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The Liberal prime minister faces calls to step down, and the socialist NDP that supported the move is now working on damage control.
A Canadian federal court ruled Tuesday that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's use of martial law in 2022 to crush the peaceful trucker protests "was not justified." Justice Richard Mosley noted further that "the decision to issue the Proclamation was unreasonable and led to infringement of Charter rights."
While a poll indicated last month that a supermajority of Canadians already wanted Trudeau to resign, he now faces additional pressure to step down. However, his deputy — who recently smirked as a reporter was bashed and arrested by police for asking her questions — indicated the Liberal regime will continue to defend its actions and appeal the ruling.
Meanwhile, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and his socialist party are attempting to retroactively qualify their support for the Emergencies Act invocation, suggesting they had championed it "reluctantly."
What's the background?
The trucker protests, dubbed the Freedom Convoy by organizers, kicked off in early 2022 in response to the Canadian government's draconian COVID-19 vaccine mandates and travel restrictions, which greatly impacted the livelihoods of those whose jobs required them to leave the house.
A massive convoy comprising Canadian flag-adorned trucks and other vehicles drove across the country, cheered on by massive crowds at various stops along the way, until it ultimately reached Ottawa, the nation's capital.
In Ottawa, multitudes of citizens crewed outside their Parliament, calling on the Liberal regime to drop some of its pandemic protocols, which even one of the authors of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms said were unconstitutional.
The protests took on the atmosphere of a winter festival, complete with bounce castles, saunas, musical performances, dancing, and speeches. Crime dropped in the Canadian capital during this so-called occupation, and demonstrators periodically shoveled the sidewalks.
Not all were keen on the protests, however. Affluent residents in the government city claimed they were left traumatized by the sight of Canadian flags and the sound of honking, according to CTV News.
While Trudeau had not intervened in previous political protests — such as those staged by BLM or Idle No More activists — and had not taken similar action in 2020 when anti-pipeline activists blockaded Canadian rail lines, paralyzing the country, the peaceful trucker protests were evidently too much for him to bear.
With the approval of his Cabinet and the support of Singh's New Democratic Party, Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act from Feb. 17 to 23, 2023. At the time of the declaration, there were still around 500 trucks remaining in Ottawa.
"These illegal blockades are hurting Canadians, and they need to stop," said Trudeau.
The Emergencies Act is a revised version of Canada's former War Measures Act, which can be invoked in national emergencies that "seriously threate[n] the ability of the Government of Canada to preserve the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of Canada."
Police seized fuel from the truckers in subzero conditions, towed 115 trucks, and arrested hundreds of protesters. The Liberal regime also discussed deploying German Leopard battle tanks against protesters; froze 257 bank accounts; and altogether clamped down on public criticism of government overreach.
An internal Department of Public Safety report later revealed there was no evidence of violence committed by Freedom Convoy protesters in Ottawa; that "the majority of the events have been peaceful"; and that the "disruption to government activities is so far minor."
In late 2022, Trudeau told the Public Order Emergency Commission what allegedly made the Freedom Convoy unusual was that the protesters expressed a "certain level of frustration" that was "very concerning."
Siding with civil liberties groups in his Tuesday ruling, Justice Mosley indicated that while economically impactful, the Freedom Convoy protests neither threatened national security nor warranted martial law.
"I have concluded that the decision to issue the Proclamation [of the Emergencies Act] does not bear the hallmarks of reasonableness – justification, transparency and intelligibility – and was not justified," wrote Mosley.
The court also found that the Trudeau regime had not exhausted other available, less extreme legal options to tackle what it perceived as a threat.
"Due to its nature and to the broad powers it grants the Federal Executive, the Emergencies Act is a tool of last resort," wrote Mosley. "The GIC cannot invoke the Emergencies Act because it is convenient, or because it may work better than other tools at their disposal or available to the provinces."
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association, one of the groups that challenged the Liberal regime, said in a statement, "Emergency is not in the eye of the beholder. Emergency powers are necessary in extreme circumstances, but they are also dangerous to democracy. They should be used sparingly and carefully."
"They cannot be used even to address a massive and disruptive demonstration if that could have been dealt with through regular policing and laws," continued the CCLA. "The Federal Court agreed that this threshold was not met."
Canadian Constitution Foundation executive director Joanna Baron, who also challenged the use of the act, said, "The invocation of the Emergencies Act is one of the worst examples of government overreach during the pandemic and we are very pleased to see Justice Mosley recognize that Charter rights were breached and that Cabinet must follow the law and only use the Act as a tool of last resort."
Liberals unrepentant amidst resignation calls
While Trudeau dodged questions from reporters after the ruling, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland indicated the Liberal regime is unrepentant and will appeal the ruling, reported the National Post.
"The public safety of Canadians was under threat; our national security, which includes our national economic security, was under threat," said Freeland. "I was convinced at the time. It was the right thing to do. It was the necessary thing to do."
Cosmin Dzsurdzsa of True North intimated the appeal might be well received, given that two-thirds of the 15 Federal Court of Appeal judges were Liberal appointees.
Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre — poised to beat Trudeau in the next election should the Liberal fail to resign — said Trudeau "broke the highest law in the land with the Emergencies Act. He cause the crisis by dividing people. Then he violated Charter rights to illegally suppress citizens."
Former Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer stressed that "Trudeau must now answer for his reckless abandonment of the law and the most basic freedoms of all Canadians."
Scheer said in another message, "Never again let Trudeau give a lecture about Charter rights."
Maxime Bernier, head of the People's Party of Canada, reiterated that the Liberal government is a "tyrannical regime," adding in a subsequent tweet that the decision by the Liberal government was "absolutely horrendous, violent, abusive and unnecessary."
Ezra Levant, the publisher of Rebel News, suggested that in "any healthy democracy he'd resign."
Jay Bhattacharya, professor at the Stanford School of Medicine and co-author of the "Great Barrington Declaration," wrote, "In light of the Federal Court ruling that the Canadian government violated the basic civil rights of its citizens by invoking the Emergencies Act, Justin Trudeau should resign and there should be a new election."
Dr. Jordan Peterson wrote, "If the government violates its own constitution in what way is it still the government? A dead serious question @JustinTrudeau[.] Looks like it's high time for you to hit the road, Jack."
Trudeau appears to be in hiding, as he has no public events scheduled for Wednesday.
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Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News.