CALGARY, Alberta (LifeSiteNews) — The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCC) is suing the Canadian federal government on behalf of four Canadians over its “abuse” of using the Emergencies Act (EA) to go after truckers who oppose COVID mandates.
The JCCF said the individuals it is representing in its constitutional challenge include a decorated military veteran and a retired police officer. The JCCF will argue that the EA was “unconstitutional and an excessive use of Executive Power, not authorized by the law in the circumstances.”
“Two of the applicants represented by the Justice Centre had their bank accounts frozen and seized, without judicial authorization or a review process, using laws that normally only apply to terrorists and enemy nations,” said the JCCF in a news release Friday.
JCCF president John Carpay called the freezing of bank accounts by the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau under the EA as “a gross abuse of government power, used to punish those who supported a peaceful protest for the return of Charter rights and freedoms that were taken away from Canadians 23 months ago.”
Trudeau’s use of the EA is one of the “most egregious and disturbing, unnecessary, and unjustified power grabs” used by a democratic government in decades, he added.
One of the JCCF applicants is Edward Cornell, who is a retired Warrant Officer of the Canadian Armed Forces from New Brunswick. He was awarded a Medal of Bravery in 1987.
The JCCF said Cornell attended the Freedom Convoy rallies in Ottawa, deciding to go there to “support the truckers,” wearing his military medals.
“I had zero beliefs or intentions about overthrowing the elected government of Canada … my military record supports my belief in standing up for democracy and democratic rights all over the world,” Cornell said, according to the JCCF.
The JCCF noted that a sworn affidavit to be filed with the Federal Court states that Cornell said the protests were “peaceful” with a “festive and friendly” atmosphere, and without any hostility.
According to the JCCF, Cornell was asked to be a liaison between the police and the protesters, to help gain the trust of people on site.
However, Cornell later had his bank account and credit cards frozen because of his involvement with the Freedom Convoy.
“I was left in a very desperate situation and unable to pay any of my bills,” noted Cornell, adding that the situation was traumatic. “I broke no law, yet the government seized my accounts and froze my hard-earned money. I am not a criminal. I am not a terrorist. I am a retired Canadian military veteran who honourably served his country … I feel betrayed by my own government.”
Trudeau took the unprecedented step of invoking the EA on February 14, claiming he needed it to deal with the Freedom Convoy. The demonstrators had been in Ottawa for the past three weeks protesting COVID mandates.
On February 18, police in Ottawa, under Trudeau’s direct orders through the EA, cleared out Freedom Convoy protesters and arrested those who did not comply.
The EA had allowed the government the power to freeze anyone’s bank account associated with the convoy without a court order. It proceeded to put a block on several accounts.
Last Wednesday, Trudeau announced that he was ending the EA, saying “the situation is no longer an emergency.”
The JCCF said that it will proceed with its case against the federal government with the help of constitutional lawyers Brendan Miller of Foster LLP and Blair Ector, of Ector Law, “to act on behalf of the Justice Centre and clients.”
The JCCF will hold the “Canadian government accountable for their decision, and force them to justify the emergency that justified the use of such extraordinary powers and infringement on Canadians’ Charter rights and freedoms.”
Besides the JCCF, other legal groups have said they will proceed with litigation against the federal government despite the EA being rescinded.