Constitutional and civil liberties organizations have expressed their disagreement with the main conclusion of the Public Order Emergency Commission that the federal government had met the “very high” threshold to invoke the Emergencies Act against the Freedom Convoy in Ottawa. Commissioner Paul Rouleau, who released the final report of the inquiry on Feb. 17, reached his decision with reluctance. Cara Zwiebel, director of the fundamental freedoms program at the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) and co-counsel for the CCLA before the Commission, noted that the Commissioner’s decision is not the final word, as the courts must rule on the legality of the Emergencies Act’s use. The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, which employed two dozen lawyers to defend participants and supporters of the Freedom Convoy, disagreed with Rouleau and welcomed a court decision. The Justice Centre believes the government was too heavy-handed in its response to “the largest peaceful protest in Canadian history” and is urging the federal government to waive cabinet privilege for the commission’s work and public scrutiny. Ewa Krajewska, partner at Henein Hutchison Robitaille LLP, added that the government should be bound to produce all of the inputs to cabinet and the ministers that had relied upon to invoke the Emergencies Act and that the Emergencies Act should be amended to do this.
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