal or civil courts is a long standing privilege. But Fothergill said the lawsuit is important whether that privilege applies to public investigations.

The state, pointing to a 2005 federal court case, held that congressional prerogatives apply to public investigations.

Commission attorney Doug Mitchell argued that no case has ever determined whether congressional privilege applies to an investigation. claimed.

“It is the court’s role to determine the extent of[privileges]not just to accept Congress’ arguments,” Mitchell said.

There is no blanket rule that gives incumbent politicians immunity in all cases, he said, adding that several courts oppose parliamentarians claiming different kinds of privileges.

mitchell said ford Jones’ claims of irreparable harm have no evidence of harm to them as individuals, only their claim that it would harm the rule of law.

“I think it’s pretty speculative at the moment,” he said.

mitchell said ford And Jones can choose whether to waive parliamentary privileges, as other federal ministers, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Attorney General David Lameti, who are expected to testify in the coming weeks, have done.

“I don’t think making hard choices will do irreparable harm,” Mitchell said. “It’s decked out in constitutional language, but it’s not the kind of irreparable damage that courts are entitled to.”

The judge said he would make a decision two days before, Nov. 8. ford Jones plans to testify at the inquiry.

Liam Casey

canadian press