I have launched a lawsuit with other Canadians that alleges that the Federal Government of Canada has violated our rights and freedoms under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms which is an integral part of the country’s Constitution Act 1982. I am the only living first minister who helped craft that document. I and the other Canadians maintain that our rights to travel, protected under Section 6 of the Charter, were violated with the Federal imposition of mandatory travel restrictions, making it unlawful for certain Canadians who exercised these rights to air travel within the country or leave the country.
One would think that the Federal Government lawyers would be eager to hear what one of the first Ministers that helped craft the Charter had to say: especially about the intent of Section 1 and the meaning of the conditions in this section. And even more important to get my understanding of the first words of the Charter; ‘whereas this country is founded on the principles of the Supremacy of God and the rule of law:’
My lawyer, Keith Wilson, contracted by The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, inquired of the Federal Lawyers when they would be calling me for questions responded that they did not intend to call me at all.
Under the Emergency’s Act that the Federal invoked there is a requirement for a Public Order Emergency Commission to be established. This has been established and the Commissioner has been conducting public hearings in Ottawa. My lawyer, who also represents the main Trucker Convoy group, put forward my name to be a witness. I had participated on Parliament Hill as part of the Truckers peaceful, legal Protest and participated with Tamara Lich, the Trucker’s leader, in an aborted press conference where we foreshadowed the imminent invocation of the Emergency Act by the Government and declared it unnecessary and unconstitutional.
The final list of witnesses has been provided by the Commissioner and I have been omitted from being a witness.
One would think that someone who helped craft the Charter, whose name is one of the 10 First Ministers on the Patriation Agreement, the founding document of the Constitution Act 1982, the provisions of which the Truckers were protesting was violated by the Federal Government, and who was in Ottawa in support of the truckers, would have something valuable to say at such a hearing.
It is troubling that the Federal Department of Justice of this Nation defending a Charter case brought by the last surviving First Minister who help craft the Charter would not call such a person to provide testimony in the case and be cross examined.
Likewise, for a Special Inquiry to be called concerning the invoking of the Emergency Act whose preamble stimulates that it must conform to the Charter and refuses to approve my name as one of the witnesses at that Inquiry is surely unusual and an abuse of process.
History will not be kind in judging the behaviour of our leaders who are supposed to fairly judge the exercise of Government power consistent with our written Charter of Rights and Freedoms duly approved as part of the Constitution of our once proud democracy.
Ironic indeed that the Privy Council designation was bestowed on the Premiers who were party to the Patriation Agreement by Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth 11 in recognition of their involvement in creating the Constitution Act 1982.
The Honourable A. Brian Peckford P.C. is the last living First Minister who helped craft the charter and Chairman of ‘Taking Back Our Freedoms ‘