Photo: Christopher Katsarov The Canadian Press “Without attentive and reasonable democracy, all our rights and freedoms are threatened. This is why we fought in this matter. This is a historic victory for all of us,” said Noa Mendelsohn Aviv, executive director of the CCLA, seen here on the right, on Wednesday.
After a victory it describes as “historic,” the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) says it is ready to “fight tooth and nail” in the Court of Appeal to defend the Federal Court’s decision on the appeal to the Emergency Measures Act.
“The Government of Canada announced yesterday that it would appeal the decision. I want to be perfectly clear: we will fight it tooth and nail in the Federal Court of Appeal. We will defend our historic victory for rights and freedom,” CCLA Executive Director Noa Mendelsohn Aviv said Wednesday.
The day before, Justice Richard Mosley, of the Federal Court, ruled in favor of the association by establishing that it was illegal and “unreasonable” for the Liberal government to invoke the Emergency Measures Act to attempt to put an end to the Freedom Convoy in February 2022. Downtown Ottawa had then been paralyzed by several hundred trucks for weeks.
- Use of the Emergency Measures Act deemed illegal by the Federal Court
- No blame for the Trudeau government in the Rouleau report
In his decision rendered Tuesday, Justice Mosley found that the reasons given to justify the decision to declare a state of emergency did not meet the requirements of the Act. Some of the temporary measures adopted to deal with the protests also “contravened the provisions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” he wrote.
At a press briefing in Toronto, the director of the CCLA indicated that she would set up a “dream team to challenge the federal government’s appeal.” She believes she can win the case before the Federal Court of Appeal.
“Without attentive and reasonable democracy, all our rights and freedoms are threatened. This is why we fought in this matter. This is a historic victory for all of us,” she added.
On Tuesday, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland admitted that the decision to invoke the law was made “reluctantly” but that she remained convinced that it was the right “good decision”, as the national security and economic stability of the country were threatened.
A strong message
Questioned by Le Devoir on the sidelines of the Bloc Québécois caucus retreat in Saguenay, MP Rhéal Fortin says he is not surprised by the decision of the Federal Court.
“I could have written it almost two years ago,” replies the man who sat on the special parliamentary committee on emergency measures. “There was nothing anywhere that required the proclamation of the Emergency Measures Act,” he maintains.
This was the first time that this law, which replaces the War Measures Act, was used since its adoption in 1988.
For the Quebec MP, also a lawyer by profession, there is no doubt that the case will eventually go to the Supreme Court – an avenue that could even be “desirable” to set the record straight. “The important thing is that the population knows what to expect and that we avoid reliving the same scenario over and over again. »
Whatever the outcome, the Federal Court's decision already sends a strong message to future governments, he says. “Even if the government appeals and ends up being right, I think we will still have sown doubt. It's not true that you're going to proclaim the Emergency Measures Act every time there's something that doesn't suit you on the Hill in Ottawa. »
Recall the special committee
In the wake of the Federal Court's decision, the Conservatives demanded the immediate return of the special joint committee on the crisis declaration.
The committee was set up to examine the measures taken by the government during the 10 days during which it remained in force.
“Given the court's decision today, Canadians legitimately want to know the reasons why the Trudeau government decided to use the Emergencies Act,” may we read in the letter sent to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre said Mr. Trudeau “must now answer for his reckless abandonment of the law and the most fundamental freedoms of all Canadians.”
The leader of the New Democratic Party (NDP), Jagmeet Singh, also pointed the finger at the Prime Minister, saying that the crisis was “the result of [his] lack of leadership.” “It was a difficult decision to support the emergency measures. We made this decision for the [good] of the country,” Mr. Singh said in defense Tuesday, in the middle of his party’s three-day caucus retreat in Edmonton.
The NDP supported the government in invoking this law, while the Conservatives and the Bloc Québécois opposed it.
With Boris Proulx