Another day, another fatuous statement from Alberta United Conservative Party attacking the Trudeau Government.

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith (Photo: Alberta Newsroom/Flickr).

This time the news hook for the UCP’s fatuity was the ruling by a Federal Court of Canada justice that the Liberal Government’s use of the Emergencies Act on Valentine’s Day 2022 to clear the streets of Ottawa infringed on the Charter rights of the so-called Freedom Convoy protesters who occupied the nation’s capital for nearly a month and blockaded several border crossings, causing billions of dollars of economic harm.

Well, that’s better from the UCP’s perspective than talking about the issues that bedevil our province on their watch. Among them the UCP’s inability to reverse the steep decline of our public health care system; the embarrassing “Tylenot” scandal; the deadly addictions crisis; homelessness; outrage over the scheme to seize the Canada Pension Plan; and untrustworthy oil price estimates that may yet sink the last provincial budget, to name just a few.

“Since Day 1, Alberta has been clear that the federal government’s decision to invoke the Emergencies Act during the COVID-19 pandemic violated the constitutionally guaranteed rights of Albertans,” began the homily attributed to Premier Danielle Smith and Justice Minister Mickey Amery that was published yesterday on the Alberta Government’s official website. 

This fails to mention then UCP municipal affairs minister Ric McIver’s Feb. 5, 2022, letter to the feds pleading for Ottawa’s help to clear the blockade at Coutts, which the federal government did with the help of the Emergencies Act

In fairness, it is true, as Mr. McIver insisted later when he was called on it, that his letter never actually mentioned the Emergencies Act. But even so, no matter who you are, you really can’t have it both ways. 

Justice Minister Mickey Amery (Photo: Legislative Assembly of Alberta/Flickr).

“This is another example of the Federal Court ruling against the federal government’s unconstitutional practices,” the joint statement huffed, giving the UCP’s expert communications specialists yet another opportunity to complain about those plastic straws. 

Getting to its key point, the statement went on: “We are disappointed that the federal government has indicated it will be appealing the decision.”

Explaining the federal decision to appeal, Deputy PM Chrystia Freeland said yesterday, “The safety of individual Canadians was under real threat … Our national security was under real threat – our national security, including our economic security.” 

This is indisputable. But it is also important to remember that Canadians were deeply divided at the time, and continue to be today, about the appropriateness of the federal government’s response to the real threats presented by the occupiers and blockaders. 

Both sides have taken the matter to the courts, as is appropriate in a society that respects the rule of law, to settle the matter. 

Ric McIver, who was Alberta municipal affairs minister in 2022 during the Coutts blockade (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Given the persistence of this division in our society, surely the most appropriate course is to take the matter to the highest court in the land and let a panel of Supreme Court Justices have the final word.

Otherwise, whether you love or hate the Federal Court decision, the matter remains essentially unresolved. 

Never mind the irony of a provincial government addicted to the use of unconstitutional measures issuing such a statement, if the use of the Emergencies Act was really unnecessary and “a dark and dangerous precedent,” as Ms. Smith and Mr. Amery insist, isn’t the best way to settle the matter once and for all in the country’s highest court? 

One final note, I noticed today a perfectly respectable and intelligent commentator arguing on social media that since the federal government didn’t use the then-new Emergencies Act to end the Oka Crisis in 1990, this is evidence the act ought not to have been employed in 2022. 

Deputy PM Christia Freeland (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

While there are some important differences – for example, the indigenous protesters at Oka did not have a plan to overthrow the country’s democratically elected government – the 78-day blockade did cause major inconvenience to residents of suburbs south of Montreal. 

But anyone who thinks this argument has merit should first reacquaint themselves with the violent gong show created by the Quebec and federal governments as a response to the standoff. 

I would suggest that the logical conclusion is the opposite: The Oka crisis would have been settled more quickly, with less violence and harm, and with an appropriate analysis afterward had the Emergencies Act been used. 

Looking forward and back, a couple of observations:

Certain obvious conclusions suggest themselves about the attack yesterday on Edmonton’s City Hall by a person shooting what appeared to be a military-style rifle, tossing home-made firebombs, and wearing body armour. But I’m going to do the prudent thing and thank God no one appears to have been hurt while we all await more information on the shooter. 

George Galloway, who was a British MP in 2009 when the Harper government banned him from entering Canada because the Conservatives didn’t like his opinions (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Likewise, since the possibility remains that Premier Danielle Smith will change her mind, do the right thing, and refuse to appear on the same stage as a far-right American meat puppet who advocates violence against Canada, I suppose we should also hang fire on that, if readers will forgive an inappropriate turn of phrase. 

I will add only two historical notes: 

(1) It is remarkable that we remember the name of Joseph Stalin’s deputy, Vyacheslav Mikhaylovich Molotov, to this day every time someone throws one of these homemade incendiary weapons. The use of the Soviet foreign minister’s name in this manner was not a compliment, it should be noted. The expression Molotov cocktail was coined by the Finns in 1939. 

(2) If it made sense for the Harper government to ban the presence of then British MP George Galloway from Canada in 2009 on the spurious grounds that he was a threat to national security when in fact the problem was that immigration minister Jason Kenney disagreed with him, surely the same action could be taken against the odious Tucker Carlson, with whom Ms. Smith is expected to share a stage tonight

Join the Conversation


  1. The UCP are excellent at doublespeak. One minute they expect the federal Liberal government to help them, while at the next minute they attack them. Those convoy delinquents disrupted the peace and quiet of people, with all the honking and shouting, and caused great economic harm. Weapons were even found amongst them, and who knows what they could have done, if they got any further.
    I’m glad that things didn’t get any worse at Edmonton’s City Hall, yesterday. On various media sites, there are all kinds of stupid assumptions at to who and what was behind this, but only the police will know, after an investigation is completed.
    I heard that the Tucker Carlson event in Edmonton wasn’t sold out, and that they had to give away tickets to the event, likely at discounted prices, or flat out give them away for free. Conrad Black and John Carpay were also speakers at this event, and this event was in Calgary, on the same day. Both of them are convicted criminals. It doesn’t bode well for Danielle Smith to be present at this event. The stance of the speakers should be very concerning. However, Danielle Smith has to appeal to her base, who also seem to be not grounded in reality. These phony Conservatives and Reformers claim to be all about law and order, but they don’t support it themselves.

    1. Republi-Cons are all about law ‘n’ order! They make the laws (and so, they can ignore ’em) and they give us orders (as in, “do this or else”).

  2. What happened in Ottawa with the convoy was not reasonable. My view is that the court is wrong. Period.

  3. Didn’t we already have a somewhat extensive public inquiry into the use of the Emergencies Act?

    I do feel what happened, which paralyzed Ottawa for a long period of time and spread to other parts of the country, disrupted the lives of citizens, the border and international trade resulting in consuner shortages, price hikes and layoffs was serious enough to be considered an emergency. It also seemed that when use of the Emergencies Act was discussed was when things started to settle down. So this ruling needs to be considered and evaluated by the Supreme Court.

    It is not just an academic question, as the divisions in society persist and some remain eager to exploit them for their own political benefit. I get that those who repeatedly lost Federal elections have become increasingly frustrated, but at this point I feel it would be better for everyone if we focus on the future instead. There will soon be another opportunity for them to present their case to the voters and to debate issues again.

    It also doesn’t help our country to bring in a prominent speaker from another country whose preoccupation is grievance and who has done very well for himself by stirring up social division. But I can understand his appeal to certain Canadian politicians who like to do the same. I can only hope that they will be judged by the company they chose to keep.

  4. This Federal Court ruling ought to make the next occupation of Ottawa a real humdinger. No doubt, the usual suspects are planning their next city siege. The occupiers know the Ottawa city police are next to useless, Doug Ford will head to his cottage at the first sign of trouble and the Federal Governments hands are tied, depending on the Supreme Court.

    1. Jaundiced: Well, I suppose in those circumstances could do what they did at Oka without using the Emergencies Act, that is, send in the army and let them shoot it out with the insurrectionists. I’s sure that would go over well with the Civil Liberties Association. DJC

  5. The UCP gets riled up about federal use the Emergencies Act, then turns around the very next day and engages in a very public forum with a man who announced today that he is off to “liberate” Canada. From whom? Canadians?

    This is dangerous and provocative talk that could have unintended consequences. Far be it from me to suggest that the UCP and Danielle Smith are playing with fire. Far be it from me to use the word “insurrection”.

    In case anyone missed it:

    It always seemed likely that the first use of the Emergencies Act would go to the Supreme Court. In the meantime, let’s just wait and see the outcome of the court case involving weapons charges and charges of conspiracy to murder RCMP against four men at Coutts.

    1. Abs: I’m pretty sure the phrase “apprehended insurrection” in the War Measures Act was not kept when it was replaced with the Emergencies Act. Perhaps it should have been retained. DJC

  6. The chance of trash can Dani passing up the opportunity to be seen with any celebrity whatsoever is zero.

    The Swansons heir is on his way out in terms of relevance, I fail to see how an event in alberta is not playing the sticks for the former most watched personality (what Tucker does is not the news) on American television.

    Does he still have an audience? Sure. Is it growing ? That’s a hilarious question

  7. I really believe it was the freezing of the convoy organizer’s bank accounts that led to the peaceful dismantling of the occupation. If it took the Emergencies Act to facilitate bank account freezing, then that was what was necessary.

    Opponents of the act have argued that there were other measures available to the authorities to take down the convoy, but in my mind they all involve confronting the protestors. Context here is critical. An arsenal of weapons had been discovered at the Coutts protest site, and given the rhetoric we were hearing from the Ottawa occupiers, it would have been prudent to assume they very possibly could be armed as well. It appears that opponents to the Emergencies Act would have preferred the police, or military, stand up to the occupiers and hope they don’t start shooting in a densely populated area of Ottawa.

    I can just imagine how the government’s critics would react in the aftermath of a bloodbath.

    I think freezing the bank accounts also exposed the shallowness of the protestors concern. Peace protestors have slept in tents on Parliament Hill through the winter; these guys gave up when their outdoor hot tub was taken away from them.

  8. I’m not surprised that these Reformers would win for now with so many ignorant people now supporting them including Judges. While they continue to try to pretend that they are conservatives there is nothing conservative about them. They would have allowed this stupidity to drag on for months without showing any concern for the people in Ottawa or the millions in debt it was creating that’s how stupid they are. I think this will wake up a lot of people and it might help get Poilievre defeated I certainly hope so.

  9. Since the Federal Court judge knew his E-Act decision would be bound for the SCoC, I think it likely he wanted to add his name to whichever minority of the Supreme Court bench might write a dissenting position. It assembles its case from minutia whereas the SCoC will look at the whole. He made sure of that.

  10. Even a dizzy lunatic, like Dani should appreciate a government protecting their country when idiots damage the economy and undermine their trade relations. Throw in a plot to murder the RCMP? Well now! That’s not freedom!

  11. Of course an unarmed Commissionaire brought down the Edmonton City Hall shooter. The Edmonton Police were busy battling the drug cartels making millions off of the homeless living in tents.

  12. I know a few people who live within the “sound” zone area of the Ottawa occupation. I would not wish what they experienced during that time one anyone. Except perhaps on those who are praising this result.

  13. Considering the layers of safeguards and accountability reviews in place in the Emergency Powers Act, one wonders why even implement it?

    The old War Measures Act was awesome, because it allowed the Cabinet, via orders-in-council, to invoke the Act, that granted considerable powers to the federal government to enforce any orders to restore order, even putting an entire city under curfew and military occupation, suspending habeas corpus, ordering the arrest of ANYONE determined to be an enemy of the state. Civil liberties were suspended, even the usual freedoms were frozen, and their practitioners arrested. Oh, how I miss the days of the October Crisis and Pierre Trudeau’s ‘Just Watch Me’ moment. Regrettably, those days are long gone, because those Convoy buffoons in Ottawa two years ago would have found themselves doing hard labour in the salt mines for all eternity. But we live in delicate times now. Instead, we have Queen Danielle telling everyone that blockading an international border crossing and conspiring to murder RCMP officers is an act of patriotism. Yes, we have all fallen this far. As for the so-called Coutt’s Four, maybe taking them all on a clandestine drive to an isolated location and doing what King Ralph called the old ‘Shoot, shovel, and shut-up’ would have been the far better and justified option. But, again, we live in times of delicate sensibilities.

    It’s only going to get worse, so get mo’ popcorn — preferably not from Loblaw’s.

  14. I believe it has to go the Federal Court of Appeals next, then probably to the Supreme Court of Canada. No idea how long that will take.

  15. So the judges decided the occupiers rights were violated. What about the rights of those living in the areas which were occupied? People do have a right to sleep in their own homes and go about their legal business on their streets–the occupiers didn’t permit that. Its a case of whose rights take priority. if it was just a protest the truckers and company could have protested along some highway or in a field, not in people’s front yards, roads, sidewalks. How were they supposed to live?

    Those truckers were in the business of over throwing the duly elected federal government. They wanted to dismiss Parliament and the P.M. and have a committe of truckers and the GG run the country. Really, how stupid were those people. Can hardly wait to see how these people will deal with the upcoming federal election and the growing divide in this country on racism.

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