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Ottawa spent “excessive” $2.2 million fighting Emergencies Act challenge

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News release from the Canadian Constitution Foundation

Federal Court Justice Richard Mosley found in January that the February 2022 invocation of the Emergencies Act to deal with the Freedom Convoy protests was unreasonable because there was no national emergency nor threats to security of Canada as were required to invoke the Act.

The Canadian Constitution Foundation is shocked to learn that Ottawa spent more than $2 million of taxpayer funds unsuccessfully fighting the legal challenge launched by the CCF and others to the Trudeau government’s illegal invocation of the Emergencies Act in 2022.

The $2,231,000 figure was revealed by the Department of Justice in response to an inquiry from Conservative civil liberties critic Marilyn Gladu.

The hefty figure was first reported in the Globe and Mail. Experienced counsel told the Globe that the amount spent was “excessive.”

The number includes the cost that the government spent fighting the judicial review of the invocation decision in Federal Court. It does not include the cost of Ottawa’s appeal, which is proceeding at the Federal Court of Appeal.

Federal Court Justice Richard Mosley found in January that the February 2022 invocation of the Emergencies Act to deal with the Freedom Convoy protests was unreasonable because there was no national emergency nor threats to security of Canada as were required to invoke the Act.

Justice Mosley also found that regulations made as a result of the invocation violated freedom of expression because they captured people who “simply wanted to join in the protest by standing on Parliament Hill carrying a placard” and the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures because bank accounts were frozen without any sort of judicial pre-authorization.

CCF Litigation Director Joanna Baron was dismayed to learn how much Ottawa spent.

“Civil liberties groups like the CCF rely on regular Canadians who care about rights and freedoms to fund this type of public interest litigation,” she said.

“The fact that the government seems willing to spend whatever it takes to defend its unlawful decision shows what we’re up against when we fight to protect the constitution and the rule of law.”

The CCF is calling on the federal government to drop the appeal of Justice Mosley’s decision.

Canadians who agree with the decision are encouraged to sign the CCF’s online petition calling on the government to drop the appeal. The CCF is also asking Canadians to consider making a tax-deductible charitable donation to the CCF that will assist with fighting the appeal.

The CCF is represented by Sujit Choudhry of Haki Chambers and Janani Shanmuganathan of Goddard & Shanmuganathan.

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Trudeau government only sought legal advice after Emergencies Act was invoked, records indicate

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Canada’s Freedom Convoy in Ottawa                                                                      Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

From LifeSiteNews

By Anthony Murdoch

The two-page Memorandum For The Attorney General was dated February 15, 2022, and was written by the deputy director of prosecutions. The date of the memorandum is significant, as it comes after Trudeau had invoked the EA on February 14.

A Conservative MP’s request for information has revealed that the cabinet of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau waited until after it had invoked the Emergencies Act (EA), which was done to take down the peaceful Freedom Convoy, to get legal advice from Canada’s Attorney General on whether its use was lawful. 

As noted in a recent Blacklocks’s Reporter article, Access To Information records obtained by Conservative MP Arnold Viersen from the office of the Attorney General confirm what many MPs have been suspicious of for years, that Trudeau’s use of the EA was not really warranted.  

“I filed an Access To Information request for the memorandum on the Emergencies Act sent to the Attorney General from the Public Prosecution Service,” MP Viersen said in a statement to the media. 

“What did they advise the Attorney General? We will never know because Justin Trudeau censored it.” 

The documents, despite being censored, do reveal that the two-page Memorandum For The Attorney General was dated February 15, 2022, and was written by the deputy director of prosecutions. The date of the memorandum is significant, as it comes after Trudeau had invoked the EA on February 14.

Trudeau’s Attorney General Arif Virani, during testimony on February 28, said that there was a legal opinion offered regarding whether the use of the EA would be justified, but that its contents had to remain confidential.

This claim of secret legal advice has never been substantiated.

In early 2022, the Freedom Convoy saw thousands of Canadians from coast to coast come to Ottawa to demand an end to COVID mandates in all forms. Despite the peaceful nature of the protest, Trudeau’s government enacted the EA on February 14, 2022. Trudeau revoked the EA on February 23.   

Earlier this year, Canada’s Federal Court announced that the use of the EA by the Trudeau government was a direct violation of the nation’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and thus was “not justified.”   

The Trudeau government has since appealed the court’s decision.   

I do not ‘believe for a second’ the ‘threshold’ was met to invoke EA  

Conservative MP Glen Motz told a February 28 hearing of the Special Joint Committee on the Declaration of Emergency that he did not believe for a “second” that the “broader interpretation even existed,” in terms of the legality of the EA’s use. 

“I still believe more strongly today than I did in 2022 that the circumstances to invoke the Emergencies Act were not met,” he said, noting that “The threshold was not met.” 

“I agree with Justice Mosley in his decision that it was in fact illegal and unconstitutional,” he said.  

The EA controversially allowed the government to freeze the bank accounts of protesters, conscript tow truck drivers, and arrest people for participating in assemblies the government deemed illegal.   

Before Mosley’s ruling, an investigation into the use of the EA, as per Canadian law, was launched by Trudeau. The investigation, titled the Public Order Emergency Commission, was headed by Liberal-leaning Judge Paul Rouleau. Unsurprisingly, the commission exonerated Trudeau’s use of the EA.   

During the clear-out of protesters after the EA was put in place, one protester, an elderly lady, was trampled by a police horse, and one conservative female reporter was beaten by police and shot with a tear gas canister.   

Last month, LifeSiteNews reported that Conservative MP Marilyn Gladu uncovered that the federal government of Trudeau spent $2.2 million in taxpayer money in a failed attempt to try and stop court challenges filed against it for enacting the EA to stop the peaceful Freedom Convoy.  

Freedom Convoy leaders Tamara Lich and Chris Barber have been in a ongoing legal battle with federal officials.   

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Alberta Sheriffs Branch

Crown appeal against acquitted peaceful protestor Evan Blackman back in court June 19

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News release from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms announces that a hearing date for Evan Blackman’s summary conviction appeal has been set for June 19, 2024. The hearing will take place at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Ottawa.

The Crown’s evidence against Blackman at his trial consisted of a 14-minute drone video, with no sound, and the testimony of one officer from the scene. For nine minutes of that video, Blackman is seen as part of a group of protestors standing across from a line of police officers on Rideau Street in downtown Ottawa. Blackman is shown de-escalating the situation by holding other protestors back and putting his hand up to stop them from confronting the officers. He is then seen kneeling in front of police for the five minutes prior to his arrest. At one point, while on his knees, he takes off his hat, puts his hands on his chest, and starts singing Canada’s national anthem.

The Ottawa Crown Attorney’s Office is appealing Blackman’s acquittal on charges of mischief and obstructing the police relating to his participation in the Freedom Convoy protests, specifically on February 18, 2022, the day police conducted an “enforcement action” – clearing Ottawa city streets following the invocation of the Emergencies Act by the federal government four days prior.

Blackman was acquitted after a one-day trial on October 23, 2023. The Justice Centre provided lawyers for Blackman’s defence at that trial and continues to support him throughout this appeal.

At trial, Mr. Blackman pled “not guilty” to all charges. The judge dismissed the case against him due to limited evidence and the poor memory of a police witness on key elements of the criminal offenses.

After his February 18, 2022 arrest and release the same day, Blackman discovered his three bank accounts had been frozen pursuant to the Emergency Economic Measures Order.

Chris Fleury, lawyer for Blackman, notes that if his client had been convicted, his intention was to bring an application for a stay of proceedings under section 24(1) of the Charter, seeking a remedy for the freezing of Mr. Blackman’s bank account. If Mr. Blackman’s acquittal is overturned on appeal, he intends to file this application.

Chris Fleury says, “The limited evidence available at Mr. Blackman’s trial showed Mr. Blackman attempting to de-escalate a volatile situation between police and protestors on February 18. He pled not guilty to the criminal offences that he was charged with, and the trial judge ultimately agreed and found him not guilty. This appeal is an attempt by the Crown to reframe findings of fact that they disagree with as legal errors. Mr. Blackman and I are looking forward to our day in Court at the appeal hearing.”

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