Battle lines are drawn as Emergency Law investigations are underway in Ottawa

Eight months after an anti-COVID-19 vaccine mandated protesters jam parts of downtown Ottawa, a public inquiry has opened up public hearings as it investigates the federal government's unprecedented use of emergency powers to clean up the capital. The official launch of the Public Order Emergency Commission this morning kicks off what is expected to be six weeks of political tension as the investigation hears from representatives of the federal government about why they feel they should implement the unprecedented Emergency Act, and from those who argue it is a step in the right direction. too far.

Implementing the measure gives authorities new powers allowing them to freeze their finances related to the blockade and protests, ban travel to protest zones, bar people from bringing minors to unlawful gatherings and confiscate tow trucks. The start of the investigation saw several key players issue sometimes conflicting views about the decision and what happened in Ottawa last winter. Ontario Court of Appeals Judge Paul Rouleau, who has been selected to preside over the investigation, started the morning by explaining the commission's mandate and the challenges it faces.

"The commission's recommendations may be simple or broad. They can be directed at a variety of audiences, including governments, public bodies and the private sector," the commissioner said. "It is also important to understand what the commission of inquiry did not do. They did not make findings of legal liability. They did not determine whether individuals had committed a crime. While investigations seek to uncover the truth, they are not courts. Questions of civil and criminal liability are decided by courts and not commissions. ."

The Commission will introduce thousands of documents over the next six weeks as it examines the timeline of events leading up to the law's implementation, the legal framework of the law and the government's rationale. Lawyer Paul Champ, who represents a coalition of community associations and business improvement areas in downtown Ottawa, has seen some of the documents. Although he was barred from speaking about its contents, he said they were not flattering the various levels of government and law enforcement involved. "I think there's going to be a very disturbing story to tell," he said.

"I think we'll see where some of the balls are dropped. We will see that there is a lot of disagreement, there is a lot of argument and dysfunction between the key actors. And that would be a big problem. story." Opening day saw battle lines form as lawyers for key players – including the federal government, the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, Ottawa police and protest organizers – gave brief opening remarks. faced the country earlier this year," said Robert MacKinnon, federal government attorney, during his stint on the podium.

"Government witnesses will outline a deliberate step-by-step process in which careful consideration is given to all available options, leading to the declaration of a public order emergency as a last resort." A lawyer for the convoy organizers said the government had never met the legal threshold for such action.

"In our view, there is no justification whatsoever for invoking the Emergency Act," said Brendan Miller. "Governments are beyond their jurisdiction in both constitutionality and legislature."

Sloly's lawyers blame limited resources and intelligence One of Peter Sloly's three lawyers said the former chief would provide "hands-on knowledge of how things happened." Sloly stepped down as chairman amid the Freedom Convoy protests as frustration mounted over how the protests were being monitored after trucks were allowed to park on downtown streets, blockading the capital.

"Specifically, he will explain to you the limited resources available to the Ottawa police service to deal with a large-scale occupation. The limited nature of intelligence available to OPS about what will happen in Ottawa," Curry said. "He will also tell the commissioner why he signaled on February 7 that there may not be a single policing solution to the occupation."

An attorney for the Ottawa Police Service said it was "impossible to quantify" the number of vehicles and participants in the crowd. "Ottawa police, you will hear, follow an established process that is always working with protesters right now, and are prepared for an event, but not for an event that occurs," said David Migicovsky. "The protests became dangerous, and the situation became unstable."

People in Ottawa 'terrorized:' lawyers Other police agencies say they are involved with protesters. "You will hear that the OPP was involved long before the Freedom Convoy reached the Ontario border," said Chris Diana, an adviser to the Ontario Provincial Police. "You will hear about OPP's intelligence gathering process and the way OPP disseminates intelligence to its police partners and the timing of sharing that information as convoys move across Canada." Champ said his client would not take a position on the Emergency Act application. He said they wanted to make sure official records reflected what people in Ottawa went through over the three weeks as protesters used trucks and other vehicles to blockade some of the city's main arteries and neighborhoods.

"I don't think people really get how traumatized, and frankly terrorized, the Ottawa people are," he said in an interview with CBC Wednesday. "Public services are really disrupted. Ambulances are having a hard time getting to the city centre. Buses are stopped, Transpos are stopped. Elderly people, people with disabilities are significantly affected. "People are being held hostage in their own homes. And we want to make sure that the story is told."

The protests started against the federal government's vaccine mandate for cross-border truck drivers. This later evolved into a movement against broader public health measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 and take on broader anti-government sentiment. While the core of the protest was in Ottawa, the blockade on the Canada-US border in Windsor, Ont. Emerson, Man. and Coutts, Alta. also played out, fueling economic concerns.

Lawyers representing Saskatchewan and Alberta used their Thursday statements to question whether the federal government consulted properly with the provinces before implementing the law and whether other police action could stop the protests. Trudeau defends decision to invoke Emergency Act Prime Minister Justin Trudeau continues to defend his government's decision to impose Emergency Act on February 14, saying it was necessary "to bring the situation back under control."

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post

Contact Form