The commissioner, who presides over the public inquiry into the use of the emergency law, said lawyers for the “Freedom Convoy” organizers have made unsubstantiated claims that the hateful images discovered at last winter’s Ottawa protests were staged. I will not allow you to investigate.
Judge Paul Rouleau issued a written response to Freedom Corporation attorney Brendan Miller’s request for additional witnesses, calling his allegations “troubling” and “little evidence bases. ‘ said.
Miller accused lobbying firm Enterprise Canada of planting Nazi and Confederate flags at the protest. He also sent a cease and desist letter stating that he intended to serve Miller with a formal defamation notice.
Rouleau said it made no sense to call witnesses to verify the allegations Miller was making without evidence, and why lawyers had raised the issue at the end of the Public Order Emergency Commission’s six-week hearing. I wondered if I just did.
He also refused Miller’s request to have police examine the license plates of trucks bearing Confederate flags. “This is essentially a fishing expedition,” Rouleau wrote.
The decision came a day after Rouleau temporarily removed Miller from the hearing for speaking on his behalf as he insisted he would call a last-minute witness.
Murray Sinclair, a former senator and judge who presided over the three investigations, said Rouleau’s response was the right way to handle unproven claims and prevent the process from derailing. said.
Sinclair, an attorney at Winnipeg law firm Cochrane Sacksburg, said, “The way he handled the matter was an approach that I would have taken, and probably would have taken by most people doing research. It’s a deaf approach,” he said.
Sinclair recalled conducting an investigation into the death of 12 babies in a Winnipeg hospital in the late 1990s. The attorney for the doctor accused of misconduct attempted to discredit the nurse’s testimony without evidence, claiming that the nurse had an affair with the doctor.
Sinclair declined the question at the time, saying it had nothing to do with the investigative mission and seemed baseless in fact.
He saw similarities to Miller’s request.
“Giving them the freedom to call evidence about something they want to have evidence for because they have a particular point of view about something is, so to speak, surrendering control to the mob. It would be equal,” said Sinclair.
“The main responsibility when conducting research is to narrow the focus, as there are so many possibilities and potential areas of interest.”
According to Sinclair, during the course of the interrogation, attorneys bring up information that “may be wholly false, based on misinformation, or based on lies.”
Sinclair said it’s only part of the judge’s and the committee’s duties to examine the allegations and determine whether they deserve a speech.
“When people come forward and allege misinformation in the course of a submission or in the course of cross-examining a witness, it’s almost part of the judicial process in the broadest sense of the term.”
Sinclair made a similar assessment as a senator in 2017 during a commission investigation of a bill that would ultimately add transgender people to the protections of the Canadian Human Rights Act. testified that people are legally compelled to use pronouns and gender terms with which they disagree.
“The concerns expressed, though strongly and legally held, were ill-founded and, in fact, were contrary to the intent of the bill,” Sinclair told a colleague at the time.
Wayne McKay, emeritus professor of law at Dalhousie University’s Schulich School of Law, agreed that Rouleau made the right decision in Wednesday’s decision.
“He could have been more outspoken and in some ways tougher than he was,” McKay said.
He said he was relatively new to seeing what he called “conspiracy elements and extremist group elements.”
“This could be its first public broadcast,” said McKay, who is set to moderate the committee’s panel next Tuesday.
McKay said the Mass Casualties Board had an early stance on the April 2020 Nova Scotia shooting that it would not accept the theory that the shooter’s common-law spouse was complicit in the shooting. said to have made a decision. He said the commissioner claimed the evidence did not support that theory.
Sinclair and McKay also said Rouleau made an important point, noting that Miller made his allegations in the final week of the commission’s fact-finding phase.
Mr Sinclair said commissioners rarely allow new discussions so late.
“This could result in further delays or sidetracking the investigation,” Sinclair said.
This report by the Canadian Press was first published on November 23, 2022.