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Federal use of the Emergencies Act was unreasonable, judge rules

OTTAWA — A judge says it was unreasonable for the Liberal government to use the Emergencies Act to quell "Freedom Convoy" protests in the national capital and at key border points two years ago.

In a decision released today, Federal Court Justice Richard Mosley says invocation of the act led to the infringement of constitutional rights.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association and several other groups and individuals had argued in court that Ottawa ushered in the emergency measures without sound statutory grounds.

The government contended the steps taken to deal with the pan-Canadian turmoil were targeted, proportional, time-limited and compliant with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Public Order Emergency Commission, which carries out a mandatory review after invocation of the Emergencies Act, found the government met the very high legal standard for using the law.

Mosley says he revisited the events with the benefit of hindsight and a more extensive record of the facts and the law than the government had when it invoked the act.

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

The Canadian Press