Legal Law

Court Declares Trudeau’s Crackdown on the Truckers to be Unlawful – JONATHAN TURLEY

Two years ago, I wrote a column denouncing Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s use of a counter-terrorism law to shut down the Freedom Convoy trucker protests as an authoritarian attack on free speech. Now, a Canadian court has agreed and ruled that the use of the Emergencies Act was unlawful and “unreasonable.” Despite Trudeau’s attacks on civil liberties, he remains a favorite of the media as an iconic figure on the left.

Various civil liberties groups have opposed the iron-handed measures of Trudeau, including The Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the Canadian Constitution Foundation. The characterization of political critics as terrorists has long been a signature of authoritarian governments. The Canadian Parliament actually extended those powers, dismissing civil liberties concerns. Fortunately, despite the actions of Trudeau and the Parliament, there is an independent court system in Canada.

The use of the Emergencies Act allowed the government to arrest the leaders of the Freedom Convoy, freeze bank accounts of protesters, and seize donations of other citizens. Trudeau simply declared that the protesters were “threats to the security of Canada that are so serious as to be a national emergency.”

In his ruling, Justice Richard Mosley wrote:

I have concluded that the decision to issue the Proclamation does not bear the hallmarks of reasonableness – justification, transparency and intelligibility – and was not justified in relation to the relevant factual and legal constraints that were required to be taken into consideration.

Trudeau merely cited the potential for violence without any compelling support for an imminent risk of violence. The court declared:

The potential for serious violence, or being unable to say that there was no potential for serious violence was, of course, a valid reason for concern. But in my view, it did not satisfy the test required to invoke the Act particularly as there was no evidence of a similar “hardened cell” elsewhere in the country, only speculation.

In many ways, the court stated the obvious, but this was an obvious point that other courts and a majority in Parliament ignored:

I agree with the Applicants that the scope of the Regulations was overbroad in so far as it captured people who simply wanted to join in the protest by standing on Parliament Hill carrying a placard. It is not suggested that they would have been the focus of enforcement efforts by the police. However, under the terms of the Regulations, they could have been subject to enforcement actions as much as someone who had parked their truck on Wellington Street and otherwise behaved in a manner that could reasonably be expected to lead to a breach of the peace. [309] One aspect of free expression is the right to express oneself in certain public spaces. By tradition, such places become places of protected expression…To the extent that peaceful protestors did not participate in the actions of those disrupting the peace, their freedom of expression was infringed.

Bravo.

Here is the opinion: Canadian Trucker Decision

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