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Alberta didn’t need emegency powers at Coutts border crossing and didn’t use them, lawyer says

Mandy England was part of a team of legal counsel representing the province of Alberta at the Public Order Emergency Commission on October 13th. Photo: POEC livestream

Click the white arrow at left to view the video of Mandy England’s remarks.

Alberta did not need special powers under the Emergencies Act to clear the Truckers’ protest at the Coutts border crossing last February, lawyer Mandy England told the Public Emergency Order Commission on opening day.

“Alberta’s evidence will show that the existing law enforcement tools that were already in place were completely sufficient, and they were successfully used to peacefully restore the flow of traffic at the Coutts border crossing, and to disperse the protest to illegal protests site,” said England, who is part of the team of legal counsel representing Alberta before the Commission.

“The Government of Alberta applied for standing as a party before this inquiry for two main reasons: first, Alberta believes it is important to share with Canadians the facts about how Alberta was able to effectively deal with the international border blockade in Coots, Alberta, prior to the invocation of the federal emergencies act.

Protesters at the Coutts, Alberta border crossing in February 2022 Photo: Mike Murchison

“None of the powers that were created under the federal Emergencies Act were necessary, nor were any of them used in Alberta to resolve the Coutts blockade.”

England also told Commissioner Paul Rouleau that although according to the Public Emergencies Act, provinces are to be consulted before any emergency declaration is made, “Alberta has many questions about how and when that decision was reached – a decision that was made despite the objections that Alberta and other provinces expressed during a phone call placed to the First Minister’s on the morning of February 14 2022, just hours prior to the announcement that the federal emergencies Act would be invoked.

“Alberta’s views were only asked for after the decision was apparently made, and they were basically ignored. The impact of these measures on the rights of Albertans is of great concern to the Government of Alberta.

“Alberta is here to find answers for its citizens and for all Canadians. We thank the commissioner for this opportunity to appear as a party and we look forward to working with the Commission in the weeks to come,” England concluded.

Public hearings on matters related to the federal government’s decision to declare a public order emergency in February 2022 began on Thursday, October 13. The factual phase of the hearings of the Public Order Emergency Commission is scheduled to run until November 25. They will be held in the Bambrick Room at 395 Wellington Street, in Ottawa.

Submissions from the public will be accepted by the Commission until October 31, 2022. Members of the public can make a submission to the Commission, with instructions on how to do this on the Commission website.

Representatives from numerous other provinces made introductory remarks on October 13th, as did spokespersons for organizations including the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA). Carla Zwibel of the CCLA said she suspected cabinet invoked the Act not as a proportional response to a legitimate threat but to frighten Freedom Convoy sympathizers. “The government may have used the confusion that the breadth of those orders engendered to their benefit,” Zwibel said.