Trudeau calls for public inquiry into use of Emergencies Act during convoy protests

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday called for an investigation into the use of the Emergencies Act.

In a press release, Trudeau said an independent public inquiry called the Public Order Emergency Commission would be created to examine the circumstances leading to the release of the statement.

Trudeau invoked the law for the first time in Canadian history during the freedom convoy, giving the federal government temporary powers to deal with lockdowns and protests over pandemic restrictions.

“This includes the evolution of the convoy, the impact of funding and misinformation, the economic impact, and the efforts of police and other responders before and after the statement,” the statement said.

Paul Rouleau was appointed commissioner to lead the investigation. He was first appointed as a judge of the Superior Court of Ontario in 2002, then joined the Court of Appeal for Ontario in 2005.

Rouleau, who also served in the territories during his career as a litigator, will be responsible for submitting the final report, in both official languages, to both Houses of Parliament by February 20, 2023.

“In the days and weeks ahead, I will work to establish the Public Order Emergency Commission and will offer more information on the operation of the Commission in the near future,” Rouleau said in a statement. . “I am committed to ensuring that the process is as open and transparent as possible, given the tight reporting deadlines imposed by the Emergencies Act.”

Trudeau said in a statement Rouleau would review the circumstances that led to the Emergencies Act being invoked “and make recommendations to prevent these events from happening again.”

Trudeau cited ‘serious challenges’ in invoking the Emergencies Act

The Emergencies Act was repealed on February 23 after police successfully cleared Ottawa streets and put an end to adjacent protests. According to the law, an investigation into the use of the act must be opened within 60 days of the revocation of the declaration.

Trudeau cited “serious challenges to law enforcement’s ability to effectively enforce the law” when he announced its use.

“This is about keeping Canadians safe, protecting people’s jobs and restoring trust in our institutions,” he said at the time.

The unprecedented use of the Emergencies Act, according to Trudeau, has given police tools to restore order in places where public gatherings were considered illegal and dangerous activities, such as blockades.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said at the time that Canadian financial institutions could temporarily stop providing financial services in cases where it was suspected that an account was being used to pursue blockades and illegal occupations.

During the initial announcement, the premiers of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Quebec expressed concern about invoking the law.

Emergencies Act Joint Review Committee

In March, a special joint committee of seven MPs and four senators began examining the use of the Emergencies Act.

This committee will meet again on Tuesday. It has not yet released any findings.

The Emergencies Act sets out the conditions under which Cabinet will set up the inquiry announced on Monday. It indicates that an investigation must be carried out “into the circumstances which led to the publication of the statement and the measures taken to deal with the emergency”.

Investigations generally involve witness testimony, review of records and the use of experts to assist parliamentarians.