The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) plans to sue Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government over its treatment of truckers protesting COVID-19 restrictions in Ottawa, the organization announced Thursday.
The CCLA is specifically planning to sue over the invocation of the Emergencies Act, which grants Trudeau broad powers to crack down on Canadians’ civil liberties in times of crisis. This is the first time the act has been used since it was first passed in 1988, according to the CBC.
“Emergency powers cannot and must not be normalized,” CCLA executive director Noa Mendelsohn said.
CBC: Canadian Civil Liberties Association to sue federal government over Emergencies Act
Shows the importance of having a civil liberties group that doesn’t care about the ideology of the power-abusing government:https://t.co/WeUsvDiWHz
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) February 17, 2022
Mendelsohn said reports of violence and bigotry within the protest do not justify the violation of Canadians’ rights guaranteed in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Trudeau government has argued that the Ottawa protests which have shut down part of the Canadian capital for three weeks, are a threat to the economy and safety of Canadians.
“Protest is how people in a democracy share their political messages of all kinds, whether they be environmental activists, students taking to the streets, Indigenous land defenders, workers on strike, people who know that Black lives matter, and others who oppose government measures of all kinds,” said Mendelsohn.
Amnesty International also expressed concern over the act, questioning how it will affect the human rights of Canadians. (RELATED: Ottawa Police Chief Resigns Amid Trucker Protests)
The Emergencies Act allows the government to bar travel to protest zones, prevent people from taking minors to unlawful gatherings and restrict the access of protestors to their bank accounts, among other measures.
Police have increasingly cracked down on the truckers in Ottawa, who are protesting the government’s COVID-19 restrictions, including a vaccine mandate for cross-border truckers. Trudeau has condemned the protesters as a “fringe minority” who are threatening public safety by blockading streets and impeding on government business.