OTTAWA (LifeSiteNews) — A group of 15 civil liberties organizations demanded an open “public” independent inquiry be held to scrutinize Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shutting down the trucker Freedom Convoy though the use of the Emergencies Act (EA).
As reported by Blacklock’s Reporter, late last week the civil liberties organizations argued together in a joint petition that it is concerned about “the use of state and police powers to suppress constitutional rights.”
The group is also concerned that such an inquiry into the use of the EA could be “marred by partisan fights.”
Cara Zwibel, who serves as the director for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) of Toronto, said as reported by Blacklock’s Reporter that the Trudeau government “may have an incentive to keep” any inquiries “secretive and closed.”
Zwibel said that the group wants to “avoid” the inquiry into the use of the EA from happening only behind closed doors, noting that it should be “a public process” as well.
Having a federal inquiry into the matter petitioned the civil liberty groups should be a process that is “designed around the pillars of transparency, openness and meaningful accountability.”
Trudeau enacted the EA on February 14, claiming it was needed to deal with the Freedom Convoy protesters, who were demanding an end to all COVID mandates.
For three weeks in downtown Ottawa, the Freedom Convoy stood firm in opposition to all COVID mandates before being forced out by police.
Trudeau revoked the EA on February 23.
According to section 63 of Canada’s Emergencies Act, the cabinet within 60 days of its activation, which is April 24, is required to “cause an inquiry to be held into the circumstances that led to the declaration being issued and the measures taken for dealing with the emergency.”
A clause in Section 62 of the Emergencies Act, which allows a committee made up by Canada’s parliament to investigate its use, is already occurring.
Zwibel said that the group of civil liberty petitioners, which includes many who are unsympathetic to the ideals of the Freedom Convoy, were all terrified by the possibility of the government using the EA to go after protesters.
Zwibel said the EA being used against the Freedom Convoy truckers “must not become something governments resort to,” and that such powers must not be “abused.”
Zwibel noted that the use of the EA by Trudeau in February “did not just apply to a group of people in downtown Ottawa, but every individual from coast to coast to coast. It put real restrictions on their ability to assemble peacefully.”
Blacklock’s Reporter lists as petitioners in the group the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association, Amnesty International, Black Legal Action Centre, National Council of Canadian Muslims, Canadian Constitution Foundation, David Asper Centre for Constitutional Rights, Centre for Free Expression Democracy Watch, Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, Ligue des Droits et Libertés, Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund and World Press Freedom.
The CCLA itself challenged the use of the EA by the Trudeau government in a federal court filing that is still pending.
Recently, the author of the EA itself warned that Trudeau’s use of it may have set a bad precedent.
Trudeau claimed the Freedom Convoy protesters were funded by foreign entities with ties to terrorist-linked financing. This reasoning was used as justification for Trudeau to enact the EA against them that included the freezing of hundreds of bank accounts.
Recently, however, a top official with Canada’s Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said there is no evidence of any links to terrorist activity in the funding of the Freedom Convoy.
The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) is suing the federal government for its abuse of the EA, which was used to quash the Freedom Convoy.
Freedom Convoy organizer Tamara Lich hired Lawrence Grenspon, a top Ottawa defense lawyer, in the hopes of getting bail conditions that ban her from using social media reversed.