Thursday, June 20, 2024
Christine Van Geyn, Litigation Director at the Canadian Constitution Foundation. Photo: YouTube
Guest ContributionsMedia releaseNewsOpinion/Column

Emergencies Act fight not over says Van Geyn, Canadian Constitution Foundation

Christine Van Geyn, Litigation Director at the Canadian Constitution Foundation Photo: YouTube

CCF disappointed in Public Order Emergency Commission report, looks forward to Federal Court hearing

The Canadian Constitution Foundation, which participated as a party in the Rouleau Commission hearings and launched a legal challenge to the federal government’s February 2022 invocation of the Emergencies Act, is disappointed with the Commission’s report and many of its findings.

In his report, the Commissioner concludes that, largely due to failures in policing in Ottawa, Cabinet had reasonable grounds to conclude that a public order emergency existed in Canada. He made this finding despite evidence from the Director of CSIS that the protests in Ottawa and across Canada did not rise to the level of threats to the security of Canada, as required by the Act. There was also overwhelming consensus from police officers who testified before the Commission that existing criminal laws would have been sufficient to manage the protests.

The government refused to publicly disclose its legal basis for invoking the Act—reportedly, a legal opinion—by asserting solicitor-client privilege. The Commission therefore lacked a firm basis for concluding that Cabinet’s decision was reasonable.

As the Commissioner himself confirmed, his report is not binding in a court of law. The CCF looks forward to the hearing of its judicial review application in the Federal Court this spring.