Several challengers to the Emergencies Act say they’re preparing to sue government officials and financial institutions after the Federal Court’s recent declaration that the invocation of the act was not justified.
Military veteran Eddie Cornell, police veteran Vincent Gircys, and Alberta contractor Jeremiah Jost said
in a Jan. 29 statement on X that they will sue “those in government, the financial institutions who froze people’s bank accounts, and the police officers who beat up and injured innocent Canadians.”
The move comes after Justice Richard Mosley ruled
on their case on Jan. 23 and concluded that “there was no national emergency justifying the invocation of the Emergencies Act and the decision to do so was therefore unreasonable and ultra vires [beyond legal authority].”
The Liberal government invoked the act
in February 2022 saying it was necessary in order to clear cross-country protests and border blockades calling for the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions.
Justice Mosley said that measures implemented under the act, such as limiting public gatherings and freezing bank accounts, had respectively breached sections 2 and 8 of the Canadian Charter
of Rights and Freedoms. Section 2 in part
refers to freedom of expression and Section 8
protects against unreasonable search and seizure.
The court found that Mr. Cornell and Mr. Gircys had standing but rejected the application for review from Mr. Jost, Kristen Nagle of Canadian Frontline Nurses, and pastor and military veteran Harold Ristau. Mr. Cornell and Mr. Gircys “were directly affected by the Emergency Measures in that their accounts were frozen,” the court said, whereas the others did not experience this consequence.
After the government declared a public order emergency on Feb. 14, 2022, the RCMP provided a list
of entities to financial institutions and asked them to freeze their accounts. Financial institutions were also told to use their own risk detection methods to freeze the accounts of other entities deemed to be involved in the protests.
Then-deputy finance minister Michael Sabia testified at the Public Order Emergency Commission (POEC) in late 2022 that 257 accounts were frozen based on the RCMP list and 23 based on the financial institutions’ own determinations.
The men launching the fresh lawsuit following the Jan. 23 Federal Court ruling say “we’re asking all Canadians who have been affected as a result of the Emergencies Act invocation to join us in this historic lawsuit.” They’ve established an initiative called “The Accountability Project” to fundraise for their case.
Their initial statement does not indicate which officials will be sued by the group and whether they are launching a class-action lawsuit. Mr. Cornell told The Epoch Times that details are currently being worked on.
Intending to join the lawsuit is wounded Afghanistan veteran Chris Deering, who testified
at the POEC in November 2022 that he was beaten by police when the Freedom Convoy protest was being cleared in Ottawa.
The Liberal government says it will appeal
Justice Mosley’s decision. “We respect very much Canada’s independent judiciary,” said Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland on Jan. 23 in reaction to the ruling. “However, we do not agree with this decision.”