“Convoy of Freedom”: A commission of inquiry into the state of emergency, announces Trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced the launch of a public inquiry to look into his government’s use of the Emergency Law to end the anti-sanitary measures protests that rocked the country earlier this year.

• Also read: Dozens of protesters for the convoy in Montreal

The Emergency Measures Act requires a commission of inquiry to be initiated within 60 days of its application. Monday’s announcement comes on the 60th day after the lawsuit.

Former Ontario Judge Paul S. Rouleau will be assigned to “investigate the circumstances that prompted the government to declare a state of emergency and the actions taken in response to that situation,” the first minister’s office said in a press release.

The independent commission of inquiry “will examine in particular the development of the convoy, the impact of financing and disinformation, the economic fallout and the efforts of police forces and other emergency services before and after the declaration of the state of emergency,” we continue.

Justice Rouleau’s report must be submitted to Parliament by February 20, 2023.

A controversial decision

Facing an unsustainable situation in downtown Ottawa, the Trudeau administration declared a state of emergency on February 14. With a promise that it would only apply for a “limited” time, the declaration was revoked on February 23, days after the end of the occupation.

The controversial decision had put an end to the “freedom convoy” that had occupied the center of the capital for just over three weeks between January 28 and February 20, according to the federal government and Ottawa police.

Application of the law also gave financial institutions the power to freeze the assets of people suspected of helping fund the Ottawa occupation.

For their part, the police were able to benefit from exceptional powers, notably to force towing companies to help tow away the trucks that were paralyzing the city centre.

This was the first application of the law since it was passed by Brian Mulroney’s progressive Conservative government in 1988. It was to be a reform of the War Measures Act propagated by Pierre-Eliott Trudeau during the October 1970 Crisis.

The Conservative Party and the Bloc Québécois had both chosen to vote against the use of the emergency law, the former fearing abuse of power and attacks on freedom of expression, the latter believing the game was not worth the candle. at least on the territory of Quebec.

The NDP, however, supported the government’s crackdown over the extremist elements it saw as the core of the protest movement.

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