Hearings for the commission investigating Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s invocation of the Emergencies Act have been postponed to October as Commissioner Paul Rouleau tends to an undisclosed medical situation.
Six weeks of hearings were supposed to commence September 19, but will now start October 13 and conclude November 25.
A statement from the Public Order Emergency Commission says Rouleau, a former Ontario Superior Court judge, must “undergo surgery to address a health issue that has very recently arisen.”
The statement was sent to a participant in the inquiry, who shared it with True North.
A spokesperson for the commission confirmed the veracity of the statement and said a public announcement is forthcoming.
In the statement, Rouleau said preparations by his team are still underway.
“I want to assure Canadians of my commitment to completing the work of the Commission in a timely manner,” Rouleau said in the statement. “Commission staff, with the cooperation of all parties, has made significant progress over the past several weeks in obtaining and reviewing documents, conducting interviews, and preparing for the start of the public hearings.”
Rouleau said that while it would be “impossible” for hearings to proceed as previously scheduled, “the Commission remains focused on meeting the statutory timetable.”
The Emergencies Act requires a public inquiry whenever a government invokes the act. The commission must provide a report to Parliament no more than 360 days after the expiration of the emergency.
Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act on February 14 to address what he claimed was a “public order emergency” brought on by the Freedom Convoy protests against vaccine mandates. Trudeau suspended the emergency declaration February 23, before the Senate had a chance to vote on whether to affirm or reject the invocation of the Emergencies Act.
There are several legal challenges against the Emergencies Act that have been filed in court, in addition to the public inquiry.
Rouleau stressed in the statement that the postponement was outside the commission’s control.
“I thank all stakeholders for their understanding of these circumstances that are beyond my control,” Rouleau said.
The release said no further details about Rouleau’s health will be provided “out of respect for the privacy of the Commissioner and his family.”