In its official report, the Public Order Emergency Commission (POEC) has ruled that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s use of the Emergencies Act to quash Freedom Convoy protesters last year was justified. 

According to Commissioner Paul Rouleau the federal government’s invocation “was appropriate” and in accordance with the requirements set out by the emergency legislation. 

“I have concluded that Cabinet was reasonably concerned that the situation it was facing was worsening and at risk of becoming dangerous and unmanageable. There was credible and compelling evidence supporting both a subjective and objective reasonable belief in the existence of a public order emergency,” wrote Rouleau. 

“The decision to invoke the Act was appropriate.”

Rouleau also added that he arrived at the conclusion “with reluctance.”

“The state should generally be able to respond to circumstances of urgency without the use of emergency powers,” wrote Rouleau. 

In his five-volume analysis, Rouleau stated that what originally began as a mass protest with legitimate concerns eventually became a national emergency.

“Lawful protest descended into lawlessness, culminating in a national emergency,” wrote Rouleau.

“In my view, there was credible and compelling information supporting a reasonable belief that the definition of a threat to the security of Canada was met.” 

Rouleau’s report included several dozen recommendations including a review of the Emergencies Act to ensure “the threshold remains high, the invocation of the Act remains exceptional, and all appropriate safeguards are put in place to maintain Parliament’s ultimate and effective control over the steps taken by the Government in response to a public order emergency.”

Other recommendations include giving future commissions more power to force the government to disclose information. Additionally, Rouleau suggested prohibiting MPs from claiming “Parliamentary privilege to refuse to testify before a commission of inquiry into a public order emergency.”