This article was added by the user . TheWorldNews is not responsible for the content of the platform.

GOLDSTEIN: Trudeau government fails another test of its so-called ‘transparency’

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau testifies at the Emergencies Act inquiry on Friday, Nov. 25, 2022.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau testifies at the Emergencies Act inquiry on Friday, Nov. 25, 2022. Photo by Adrian Wyld /THE CANADIAN PRESS

Amid the media praise for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s performance as the final witness at the public inquiry into his invocation of the Emergencies Act, keep in mind his government refused to give the inquiry a key piece of evidence Justice Paul Rouleau wanted to see.

That was the legal brief prepared by the federal justice department — referred to by Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS) director David Vigneault in his testimony — which Trudeau and his cabinet used to justify invoking the EA.

As the Canadian national soccer teams head to their respective FIFA World Cups, Derek Van Diest is on the scene to cover all the action. Expect expert insights and analysis in your inbox daily throughout the tournaments, and weekly on Thursdays for the rest of the season.

By clicking on the sign up button you consent to receive the above newsletter from Postmedia Network Inc. You may unsubscribe any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of our emails. Postmedia Network Inc. | 365 Bloor Street East, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 3L4 | 416-383-2300

Vigneault and other government witnesses repeatedly referred to this government document as the reason they supported invoking the EA, even though the Freedom Convoy didn’t fit the definition of a threat to national security that it contains.

Without that, the EA is not supposed to be used.

The government’s position — based on legal advice it received from itself — was that the EA could be applied to broader situations than those specified in the EA, which cites another law, the CSIS Act, in defining security threats.

Obviously, this legal opinion is significant when it comes to why Trudeau and his cabinet invoked the EA.

As inquiry legal counsel Gordon Cameron put it on Wednesday — two days before the testimony phase of the inquiry ended:

“We would observe that … from the beginning of this proceeding until now, we have attempted to find a way to lift the veil that has made such a black box of what has turned out to be a central issue before the hearing … We just regret that it ends up being an absence of transparency on the part of the government.”

  1. Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti appears as a witness at the Public Order Emergency Commission in Ottawa, on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022.

    LILLEY: Trudeau government won't share secret legal basis for invoking Emergencies Act

  2. Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau testifies at the Public Order Emergency Commission in Ottawa, November 25, 2022.

    LILLEY: Trudeau testifies he's 'serene, confident that I made the right choice' as inquiry wraps up

  3. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland arrives to the Public Order Emergency Commission in Ottawa, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022.

    EDITORIAL: Liberals on invoking EA — trust us

On the same day, Justice Rouleau, in questioning Attorney-General David Lametti, who repeatedly invoked solicitor-client privilege in refusing to answer questions about what was in the justice legal brief, said he still didn’t know what Trudeau and his cabinet members were thinking when they invoked the EA.

“And I guess the answer is, we just assume they acted in good faith in application of whatever they were told. Is that sort of what you’re saying?” Rouleau asked Lametti.

Lametti responded, “I think that’s fair.” Translation, “trust us.”

Except this was an inquiry, not a trial. No one will be charged with a crime and it was the government’s own witnesses who repeatedly referred to the legal brief as their reason for involving the EA.

To equate that with the need to ensure confidentiality between lawyers and clients is absurd.

As Cara Zwibel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association said: 

“The government is relying on solicitor-client privilege to shield the legal advice upon which cabinet relied from the commission and the public … This does hamper the commission’s ability to carry out its mandate.

“While the government has been content to have its own witnesses testify that their understanding of the Emergencies Act was based on legal advice, it now refuses to disclose that advice. Its selective approach to privilege undermines the transparency of the process.”

Judge Rouleau said following Trudeau’s appearance Friday, as the last witness in the testimony phase of the inquiry, that he now has the information he needs to make a decision about the government’s use of the EA.

But make no mistake, the inquiry itself has already said the Trudeau government wasn’t transparent on the issue of why it decided to invoke the EA — the question the inquiry has to answer.