You don’t expect to hear the words “secret court hearing” when it is the Canadian legal system being discussed. For those who believe in the fundamental principles of justice it is a little unnerving.
Those behind the class action lawsuit against the truckers’ convoy that has parked in downtown Ottawa for more than theree weeks now were able to obtain an injunction in secret to freeze any cryptocurency assets that might be associated with the process. The defendants were not informed of the application and therefore not present to argue their side.
I had never before heard of a Mareva injunction. Doing little bit of research on a number of legal websites I can see the value of such an order. What I didn’t find (and maybe I missed it) was anything that clearly stated that an application for such an injunction can be held in secret with the other party unaware.
Somehow I was under the impression that in our justice system the defendant has the right to confront an accuser. That doesn’t seem to have been allowed here.
Those behind the class action lawsuit have a strong case in my opinion. There is no doubt Freedom Convoy 2022 has been incredibly disruptive to their lives. Even if they win though, I doubt the losers will have the $306 million they are asking for.
I also doubt any court order can effectively freeze assets of what is a rather nebulous group. The convoy organizers don’t strike me as wealthy people. Their first fundrasing attempt, on the GoFundMe website, was shut down and the donations returned to the donors. The next site, GiveSendGo, is not located in Canada. I’m not sure how much force an Ontario court order has in the U.S. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.
I still find the secrecy unsettling though. Maybe I’m a little hypersensitive these days, given that the federal government has invoked the Emergencies Act, giving it extra powers, including the suspension of civil liberties.
The Prime Minister has reassured Canadians that even in this “emergency” his government will respect the Constitution and civil rights. I might feel better about that reassurance if I didn’t know that the Act gives him a blank cheque to do what he likes, including “(f) other temporary measures authorized under section 19 of the Emergencies Act.”
In other words, the government doesn’t know what it will do and has given itself the power to do whatever it wants. Or, as Canada’s “Justice Minister” has said, if they don’t like your politics, they may come after you next.
Some might think that is overstating the point. The more than 400 Canadians locked up by the previous Prime Minister Trudeau, arrested in the middle of the night and held without charges or trial for their political beliefs, then released without apology, might disagree.