The World Forum - June 22nd, 2024

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Federal government met the threshold to invoke Emergencies Act: Rouleau


Report calls out policing failures and Ontario's inaction during an 'unsafe and chaotic' protest.

Commissioner Paul Rouleau said today the federal government met the "very high" threshold needed to invoke the Emergencies Act last winter, citing "a failure in policing and federalism."

"Lawful protest descended into lawlessness, culminating in a national emergency," he wrote in his highly-anticipated report, tabled Friday in the House of Commons.

"Invocation of the Emergencies Act is a drastic move, but it is not a dictatorial one."

The document sheds new light on one of the most controversial decisions ever made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government. On Feb. 14, 2022, Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act to end the protests that had blocked downtown Ottawa's streets for nearly a month.

The protesters were angry with the government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including vaccine requirements. They parked large vehicles on key arteries in the capital city and honked their horns incessantly for days.

It was the first time the law had been triggered since it was created in 1988.

By invoking the act, the federal government gave law enforcement extraordinary powers to remove and arrest protesters, and gave itself the power to freeze the finances of those connected to the protests. The temporary emergency powers also gave authorities the ability to commandeer tow trucks to remove protesters' vehicles from the streets of the capital.

The law defines a national emergency as a situation that "cannot be effectively dealt with under any other law of Canada." Further, a public order emergency can only be invoked when there is "a threat to the security of Canada" as defined by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act.