West News Wire: The panel tasked with looking into the matter declared on Friday that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s decision to apply the Emergencies Act against the trucks assembled in Ottawa to protest Covid-19 limitations was warranted and that the government’s tactics were appropriate and successful.
Trudeau’s vaccination requirement served as the catalyst for the month-long protest, which saw hundreds of truckers travel across Canada to picket Parliament Hill. Trudeau used emergency powers normally designated for dealing with war or terrorism and accused them of being fringe extremists wanting to overthrow the government.
Paul Rouleau, the federal judge who led the Public Order Emergency Commission, conceded that the “Freedom Convoy” was made up mostly of peaceful protesters who “shared certain social, economic and political grievances.” Even though the evidence presented showed no actual threat of violence or terrorism, Rouleau sided with the government’s justification for assuming emergency powers.
“The very high threshold required for the invocation of the Act was met,” he said, adding that the government “had reasonable grounds to believe that there existed a national emergency arising from threats to the security of Canada.”
Rouleau did call Trudeau’s invocation of the act “regrettable,” saying the entire situation could have been avoided but that a “series of policing failures” resulted in the protests spinning out of control.
Though he excused the measures such as freezing the bank accounts of protesters and their family members, Rouleau said that suspending the truckers’ insurance was inappropriate and counterproductive, and noted the government offered no way for people to get their property restored once the protest ended.
The commission’s five-volume final report offered 56 recommendations, ranging from policing practices to amending the Emergency Act itself going forward. Rouleau said the proceedings were a “rare public examination of decision-making,” with over 28,000 documents disclosed, a quarter of which were entered into evidence.
Rouleau stated that the federal and provincial authorities “responded in good faith to circumstances as they understood them” and referred to the pandemic as a “once-in-a-generation crisis” despite the fact that it was outside the scope of his mandate to examine the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
On January 22 of last year, trucks from British Columbia started traveling across Canada in opposition to the vaccine mandate. This began the month-long protest. Following the arrest of the majority of the protest leaders and the confiscation of their property on February 23, Trudeau declared an emergency that was later removed.
In November of last year, the Liberal Prime Minister defended his actions by saying that “using protests to demand changes to public policy is something that I think is worrisome.”