Canada court rules gov’t use of Emergency Act was illegal

By John Steele
February 5, 2024

MONTREAL — In a victory for hundreds of truckers who demonstrated two years ago in Ottawa and other cities as part of the Freedom Convoy, a federal judge ruled Jan. 23 that the Canadian government’s invocation of the notorious Emergencies Act to bust up their protests in 2022 was “unreasonable,” “unjustifiable” and violated basic rights in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Using these anti-working-class emergency powers, the government unleashed 3,000 heavily armed cops with military-grade weapons to clear out the protesters camped in front of Canada’s Parliament in downtown Ottawa. They froze the bank accounts of many protesters. Truck companies were ordered to tow away demonstrators’ rigs, and parts of downtown Ottawa were declared no-go zones.

Over 200 were arrested, many charged with criminal offenses, including spokespeople for the Freedom Convoy whose trials are currently underway or set to begin later this year.

The ruling by Federal Court Justice Richard Mosley is the result of four challenges filed by civil liberties groups, including the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and Canadian Constitutional Foundation.

The declaration of a “national public safety emergency” under the act — used for the first time since it replaced the former War Measures Act in 1988 — was justified by Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who claimed the Freedom Convoy was a threat to Canada’s “national security.” The truckers were protesting job-threatening COVID mandates, and other anti-labor government policies.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland announced the government intends to appeal the ruling.

The judge’s decision rebuts the conclusions of a monthslong Public Order Emergency Commission last year that white-washed and justified Ottawa’s imposition of the Emergencies Act after conducting an “investigation” of the government’s action.

The Communist League submitted arguments before the commission denouncing the government’s actions and calling for the immediate repeal of the Emergencies Act. It called the cop mobilization against the truckers “one of the largest acts of police repression in modern Canadian history.”

“Ottawa’s aim was to criminalize a political protest that challenged government policies,” the Communist League explained. “It used its assault to establish a precedent to be used against future protests, against our unions, and against working-class and political parties that the government considers a threat.”

The CL demanded all charges against Freedom Convoy leaders and participants be dropped.