The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) celebrated their victory over the Trudeau Liberals on Wednesday, calling it a “historic victory for rights.”
At a news conference in Toronto, CCLA’s executive director, Noa Mendelsohn Aviv, spoke to Tuesday’s landmark decision by a federal court, when Justice Mosley declared that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s invocation of the Emergencies Act in response to the Freedom Convoy protest violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
“CCLA’s legal challenge was not about the blockades in Ottawa… but about the government giving itself massive and extraordinary emergency powers,” Mendelsohn Aviv said.
“Emergency powers are useful in emergency situations, but they are also dangerous for all of our rights and freedoms,” she added.
In response to the government’s decision to appeal the ruling, Mendelsohn Aviv said CCLA will defend the victory “tooth and nail” at the Federal Court of Appeal.
In their challenge against the Trudeau government, the CCLA, along with the Canadian Constitution Foundation, and four individuals who attended the 2022 Freedom Convoy protest in Ottawa, argued there was insufficient evidence that the lives, health or safety of Canadians were seriously endangered beyond the capacity that provincial authorities had.
Ewa Krajewska, partner at Henein Hutchison Robitaille LLP who also represented the CCLA, said the government tried to argue that the economic impact of the blockades were a security threat, which failed to persuade the court.
She also said the government argued the whole situation was moot since the emergencies act was no longer in effect. But the judge realized the decision sets out how the law should operate in the future.
“This decision is really important. It sets out the guidance for future governments on when they can invoke these extraordinary powers. It provides legal clarity,” Krajewska said, adding, “every future government is on notice.”