The Alberta government has announced it will be initiating legal action in federal court against the Canadian government’s invocation of the Emergencies Act.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Feb. 14 that he was implementing the never-before-used successor to the War Measures Act to crush ongoing protests against COVID-19 mandates. The Act came into effect immediately and did not require the premiers’ consent.
“The Emergencies Act was designed to come into effect at the failure of the state,” said Alberta Premier Jason Kenney in an interview with Postmedia on Saturday. “However, there is no insurrection or coup.”
Kenney said that the Emergencies Act was “unjustified in the circumstances,” an “overreach,” a violation of due process and “an intrusion into provincial jurisdiction.”
He added that he does not want people to misunderstand his motives, calling the situation in Ottawa “serious” and saying that “law and order has to be restored.”
Police action against the protests in Ottawa had largely concluded on Monday, however, with sometimes violent crackdowns by law enforcement occurring Friday through Sunday.
Kenney added that police services currently have all of the powers they need through provincial authority and that the Canadian government does not need powers to seize and freeze people’s financial accounts.
The banking provisions of the Emergencies Act, he said, were created to disrupt terrorism financing. Now, Kenney said, the Canadian government is using these sections to harass people who disagree with them.
Kenney said that if the Canadian government continues to be allowed to freeze the assets of its political opponents, it would be concerning.
Kenney revealed that during a teleconference with Trudeau earlier this week, six of the 10 premiers urged him not to invoke the Emergencies Act. Required only to consult with the provinces and not to agree with them, Trudeau went ahead and implemented the Act anyway.
Kenney said he did not believe any other provinces would join Alberta’s court challenge, but he left the invitation open.
“This sets a dangerous precedent for the future if they can reach in over top of (the provinces) and usurp our jurisdiction on law enforcement,” he said.
The Canadian Constitution Foundation and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association both announced on Thursday that they would be filing separate legal challenges against the Trudeau government for implementing the Emergencies Act to stop protests across Canada.
The House of Commons is expected to vote on the measure on Monday, which would see the Act extended for up to 30 days before another review.