Canada’s Federal Court delivered a significant blow to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday, ruling that his deployment of the Emergencies Act in 2022 to address protesting truckers was both unreasonable and unconstitutional.
Justice RIchard G. Mosley, in his ruling, expressed that the decision to issue the Proclamation lacked reasonableness, justification, transparency, and intelligibility. The court found that the move was not justified considering the relevant factual and legal constraints that should have been taken into account.
The application for judicial review, brought forward by the Canadian Constitution Foundation, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, and other concerned parties, challenged the emergency measures enacted to quell the Freedom Convoy protests in Ottawa. These measures included freezing protesters’ bank accounts, conscripting tow truck drivers, and arresting individuals participating in assemblies deemed illegal by Trudeau’s government.
Justice Mosley concluded that Trudeau’s regulations had violated Charter rights, specifically those related to freedom of thought, opinion, and expression. Additionally, the Emergencies Act order was found to infringe on the right to security against unreasonable search and seizure.
The ruling states, “It is declared that the decision to issue the Proclamation and the association Regulations and Order was unreasonable and ultra vires the Emergencies Act. It is declared that the decision that the Regulations infringed section 2 (b) of the Charter and declared that the Order infringed section 8 of the Charter and that that neither infringement was justified under section 1.”
The Canadian Constitution Foundation, which initiated the judicial review, had expressed concerns about what they considered severe government overreach and violations of civil liberties during the pandemic. They argued that the Emergencies Act was used inappropriately, as it should only be employed when there is a national emergency and no other laws at different levels of government can address the situation.
While the government plans to appeal the ruling, the court’s decision marks a notable rebuke of Trudeau’s actions, emphasizing the importance of respecting constitutional rights and limitations, even during times of crisis.