One of the chief Freedom Convoy organizers has called the findings of the Public Order Emergency Commission, a “dark day” for the nation.
In an exclusive interview with True North’s Andrew Lawton, Tamara Lich expressed disappointment at Commissioner Paul Rouleau’s decision to uphold Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s invocation of the Emergencies Act.
“I really felt at that time (of my testimony) that the Commissioner was really listening to me and empathetic to our plight. I’m still a little shocked. Like I said this wasn’t a surprising decision but we were holding out hope for something a little more,” said Lich.
“This is a dark day for Canada in my opinion but we have to stick together and we have to keep working together. We cannot make change in this country if we’re all divided.”
Lich was one of several organizers called to testify before the weeks-long inquiry which wrapped up last year.
In the report tabled before Parliament on Friday afternoon, Commissioner Rouleau concluded that the federal government was justified in invoking the Act.
“I have concluded that Cabinet was reasonably concerned that the situation it was facing was worsening and at risk of becoming dangerous and unmanageable. There was credible and compelling evidence supporting both a subjective and objective reasonable belief in the existence of a public order emergency,” wrote Rouleau.
“The decision to invoke the Act was appropriate.”
Despite her disappointment, Lich said it was important to remain hopeful and united as Canadians.
“I feel that the testimonies we heard at the POEC gave a voice to Canadians and Canadians’ concerts,” Lich said.
“I guess my message has always been that we need to stay focused, we need to stay positive. I truly believe we can look at it as an opportunity…. I really hope that this doesn’t discourage Canadians…. I really hope that we can try to take this and steer it in a way that we can have a positive outcome or we can have a common goal and try to make some change.”
Lich said she would be meeting with her legal team to discuss “next steps.”
Rouleau’s decision was not without its critics. The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) put out a statement on Friday saying that it was “disappointed” with the ruling and is continuing to challenge the Act’s invocation in court.
“The Justice Centre is disappointed with Commissioner Rouleau’s conclusion that the threshold for invoking the Emergencies Act was met,” wrote the JCCF.
“This conclusion does not bind the Federal Court which will, on April 3-5, 2023 in Ottawa, hear the legal and constitutional challenge … to the declaration of an emergency in response to the Freedom Convoy.”