OTTAWA — A group involved in the recent protest in Ottawa against COVID-19 measures insisted Friday on asking a court to end the federal use of the Emergencies Act, even though the government has already decided to revoke the credentials.
Late last week, Canadian Frontline Nurses and its member Kristen Nagle sought an injunction from the Federal Court to suspend the Liberal government’s use of the Emergencies Act and associated measures while their case unfolds before courts.
The group and Nagle say they oppose the “unreasonable” mandates and restrictions related to COVID-19 that have been implemented by various levels of Canadian governments.
They ultimately want the court to rule that the federal government exceeded its jurisdiction by declaring a public order emergency last week, saying the move was unconstitutional.
Canadian Frontline Nurses, which markets itself as a “proud defender of medical freedom,” should not be confused with the Canadian Nurses Association, which advocates mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for healthcare workers .
The emergency law allowed temporary measures, including regulating and banning public gatherings, designating safe places, ordering banks to freeze assets and banning support for participants.
Police said they used tools and powers made available by the federal invocation of the act to end the occupation of Ottawa by protesters and numerous large trucks.
David Cowling, a lawyer for the group, told the court on Friday that even though the government had withdrawn the emergency measures, the call for an injunction was not moot, as it was unclear whether the injunctions could yet lead to future actions.
Cowling sought assurances that his clients would not have “their financial assets effectively frozen as a result of the emergency measures order”.
“If there was a real urgency – which we say there was not in this case – you would still want to be able to sue people for breaking regulations or orders under the law after the revocation of the proclamation,” Cowling told Justice. Richard Mosley.
The federal government argues that the group’s motion should be dismissed as moot, as there is nothing left for the court to remain now that the emergency measures have been withdrawn.
“The powers that were created under these regulations and orders are no longer in effect,” said government lawyer John Provart.
“Today’s hearing was totally unnecessary.”
Furthermore, the government says there is no evidence that the financial accounts of Nagle or the group have been frozen, nor any evidence that they will be.
Cowling said his concern about the freezing of financial assets “appears to be mitigated” by federal insurance.
Mosley said he would make a decision on the matter “as soon as possible.”
No date has been set to hear the group’s broader arguments regarding the Emergencies Act invocation.
In a meeting this week with his provincial and territorial counterparts, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino provided an update on the response to the lockdowns and occupations that have taken place across the country, as well as the invocation of the Emergencies Act.
“Ministers provided comments on the decision to invoke the law and, while some were supportive, others expressed displeasure and concern at the precedent it might have set,” a federal summary of the talks reads. .
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on February 25, 2022.
Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press