Doug Ford overstates privilege in attempt to avoid testimony at inquiry: commissioner

TORONTO — The commissioner overseeing the Emergencies Act inquiry says Ontario Premier Doug Ford and a top minister have overstated the privilege they enjoy as politicians as they try to get out of testifying at the proceeding.

The Public Order Emergency Commission summoned Ford and then-solicitor general Sylvia Jones last week to testify at the inquiry.

The commission is examining the federal government's use of the Emergencies Act to end the so-called Freedom Convoy protests in Ottawa and Windsor, Ont., last winter.

Lawyers for Ford and Jones filed an application for judicial review in Federal Court last week that seeks to quash the summons, citing parliamentary privilege.

Ford and Jones argue the summons breaches that privilege by attempting to compel them to testify.

The commissioner says in documents filed today that the pair's judicial review application should be dismissed.

"The applicants overstate the extent of the privilege in issue," the commissioner said in court documents. "There is no blanket privilege to decline to testify; it is only a temporal privilege."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 31, 2022.

The Canadian Press