OTTAWA (LifeSiteNews) – Canada’s Public Order Emergency Commission began public hearings today into the federal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s use of the Emergencies Act (EA) to crush the Freedom Convoy in February.
Commissioner Paul Rouleau said in his opening remarks that uncovering “the truth is an important goal,” and that “the public has a right to know what has happened.”
Rouleau said, however, that the commission cannot determine whether a party is guilty of having committed a crime, noting it does not “make findings of legal liability,” and “they do not determine whether individuals have committed crimes.”
“While inquiries seek to uncover the truth, they are not trials,” Rouleau added.
The hearings are open to the public via livestream and will call forth at least 65 witnesses over six weeks.
Government lawyers claimed in their opening statements that the use of the EA was warranted.
“The evidence will show that the invocation of the Emergencies Act was a reasonable, and necessary decision given the escalating, volatile, and urgent circumstances across the country,” Government of Canada lawyer Robert MacKinnnon said.
Lawyer Brendan Miller, who is representing the Freedom Corp. group that represents many protesters in Ottawa, said the use of the EA was not needed.
“There was no justification whatsoever to invoke the Emergencies Act,” Miller noted, adding that there were no “reasonable or probable grounds to invoke the Emergencies Act and the government exceeded their jurisdiction both constitutionally and legislatively in doing so.”
Canadian Constitution Foundation legal counsel Sujit Choudhry said that the use of the EA “severely restricted the rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association.”
“The Emergencies Act is the successor to the discredited War Measures act which was abused during the FLQ crisis in Quebec,” Choudhry noted.
The provincial governments of Alberta and Saskatchewan joined in on the hearings to testify in objection to Trudeau’s use of the EA to crush the Freedom Convoy.
Alberta attorney Mandy England said that “it is important for the Government of Alberta to share with Canadians the facts as to how Alberta was able to handle the international border blockades prior to the invocation of the federal Emergencies Act.”
“Existing law enforcement tools that were already in place were completely sufficient and they were successfully used,” she added.
The Public Order Emergency Commission released the full list of 65 witnesses, which includes Trudeau and seven members of his cabinet. It said that members of the public “are welcome at the hearings,” both in person and via a livestream, which will be held at the Bambrick Room at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa.
The livestream will start each day at 9:30 a.m. ET and can be found on the commission’s website. The hearings will run until November 25.
Several people associated with the Freedom Convoy will speak at the hearing, as will members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Ottawa Police, and the Mayor of Ottawa.
In April, the Public Order Emergency Commission was formed by the government with the intention to look into the “circumstances that led to the declaration of emergency that was in place from February 14 to February 23, and the measures taken for dealing with the emergency.”
The Commission will “examine and assess the basis for the Government’s decision to declare a public order emergency, the circumstances that led to the declaration, and the appropriateness and effectiveness of the measures selected by the Government to deal with the then-existing situation.”
It will then conduct a “policy review of the legislative and regulatory framework involved, including whether any amendments to the Emergencies Act may be necessary.”
Canada’s draconian COVID measures were the catalyst for the Freedom Convoy, which took to the streets of Ottawa to demand an end to all mandates for three weeks in February.
Trudeau enacted the EA on February 14 to shut down the Freedom Convoy.
List of anticipated witnesses:
- Victoria De La Ronde
- Zexi Li
- Nathalie Carrier
- Kevin McHale
- Catherine McKenney (City of Ottawa)
- Mathieu Fleury (City of Ottawa)
- Steve Kanellakos (City of Ottawa)
- Serge Arpin (City of Ottawa)
- Jim Watson (City of Ottawa)
- Diane Deans (City of Ottawa)
- Patricia Ferguson (Ottawa Police Service)
- Craig Abrams (Ontario Provincial Police – OPP)
- Carson Pardy (OPP)
- Pat Morris (OPP)
- Steve Bell (Ottawa Police Service)
- Russell Lucas (Ottawa Police Service)
- Marcel Beaudin (OPP)
- Robert Drummond (Ottawa Police Service)
- Robert Bernier (Ottawa Police Service)
- Thomas Carrique (OPP)
- Peter Sloly
- Brigitte Belton
- James Bauder
- Steeve Charland
- Patrick King
- Benjamin Dichter
- Tom Marazzo
- Chris Barber
- Tamara Lich
- Drew Dilkens (City of Windsor)
- Dana Earley (Ontario Provincial Police)
- Jason Crowley (Windsor Police Service)
- Jim Willett (Village of Coutts)
- Marco Van Huigenbos
- Marlin Degrand (Alberta)
- Mario Di Tommaso (Ontario)
- Ian Freeman (Ontario)
- Rob Stewart (Public Safety Canada)
- Dominic Rochon (Public Safety Canada)
- David Vigneault (Canadian Security Intelligence Service)
- Michelle Tessier (Canadian Security Intelligence Service)
- Marie-Hèlene Chayer (Integrated Threat Assessment Centre)
- Deputy Commissioner Michael Duheme (RCMP)
- Commissioner Brenda Lucki (RCMP)
- Deputy Commissioner Curtis Zablocki (RCMP)
- John Ossowski (former, Canadian Border Services Agency)
- Michael Keenan (Transport Canada)
- Christian Dea (Transport Canada)
- Michael Sabia (Department of Finance)
- Rhys Mendes (Department of Finance)
- Isabelle Jacques (Department of Finance)
- Cindy Termorhuizen (Global Affairs Canada)
- Joe Comartin (Global Affairs Canada)
- Jody Thomas (Privy Council Office)
- Jacquie Bogden (Privy Council Office)
- Janice Charette (Privy Council Office)
- Nathalie Drouin (Privy Council Office)
- Minister Anita Anand (National Defence)
- Minister Marco Mendicino (Public Safety)
- Minister Bill Blair (Emergency Preparedness and President of the King’s Privy Council)
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
- Minister Omar Alghabra (Transport Canada)
- Minister David Lametti (Justice)
- Minister Dominic LeBlanc (Intergovernmental Affairs)
- Minister Chrystia Freeland (Deputy Prime Minister and Finance)