Public inquiry launched into Freedom Convoy emergency measures

Measures used to crack down on so-called Freedom Convoy protesters will now face a public inquiry into Canada’s first ever use of the Emergencies Act.

The Act gave the federal government tools to seize funds used by convoy organizers, and police the powers to clear trucks and people from downtown Ottawa streets.

Convoy flags
Flags were flying along overpasses and roadways, as the convoy made its way through Ontario (File photo: John G. Smith)

Protesters against public health mandates and other issues had occupied downtown Ottawa from Jan. 29 to Feb. 20, while related blockades also formed at several international border crossings including the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, Ont.

The Public Order Emergency Commission will study how the protests evolved, the impact of funding and disinformation, the economic impact of protests, and police actions, the PMO announced April 25.

A final report must be tabled by Feb. 20, 2023. The inquiry is required under the Emergencies Act itself.

Justice Paul S. Rouleau – first appointed as an Ontario Superior Court Justice in 2002, before joining the Ontario Court of Appeal in 2005 – will serve as commissioner.

“When our government invoked the Emergencies Act to help end the illegal blockades and get our country moving again, we committed to Canadians that we’d be upfront and transparent about it,” said Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino.

“I’m confident that this process will examine the circumstances that led to the invocation of the Emergencies Act fairly and impartially, as well as make potential recommendations regarding the management of public order emergencies.”