Court hears legal challenge over government use of Emergencies Act


OTTAWA – A national civil liberties group says nebulous claims about economic instability or general unrest weren’t enough to legally justify the Liberal government’s use of the Emergencies Act early last year.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is among the groups and individuals appearing in Federal Court beginning today to argue Ottawa lacked sound statutory grounds to use the emergency measures to quell protests that paralyzed the national capital and key border points.

The government contends the measures taken to deal with the pan-Canadian emergency situation were targeted, proportional, time-limited and compliant with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Public Order Emergency Commission, a mandatory review that takes place after invocation of the Emergencies Act, found the government met the very high threshold for using the law.

Now the legal arguments for and against the decision are being heard in a court of law.

The three-day hearing began this morning with the federal government’s reasons why the matter should not be in court at all, given that the emergency measures have been revoked.