I was a little surprised by the CBC headlines this past week: Ottawa's use of Emergencies Act against convoy protests was unreasonable, violated Charter, court rules www.cbc.ca/news/politics/emergencies-act-federal-court-1.7091891
News headlines come flying at us daily, the court case just wasn’t on my radar, and 2022 seems a long time ago now.
But before we shrug and turn away, we need to face the fact that Canada’s prime minister has not had a second sober thought about the citizens he maligned when he first attempted to minimize, dismiss and denigrate those involved. No, he’s calling for an appeal. Appeals are based upon, as I understand it, problems with the process of the initial court case, not just that you don’t like the judge’s decision.
In my mind, the convoy participants paid a very high price and some will still be paying, to have vaccine mandates removed from our lives.
The handling of Covid -19 riled enough people to raise a protest that caught the world’s attention.
I continue to wonder why our prime minister didn’t even face the crowd gathered in Ottawa. He didn’t invite the protest leaders to a sit-down. Leadership? I don’t think so.
Was his cowardly inaction at all, in any way, to blame for the protest that lasted weeks? We’ve not heard much about that. But that’s what is in my mind. Was dialogue with the every-day people of Canada to be spurned? Maybe the situation needed Trudeau’s political peers to step up to the plate. Where were the Conservative party leaders?
Now, we have Leader of the Opposition Pierre Poilievre and the likes of Calgary MP Michelle Rempel Garner crowing victory. Understandable.
As Chairperson Kenneth R. Drysdale speaking for the Canadian Citizens’ Inquiry Commission stated in their final report, the Covid years were a scarry time on many levels. People were even scared of certain lines of inquiry.
Then, to have masses of truck drivers and their supporters with big honkin’ signs break through the fear barrier – yeah big honking trucks – that was also scarry.
From the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, here’s the distillation of the court challenge to the legality of the use of the Emergencies Act in 2022. Noa Mendelsohn Aviv, Executive Director and General Counsel restated the federal court decision and he said:
“The federal government’s decision to declare a public order emergency under the Emergencies Act in early 2022, as well as the associated regulations that it enacted, were unreasonable and were not justified on the facts or the law.
“The regulations violated the Charter right to freedom of expression and the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure.
“From the moment the Emergencies Act was invoked, the CCLA raised our concerns.
“Emergency is not in the eye of the beholder. Emergency powers are necessary in extreme circumstances, but they are also dangerous to democracy. They should be used sparingly and carefully. They cannot be used even to address a massive and disruptive demonstration if that could have been dealt with through regular policing and laws. The threshold for invoking the Emergencies Act is extremely high. The government must demonstrate that there is an emergency arising from threats to the security of Canada and that that emergency truly has a national scope. The Federal Court agreed that this threshold was not met.”