Feds kept most Freedom Convoy files confidential despite inquiry

According to the Privy Council, 87% of 31,844 documents went undisclosed, and Canadians will wait decades to see the confidential memos and emails.

Feds kept most Freedom Convoy files confidential despite inquiry
The Canadian Press / Sean Kilpatrick
Remove Ads

The federal inquiry into the recent Emergencies Act invocation did not include most records on the Freedom Convoy.

According to the Privy Council, 87% of 31,844 documents went undisclosed, and Canadians will wait decades to see the confidential memos and emails, reported Blacklock’s Reporter.

The feds earlier waived cabinet privilege for Justice Paul Rouleau to review documents into cabinet’s use of the Emergencies Act. 

Thousands of Canadians protesting across the country, particularly Ottawa,  expressed their “loss of faith in government,” owing to “economic hardship” caused by the federal COVID response.

Justice Rouleau earlier said the “peaceful demonstrations” came as a surprise to him, and that other “reasonable and informed people” could reject the use of emergency powers.

Of the 31,844 documents, a total of 27,815 or 87 percent were kept confidential by the Public Order Emergency Commission (POEC). Of the concealed records included 16,632 classified as “secret” and 372 as “top secret.” 

Only Commission counsel and Justice Rouleau had complete access to all convoy documents, wrote Privy Council staff in a report to MPs and Senators.

“Given that the Commission was an independent commission of inquiry the Privy Council Office cannot comment on how specific documents were used by the Commission,” reads the report. “These questions would need to be posed to former Commissioner Justice Rouleau.”

The report to the Special Joint Committee on the Declaration of Emergency clarified that all secret documents will not be released for years, and were deposited in the national archives.

The committee remains stalemated without any final report on invoking emergency powers.

“Will Canadians have access to the documents which were not published or otherwise referred to publicly and if so, how, when and where?” asked the report. “Records of historical value will be transferred to the Archives for long term access and preservation,” it reads.

“Library and Archives Canada is responsible for enabling public access to the historical records of commissions of inquiry,” said the report. “Once the Archives has processed the collection, members of the public can submit requests to order archival material.”

Library and Archives Canada is known to wait for decades to release even routine documents. Archivists have yet to release 1950 documents regarding Nazi fugitives in Canada.

However, the few thousand documents released persuaded the Federal Court to rule that cabinet members acted unlawfully in using emergency powers. “The decision to issue the proclamation was unreasonable and led to infringement of Charter rights,” wrote Justice Richard Mosley.

Though the Ottawa resident said initially the decision to invoke the Emergencies Act was “reasonable,” he contends that “preliminary view of the reasonableness of the decision” no longer holds. 

According to documents from the federal cabinet, members lied in claiming police expressly said to invoke the Emergencies Act, reported Blacklock’s Reporter. They also made false claims that protests were violent to justify emergency powers. 

“There was no serious violence in Ottawa, the main reason for the Emergencies Act,” RCMP Deputy Commissioner Brian Brennan wrote in a February 21, 2022 email.

“It is not an ‘extremist’ movement,” wrote Ontario Provincial Police Superintendent Patrick Morris in a February 22, 2022 memo. “It is not composed of ideologically motivated violent extremists. The actual leaders are not violent extremists with histories of violent criminal acts.”

On February 14, 2022, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau permitted the warrantless seizure of bank accounts and assets of convoy supporters.

According to figures obtained through an access to information request by Blacklock’s Reporter, an estimated $7.8 million in holdings belonging to convoy supporters had been seized from 267 bank accounts and 170 bitcoin wallets in 2022.

Remove Ads
Remove Ads

Don't Get Censored

Big Tech is censoring us. Sign up so we can always stay in touch.

Remove Ads