The federal Public Order Emergency Commission has granted Alberta full standing to participate in the public inquiry into the use of the Emergencies Act during the Ottawa truckers’ protest and blockades at international border crossings last February, officials said Tuesday.
Taking part in the inquiry will allow the Province to participate in the investigation process and public hearings, including into the circumstances that led to the use of the legislation.
“The federal government’s invocation of the Emergencies Act was an unnecessary and disproportionate measure that intruded on provincial jurisdiction, violated civil liberties and created chaos and uncertainty across the country,” Premier Jason Kenney said in a press release.
“I am pleased that Alberta will be heard when this dangerous decision is examined by a public inquiry.”
Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Tyler Shandro said the federal government “set a very dangerous precedent by unnecessarily invoking the Emergency Act and implementing additional measures under it.
“It is critical that we hold the federal government accountable. Alberta’s government will do everything we can to protect Albertans’ freedoms and liberties from this kind of unjustified federal overreach.”
When he evoked the Emergencies Act in February, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it was needed to give the federal government temporary powers to address the protests and blockades.
“This is about keeping Canadians safe, protecting people’s jobs and restoring confidence in our institutions,” Trudeau said at a Feb. 14 press conference. “It is now clear that there are serious challenges to law enforcement’s ability to effectively enforce the law.”
During a budget update press conference on Tuesday, Minister of Finance Jason Nixon spoke briefly about the Emergencies Act inquiry.
“There are certainly concerns from the Alberta government in the approach that the prime minister took in the use of the Emergency Measures Act, something that Alberta made clear at the time,” said Nixon, who is the Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre MLA.
“Our focus as a government is to understand what has taken place and to be able to get answers for Albertans in regards to their concerns and the government’s concerns about the prime minister’s actions when it comes to the Emergency Measures Act.”