(Ottawa) Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcomes Justice Paul Rouleau’s report concluding that the federal government was entitled to invoke the Emergency Act to stop the occupation of downtown Ottawa and the closure of border crossings in the country in February 2022 to end.
Posted at 3:56pm
In response, three hours after the unveiling of the Commission’s state of emergency report, Mr Trudeau argued that Judge Rouleau’s conclusion confirms that the Cabinet made a responsible decision at the height of the crisis last year.
“After studying the required documents, the Emergency Commission has indicated that there has indeed been a national emergency over the past year and the very high threshold for invoking the Emergency Measures Act has been reached,” said Trudeau, who was accompanied by some of his ministers.
“These measures should never be taken lightly. Our government was confident from the outset that this was a responsible decision and we knew there would be a commission of inquiry to ensure transparency for Canadians,” the Prime Minister added.
Mr. Trudeau indicated that he intends to study Justice Rouleau’s recommendations and modernize the emergency law. He also reiterated that invoking this law must remain a last resort.
“It was something necessary to ward off the threat and keep people safe. […] We’ve been through a lot in the last few years. Canadians have endured all kinds of hardship, pain and loss. Everyone has the right to protest peacefully and it is a fundamental right that we will continue to defend,” he said.
“People engaged in protest activity on Parliament Hill, but as the Commissioner said, it went from legal protest to breaking the law. For several weeks, illegal behaviors caused all kinds of difficulties for families, the lockdowns harmed our economy and threatened public safety,” he said.
For his part, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh reiterated that the various governments and police forces had mismanaged this crisis.
“Today’s report reiterates what Ottawa residents and Canadians affected by the border closure already know: the Emergencies Act was needed because all levels of government were unable to respond to the convoy’s protest movement,” commented Mr Singh. “People have been threatened, harassed and abused in their communities. Workers trying to support their families lost their wages because they were forced to miss shifts as the border closures forced businesses to close. The report makes it clear that this situation – and the response from all levels of government and police – was unacceptable,” he added.