Trudeau’s Liberal government lacks accountability and transparency
The Trudeau government is refusing to disclose what information was used to justify using the Emergencies Act to quash peaceful Freedom Convoy protests in Ottawa in February.
The government is citing “cabinet confidentiality” in its response to legal changes brought about by four legal organizations, according to court documents obtained by the Globe and Mail.
Among the groups that have challenged the government to court are the Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF) and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. The Alberta government is also seeking to become an intervenor in the case.
Legal organizations accuse the government of acting unlawfully, saying there’s existing laws, such as the Criminal Code and traffic laws, would have sufficed to address the convoy protests.
In response to the government’s cabinet-secrecy claim, the CCF compared Ottawa’s approach to a phrase attributed to King Louis XIV of France in the 17th century: “L’état, c’est moi.” (I am the state.)
When the government invokes “cabinet confidentiality,” the federal court will refuse to review or hear evidence in the case, according to the Canada Evidence Act. The CCF, on the other hand, is asking the court to order instruct the government to release information only to the judge and counsel.
“To discharge its constitutional function, the court must have before it a full record and consider those materials in a fully adversarial proceeding,” the CCF said in its filing. “Without these materials and procedure, this court may feel ‘a little bit like a fig leaf.’”
The CCF thinks the government possesses information on Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino’s submissions on the factual and legal grounds for emergency measures, choices examined and rejected, and a record of cabinet decisions – including a vote – according to the CCF.
The Trudeau government invoked the never-before-used Emergencies Act on Feb. 14, claiming the overreaching legislation’s powers were required to deal with ongoing protests against pandemic restrictions, including the Freedom Convoy in Ottawa.
Even after municipal, provincial and federal police cracked down on freedom protesters between Feb. 17 and 20 Trudeau refused to revoke the act. As a result of mounting criticism to the government’s decisions to implement and extend the Emergencies Act, Trudeau revoked it on February 23.
Trudeau said that invoking the act had been “the responsible and necessary thing to do.”