Alberta is preparing to legally challenge the federal government’s unprecedented enactment of the Emergencies Act, which is being used to end anti-mandate protests in Ottawa and major border crossings.
According to Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, the Liberal government’s use of the law was unjustified and an overreach in response to the Freedom Convoy protests currently occupying Ottawa. “The federal government’s invocation of the Emergencies Act is an unnecessary and disproportionate measure that can violate civil liberties, invades provincial jurisdiction, and creates a very dangerous precedent for the future,” Kenney explained in a video posted on Twitter.
Kenney said the Act’s invocation was not necessary, and that provincial law enforcement was well enough equipped to deal with the protests against Covid-19 restrictions. He took challenge with Trudeau’s extraordinary reach to seize bank accounts related to the trucker blockades without a court order. “The question then is why is the federal government using the power that is not necessary to seize bank accounts and assets, for example, from people arbitrarily, extrajudicially, without court orders, based on their opinions or who they’ve donated to,” he said, adding that such powers should only be used to address actions such as “terrorist financing.”
As a result, Alberta’s government is filing a legal challenge in federal court next week, in an effort to end the prime minister’s use of the powerful law. Lawyers representing the province will be calling on judges to suspend the use of the Act against the blockades, rather than to overturn the emergency powers. According to Kenney, the Liberal government is abusing the powers to harass “people whose opinions they disagree with.”
Trudeau is Canada’s first prime minister to impose the Emergencies Act since its inception in 1988. Prior to that, a similar federal legislation was invoked only three times in the country’s history— during the First and Second World Wars, and then in response to the 1970s FLQ crisis.
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