Was the Emergencies Act warranted? Highly-anticipated report coming Friday

Click to play video: 'Emergencies Act: what we learned from the six-week-long inquiry'
Emergencies Act: what we learned from the six-week-long inquiry
WATCH - Emergencies Act: what we learned from the six-week-long inquiry – Nov 25, 2022

The commission probing the federal government’s unprecedented use of the Emergencies Act in response to last year’s “Freedom Convoy” protests will release its highly-anticipated report on Friday.

The report is expected to be tabled in Parliament around noon eastern standard time.

The commission, headed by former appellate court justice Paul Rouleau, held six weeks of public hearings last fall that heard from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, cabinet officials, police, protesters and Ottawa residents. Several experts later offered testimony on rights and freedoms, social media and other issues as part of the commission’s investigation.

“We’re very eager to receive the final report, take whatever lessons that we can from it, work with the public commission to implement them and strengthen the relationship between Canadians and their institutions so that we can keep everybody safe,” Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino told reporters in Ottawa Thursday.

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The announcement from the Public Order Emergency Commission (POEC) comes after it was given an extension on Jan. 31 with the initial deadline of Feb. 6 quickly approaching.

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POEC had until that date to submit its report to cabinet, along with a final deadline of Feb. 20 for the report to be submitted to Parliament.

The latter date is the deadline under the Emergencies Act legislation, which required a commission be launched in response to any invocation of the Act to submit its final report on the circumstances that led to that invocation to Parliament and to the public within 360 days of the Act being revoked.

“The commission has requested more time to complete the report, so the (order-in-council) will be amended and the report will not be delivered to government on (Feb. 6). The report will be released by the legislated deadline,” a government source told Global News at the time.

Click to play video: 'Trudeau defends invoking Emergencies Act to end ‘Freedom Convoy’'
Trudeau defends invoking Emergencies Act to end ‘Freedom Convoy’

Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act on Feb. 14, 2022, for the first time since it became law in 1988 after protesters associated with the “Freedom Convoy” blockaded downtown Ottawa and key U.S. border crossings across the country, causing weeks of disruptions to Canada’s trade corridors, businesses and residents in those communities.

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The emergency powers were then revoked on Feb. 23 after the protesters and blockades were cleared.

During a press conference in Nassau on Thursday, Trudeau said he was confident the report would uphold the “credibility” of the federal government in making the decision to invoke the emergency powers.

“We needed to take action a year ago, and we did so in a measured, responsible, time-limited way,” he said.

“I look forward to reviewing the commission’s report tomorrow morning and speaking about it with Canadians tomorrow afternoon.”

— with files from Global News’ Rachel Gilmore 

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