Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has set a new high score in adopting secret orders-in-council (OICs) since he won office in 2015, including two during the short time the Freedom Convoy Protest took place in Ottawa.
Although there’s a small number of reasons available for a government to keep OICs secret. such as foreign investments in Canadian companies., national security and military operations.
The discovery of the secret OICs is shown by an absent number in the Privy Council’s database. These unpublished OICs are unpublish and hidden from Parliament and Canadians. The OICs orders drafted by Cabinet and signed by the Governor General.
The Trudeau Liberals have been in power for seven years and have already adopted 72 secret OICs with 21 of them in 2020. Compared with Stephen Harper adopting 21 secret OICs in his 9 years in power.
This year, 2022, there is already another eleven secret OICs filed.
Trudeau’s government adopted fifty-five of the secret OICs between Nov. 2015 and Mar. 31 2021 and according to Laurie Bouchard, a spokesperson for Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne 32 of the secret OICs were related to the Investment Canada Act.
From Mar. 31, 2021 to now there have been an additional seventeen secret OICs adopted. However the number of secret OICs related to the Investment Canada Act is not available according to Bouchard.
However the Investment Canada Act, only explains a portion of the secret OICs adopted by the Trudeau government.
Two of these secret OICs were adopted while the Freedom Convoy protest taking place in Ottawa, the Privy Council has refused to release the information.
The agency cited a section of access to information law allowing the government to keep secret documents which, if revealed, “could reasonably be expected to be injurious to the conduct of international affairs, the defence of Canada or any state allied or associated with Canada, or the detection, prevention or suppression of subversive or hostile activities.”
One of the OICs was adopted between January 28 and February 1 and another on February 18. The first one was around the time the Freedom Convoy left B.C. starting from Vancouver. The other was adopted the day that police began removing freedom protestors from downtown Ottawa.
Conservative Foreign Affairs critic Michael Chong slammed the disclosure of the 72 secret OICs, stating that Trudeau promised a more transparent and accountable government.
“While unpublished orders-in-council are sometimes necessary, the number of unpublished orders-in-council under this government raises concerns,” he said. “It’s incumbent on the government to provide a more detailed explanation of why the number of unpublished orders-in-council [has] increased.”
On February 14, Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act after border protesters in a number of provinces had already been removed. Despite the fact that the Ottawa protests were already cleared, Trudeau pushed forward with a legislative vote on Feb. 21 to extend his government’s use of emergency powers.
Despite the Senate’s criticism, Trudeau withdrew the Emergencies Act on February 23. An investigation into the government’s use of the act, as required by law, is currently underway.