Alberta granted intervener status in legal challenges against Emergencies Act

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney provides details on sustainable helicopter air ambulance funding in Calgary on Friday, March 25, 2022. The Federal Court of Canada has granted Alberta intervener status in four legal challenges against the Emergencies Act. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

The Federal Court of Canada has granted Alberta intervener status in four legal challenges against the Emergencies Act.

The court order will allow the government of Alberta to intervene on non-constitutional and constitutional issues raised before the court, the province said in a statement late Friday afternoon.

It comes after Alberta Premier Jason Kenney filed a request for a judicial review of the federal government’s use of the Emergencies Act in February. Kenney had always been critical of the Emergencies Act, which was invoked by the federal government in response to convoy protests in Ottawa.

He called Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s invocation of the act “disproportionate” and “unnecessary,” claiming the province already had the legislative tools necessary to stop the blockades. Kenney previously referenced the province’s Critical Infrastructure and Defence Act (CIDA), a bill that allows law enforcement to fine and arrest individuals blocking critical infrastructure such as highways and railroads.

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“We will protect our province from the dangerous precedent set by the federal government in pointlessly invoking the Emergencies Act. Their decision to invoke the act violated the constitutionally guaranteed rights of Albertans, and all Canadians,” Kenney said in an emailed statement on Friday.

“It is our duty to do everything we can to protect Albertans’ freedoms and liberties from this kind of breach.”

Provincial justice critic Irfan Sabir slammed the province’s statement, saying the government failed to address the blockades. Questions arose about the fact that the CIDA had not been used throughout the Coutts border protest, frustrating truckers and residents on both sides of the border.

The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation chief and council previously criticized the Alberta government’s response to the Coutts border protestors, saying the response would be different if the protest was organized by Indigenous people.

“For 18 days, (Kenney) refused to seek a court injunction to disperse it, and refused to use the province’s power to rescind the commercial drivers’ licenses and insurance held by the people illegally blocking a major trade corridor,” Sabir said in an emailed statement on Friday.

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“Jason Kenney and the UCP have abandoned the rule of law. Albertans can’t trust the UCP to protect our economy or to confront extremism”

770 CHQR reached out to Kenney’s office with a request for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication. This story will be updated if one is received.

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