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Emergencies Act inquiry will be delayed until October due to commissioner’s illness

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By David Fraser in Ottawa

The inquiry into Ottawa’s unprecedented use of the Emergencies Act during protests last winter will be delayed until October because of a health issue.

The Public Order Emergency Commission was to begin hearings Sept. 19 but will be delayed now until Oct. 13, a statement from the commission said Friday.

Six weeks have been scheduled for the hearings so they will now finish on Nov. 25. The commission has until mid-February to deliver its report.

The delay comes because commissioner Paul Rouleau is undergoing surgery.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act in February amid border blockades and the occupation of downtown Ottawa by protesters demonstrating against the Trudeau government and COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

There is a legal requirement to create a public review commission to look into the decision to use the Emergencies Act. A parliamentary committee is also separately conducting its own study on why the act was invoked.

Police forces, organizers of the “Freedom Convoy” and all three levels of government are expected to testify at the hearings. Parties with standing at the commission were told about the delay Friday afternoon.

Roleau said in a statement he was committed to completing the commission’s work in a “timely manner.”

“Commission staff, with the co-operation of all parties, has made significant progress over the past several weeks in obtaining and reviewing documents, conducting interviews, and preparing for the start of public hearings.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 2, 2022.

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COVID-19

Public hearings in Emergencies Act inquiry to start in September

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OTTAWA — The inquiry into Ottawa’s unprecedented use of the Emergencies Act during protests in February will start its public hearings next month.

The Public Order Emergency Commission announced today that it expects the hearings to run from Sept. 19 until Oct. 28 at Library and Archives Canada in downtown Ottawa.

Commissioner Paul Rouleau said in a statement that he intends to hold the government to account and wants the inquiry to be as “open and transparent” as possible.

Hearings will be livestreamed online and members of the public will have opportunities to share their views, with a final report expected early next year.

Parties to the inquiry including “Freedom Convoy” organizers, police forces and all three levels of government are expected to testify and contribute documentary evidence on the invocation of the act in February.

The federal Liberals made the move amid border blockades and the occupation of downtown Ottawa by protesters demonstrating against COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 15, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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COVID-19

Convoy Lawyer details how trucks were moving BEFORE PM Trudeau invoked Emergency Measures Act

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CBC news is reporting that court documents indicate “On the night before Justin Trudeau took the historic step of invoking the Emergencies Act during last February’s Freedom Convoy occupation of Ottawa, the prime minister’s national security and intelligence adviser told cabinet there was “potential for a breakthrough,” “

This has come to light thanks to court challenges from civil liberties groups who claim the federal government went too far by invoking the Emergencies Measures Act.

Various media outlets are reporting it was unclear whether the truckers would hold up their end of the deal negotiated with the City of Ottawa.  However an interview by commentator Viva Frei with Keith Wilson, lead lawyer for the Freedom Convoy makes it clear, trucks were already moving before the act was invoked.

The link above will take you to the youtube page of Viva Frei for a fascinating full length interview with Keith Wilson who talks about his 19 days in downtown Ottawa during the Freedom Convoy where he lead a team of lawyers representing the leaders of the trucker convoy in their dealings with the police, and the City of Ottawa.

Below is an 18 minute segment of that interview which focusses on the days immediately prior to the invocation of the Emergencies Measures Act.  Wilson details how when tensions were building, he tapped former Newfoundland Premier Brian Peckford who helped to make a critical link to the office of the Mayor of Ottawa.  He goes on to share how the early meetings lead to an agreement to move all the trucks out of the downtown core to Wellington (in front of Parliament Hill), another road nearby, or a couple of areas on the outskirts of Ottawa.  The truckers would then have been bussed daily to Parliament Hill where they could join the ongoing demonstration.

As you’ll see in this video, the trucks were already moving before PM Justin Trudeau invoked the Emergency Measures Act.

 

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