National Legislative Update – February 17, 2023

Emergencies Act Commission Finds that the Use of the Emergencies Act was Justified.

Federal News

Today, the Emergencies Act Commission published its report, concluding that Ottawa was justified in its invocation of the Emergencies Act last February. Commissioner Roleau said that given the “failures in policing and federalism” the government met the “very high” threshold for the use of the act. Specifically, Roleau writes: “in my view, there was credible and compelling information supporting a reasonable belief that the definition of a threat to the security of Canada was met”. 

Roleau reserved a special section of the report in which he did not mince words regarding the Ontario government’s role in the crisis. Roleau accuses Doug Ford by name, as well as the province of Ontario as failing to respond to a crisis within their jurisdiction. In fact, a great deal of the blame for the crisis seems to be placed at the feet of the Ontario government, according to the report. Criticism is also levied at the Ottawa Police service, as well as the Prime Minister. 

Roleau cites both the continued public health restrictions, and the expiration of the vaccine exemption for truckers as catalysts for the event, pointing also to the Prime Minister’s remarks regarding the protestors as significantly inflaming the situation. He also points to significant amounts of misinformation, both about vaccines, as well as unfair depictions of the protestors “amplified by the news media” as other factors which worsened the situation. 

Regardless, the matter is now closed. As the final step required in the use of the Emergencies Act, the filing of the report should allow the matter to finally be put to rest. 

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