February 29th, 2024

Here’s how key players reacted to the Federal Court’s decision on the Emergencies Act

By The Canadian Press on January 23, 2024.

Police walk through parked trucks to make an arrest on Wellington Street, on the 21st day of a protest, in Ottawa, on Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022. The Federal Court ruled Tuesday the Liberal government’s invocation of the Emergencies Act in response to the "Freedom Convoy" protests was unreasonable and led to the infringement of constitutional rights. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

OTTAWA – The Federal Court ruled Tuesday the Liberal government’s invocation of the Emergencies Act in response to the “Freedom Convoy” protests was unreasonable and led to the infringement of constitutional rights.

The protests two years ago gridlocked the national capital and blockaded key border points.

The court challenge was brought forward by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and several other groups and individuals.

Here was the reaction on Tuesday.

– – –

“We respect very much Canada’s independent judiciary. However, we do not agree with this decision, and respectfully, we will be appealing it.”

“When we took that decision, the public safety of Canadians was under threat. Our national security, which includes our national economic security, was under threat. It was a hard decision to take. We took it very seriously, after a lot of hard work, after a lot of careful deliberation. We were convinced at the time, I was convinced at the time it was the right thing to do, it was the necessary thing to do. I remain and we remain convinced of that.”

– Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, at a Montreal press conference

– – –

“A fundamental aspect of the judicial process is also proceeding on an appeal. After that consultation with the prime minister, with cabinet colleagues, we’ve taken the decision that we will be proceeding on an appeal, as is within our rights within the judicial system.”

– Justice Minister Arif Virani, at a Montreal press conference

– ““ –

“The decision to invoke the Emergencies Act was unnecessary from the start. (Prime Minister Justin) Trudeau caused this crisis by dividing people. He proceeded to violate Charter rights to illegally suppress Canadian citizens.”

“A Poilievre government will ensure the Emergencies Act can never be used again to silence political opposition.”

– Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre, in a written statement

– – –

“The reason we were in that crisis was a direct failure of Justin Trudeau’s leadership and also other levels of government that failed to act, to take the challenge presented seriously. Their inaction resulted in a serious crisis, where we reluctantly supported the introduction of the emergencies measures.”

– NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, at an Edmonton press conference

– – –

“I recall vividly & with pride when our @CPC_HQ Caucus made the collective decision to oppose the Emergencies Act being used against peace loving Canadians protesting Liberal overreach. We decided in that moment that we wanted to be on the right side of history. And that we are.”

– Candice Bergen, former MP and interim Conservative party leader, in a written social media post

– – –

“Emergency is not in the eye of the beholder. Emergency powers are necessary in extreme circumstances, but they are also dangerous to democracy. They should be used sparingly and carefully. They cannot be used even to address a massive and disruptive demonstration if that could have been dealt with through regular policing and laws.”

– Canadian Civil Liberties Association, in a written statement

– – –

“Today is another example of the Federal Court ruling against the federal government’s unconstitutional practices. Whether it’s today’s court decision, or their defeat on plastics or the Impact Assessment Act, it is clear the Trudeau Liberal Government simply does not understand or respect the Constitution of Canada.”

“We are disappointed that the federal government has indicated they will be appealing the decision. The unnecessary use of the Emergencies Act set a dark and dangerous precedent.”

– Alberta Premier Danielle Smith, in a written statement.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2024.

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