Liberals will appeal Emergencies Act verdict, Freeland says

Deputy PM Chrystia Freeland says the government will appeal a Federal Court decision which found the Emergencies Act was invoked unconstitutionally, claiming it was the 'right' and 'necessary' response to the 2022 Freedom Convoy protest.

Liberals will appeal Emergencies Act verdict, Freeland says
The Canadian Press / Christinne Muschi
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The Trudeau Liberals are standing by their decision to invoke the Emergencies Act in response to the Freedom Convoy protest, despite a Federal Court finding it violated Canadians' rights.

On Tuesday afternoon, it was announced that the court had sided in favour of a group of litigants arguing the use of the Emergencies Act infringed on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Christine Van Geyn, litigation director of the Canadian Constitution Foundation, one of the applicants in the case, shared the news in a post on X.

In the ruling, Federal Court Justice Richard Mosley wrote:

I have concluded that the decision to issue the Proclamation does not bear the hallmarks of reasonableness – justification, transparency and intelligibility – and was not justified in relation to the relevant factual and legal constraints that were required to be taken into consideration.

In my view, there can be only one reasonable interpretation of EA sections 3 and 17 and paragraph 2(c) of the CSIS Act and the Applicants have established that the legal constraints on the discretion of the GIC to declare a public order emergency were not satisfied.

The Trudeau government, however, plans to appeal this decision.

“We are aware of the court decision,” Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters at a press conference. “We have discussed it with the prime minister, with cabinet colleagues, with senior federal government officials and experts.”

Freeland said the Liberals did not agree with the verdict, adding the government “will be appealing it.” She said invoking the never-before-used act was the “right” and “necessary” thing to do.

Following the act's invocation, Freeland, in her role as finance minister, oversaw the freezing of bank accounts of convoy supporters. She also said she stood by this choice, saying it was not an “easy decision” but that the Freedom Convoy was “an incredibly serious threat.”

The government's choice to invoke the Emergencies Act was previously found to be reasonable by Commissioner Paul Rouleau, a Trudeau-linked appointee of the Public Order Emergency Commission.

The Freedom Convoy protest was spawned by a vaccine mandate on cross-border truckers before spiralling into an all-encompassing protest against COVID-19 restrictions and mandates during late January and early February 2022.

The demonstration was brought to a forceful end by one of the largest police response's in Canadian history. 

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