Over a dozen Canadian civil liberties groups, including some who don’t agree with the organizers of the Freedom Convoy protests held in Ottawa earlier this year, have called for a probe into Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s use of emergency powers to end the demonstration.
The Canadian blog Blacklock’s Reporter shared earlier this month that the 15 groups have filed a joint petition raising concerns about “the use of state and police powers to suppress constitutional rights,” as LifeSiteNews reported.
This includes British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association, Amnesty International, Black Legal Action Centre, National Council of Canadian Muslims, Canadian Constitution Foundation, David Asper Centre for Constitutional Rights, Centre for Free Expression Democracy Watch, Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, Ligue des Droits et Libertés, Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund, and World Press Freedom.
The Freedom Convoy was comprised of hundreds of truckers and thousands of supporters who opposed Trudeau’s vaccine mandates for the transportation sector as well as his government’s COVID-19 measures such as masking mandates, closing places of worship, and arresting Christian pastors for non-compliance.
The group arranged a record-breaking convoy which traveled across Canada and parked in the capital for weeks, demanding an end to the government’s pandemic policies.
Trudeau was sharply criticized by Canadian conservative leaders for refusing to meet with the truckers and repeatedly characterizing the protest as racist and terroristic, and ultimately invoked emergency powers to mobilize squads of law enforcement to round up, arrest, and evict the remaining protesters.
As many would describe Trudeau’s as a distinctly political attack on the freedoms of peacefully protesting Canadians, the groups calling for the probe of his actions are also concerned that any inquest that is launched could itself be “marred by partisan fights.”
Cara Zwibel, the director for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) said that Trudeau “may have an incentive to keep” any probes “secretive and closed.”
She noted that the groups, many of which are unsympathetic to the cause of the Freedom Convoy, still believe that resorting to using emergency powers to break up a protest “must not become something governments resort to,” and that these powers must not be “abused.”
Trudeau’s actions “did not just apply to a group of people in downtown Ottawa, but every individual from coast to coast to coast. It put real restrictions on their ability to assemble peacefully,” Zwibel also said.
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