OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — The Canadian government on Monday called an independent public inquiry into its decision to use the Emergencies Act earlier this year to deal with a trucker protest against COVID-19 restrictions that blocked border crossings and clogged the streets of the nation’s capital.
Millions of dollars in trade was halted for days when several border crossings with the U.S. were blocked and the streets of downtown Ottawa were flooded with a national convoy of big-rigs and trucks protesting COVID restrictions.
The protests drew support from some U.S. politicians and media, including former president Donald Trump, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Fox News personalities and billionaire Elon Musk.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government invoked the Emergencies Act for the first time in history on Feb. 15, granting extraordinary temporary powers to police to clear protesters and for banks to freeze the accounts of those involved.
Trudeau said the government has established the Public Order Emergency Commission to examine the circumstances that led to the Emergencies Act being invoked.
The Prime Minister’s Office said the commission will look at the evolution of the convoy, the impact of funding and disinformation, the economic impact, and efforts of police and other responders before and after the declaration.
Ontario Appeal Court Justice Paul S. Rouleau has been named commissioner of the inquiry. He must provide a final report in English and French to the federal government by Feb. 20 next year.