POEC Commission Declares Trudeau's Use Of The Emergencies Act "Appropriate"

POEC Commission Declares Trudeau's Use Of The Emergencies Act "Appropriate"

The report released by the Public Order Emergency Commission (POEC) headed up by former Supreme Court Justice Paul Rouleau declared that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s invocation of the Emergencies Act to clear the trucker protest in Ottawa last year was “appropriate.”

(Read Andrew Lawton’s thread on Twitter if you are interested in reading some of the lowlights of the POEC report)

Of course, this is a disappointing decision for anyone supportive of the Freedom Convoy 2022 protest, and the peaceful goal to peacefully protest until the federal government removed the travel mandates and scrapped the ArriveCan app.

While both of those goals have been achieved since last year, in large part because of the public opinion shift against lockdowns and mandates, spurred on by the convoy, it is disheartening that the commission act as a shield for Trudeau’s reputation.

Rouleau concludes his opinion with a quote from former Minister Perrin Beatty who originally introduced the Emergencies Act in Parliament back in the 1990s, who stated:

When the country is threatened by a serious and dangerous situation, the decision whether to invoke the Emergencies Act is necessarily a judgment call, or more accurately a series of judgment calls. 

It depends not only on the current facts of the situation, but even more on judgments about the direction of events are in danger of moving and about how quickly the situation could deteriorate.

The quote goes on, but if that is the massive vaguery that Mr. Rouleau is willing to drive his justification that the Emergencies Act’s use was appropriate, then in the future basically no justification is ever needed.

Minister Beatty clearly was indicating the Emergencies Act should only be used for dangerous situations that could further deteriorate. Rouleau is letting Trudeau off the hook merely on the grounds that if he believes, or claims to believe, the Freedom Convoy could have gone in a bad direction, then he is justified in sending in the police to beat protesters and order the major banks to freeze protest supporters’ assets. 

Everyone viewing the Freedom Convoy, especially in the last week of the protest in Ottawa could attest to the fact that the overall very mellow mood was not at risk of breaking out into a January 6th-style riot. The truckers and their supporters were totally fine with sitting peacefully in front of Parliament for as long as it took for Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government to end their authoritarian mandates. It really was a model protest over such a contentious issue. 

Rouleau never really seems to make many legal arguments in favour of the use of the Emergencies Act, rather just punts and says Trudeau is technically allowed to use it based on the pure hypothetical potential for bad things to happen. The report also justifies actions such as the bank account freezes based purely on the fact they were useful to the government for clearing Ottawa, but never comments on whether it was justified in response to a peaceful protest.

Rouleau upon the release of the report stated:

After careful reflection, I have concluded that the very high threshold required for the invocation of the Act was met. When the decision was made to invoke the Act on February 14, 2022, Cabinet had reasonable grounds to believe that there existed a national emergency arising from threats to the security of Canada that necessitated the taking of special temporary measures.

It should be noted that although Rouleau may have always been planning on going soft on Justin Trudeau, many of the legal representatives of the convoy during the POEC did not help make a solid case against Trudeau either. Many questions did not focus on the use of the Emergencies Act including strange attempts to throw some convoy organizers under the bus during cross-examination, which only helped to take the focus away from Trudeau. 

Overall, supporters of the Freedom Convoy for the foreseeable future will have to continue to fight back against false media narratives about the Ottawa protest, which will only now be bolstered by Paul Rouleau’s shallow report. Not everyone has to like the convoy to acknowledge that it did not justify Trudeau sending the police to beat protesters and try and ruin them financially.



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