Justice Centre sues feds over abuse of the Emergencies Act

OTTAWA: The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms has filed a constitutional challenge on behalf of four Canadians, including two decorated military veterans and a retired police officer, to the Trudeau Government invocation of the Emergencies Act on February 14, 2022. Two of the applicants represented by the Justice Centre had their bank accounts frozen and seized, without judicial authorization or a review process, using laws that normally only apply to terrorists and enemy nations. The Justice Centre’s legal action will argue that the use of the Emergencies Act was unconstitutional and an excessive use of Executive Power, not authorized by the law in the circumstances.

Edward Cornell, a 64-year-old retired Warrant Officer of the Canadian Armed Forces from New Brunswick was awarded a Medal of Bravery on June 15, 1987, in recognition of heroism in hazardous circumstances during active duty in Cyprus, where he saved a man from drowning. Mr. Cornell also served as an auxiliary officer with the Ontario Provincial Police from 2013 to 2015. On different occasions in January and February 2022, Mr. Cornell decided to go to Ottawa to support the truckers involved in the freedom rallies taking place in the country’s capital.

He wore his military medals while supporting the protests and states, “I had zero beliefs or intentions about overthrowing the elected government of Canada… my military record supports my belief in standing up for democracy and democratic rights all over the world.”

In a sworn affidavit that will be filed with the Federal Court, Mr. Cornell states that the protests were “entirely peaceful” and “festive and friendly,” without any hostility from anyone towards anyone, with people of all different backgrounds, races, and ethnicities present.

Mr. Cornell was asked to help liaise between police and protestors, and earned the trust of people as he served as liaison. His efforts ended in his bank accounts and credit cards being frozen, and he was unable to access them. Mr. Cornell says, “I was left in a very desperate situation and unable to pay any of my bills that were due during this time.” He used cash to return to New Brunswick from Ottawa. Mr. Cornell was prevented from using a toll bridge that accepted payment only by debit or credit card, forcing a longer drive.

Mr. Cornell said his experience having his bank accounts seized has been traumatic. “I broke no law, yet the government seized my accounts and froze my hard-earned money. I am not a criminal. I am not a terrorist. I am a retired Canadian military veteran who honourably served his country… I feel betrayed by my own government,” he added.

The Justice Centre represents another decorated military veteran and a retired police officer in this action. The Applicants have asked the Federal Court of Canada to find that Prime Minister Trudeau’s February 14th declaration of a national emergency was unconstitutional, unjustified, and unauthorized by law. This court action argues that there were no grounds or facts to support the existence of a real national security threat to Canada when the declaration was made.

In the case of a “public order emergency,” which is how the declaration was positioned, there is a requirement that the emergency must amount to a “threat to the security of Canada” which includes “acts of serious violence against persons or property for the purpose of achieving a political, religious or ideological objective within Canada.”

Late in the day on Wednesday, February 23, 2022, while the Senate was actively debating the measures, Mr. Trudeau announced he was revoking the Emergencies Act.

The Justice Centre has engaged constitutional lawyers Brendan Miller of Foster LLP and Blair Ector, of Ector Law, to act on behalf of the Justice Centre and clients, and will proceed with the court action as a matter of public interest, to hold the Canadian government accountable for their decision, and force them to justify the emergency that justified the use of such extraordinary powers and infringement on Canadians’ Charter rights and freedoms. The Justice Centre will proceed with legal action to what Justice Centre President John Carpay calls one of the “most egregious and disturbing, unnecessary, and unjustified power grabs” by a democratic government in his lifetime.

“The freezing of bank accounts is a gross abuse of government power, used to punish those who supported a peaceful protest for the return of Charter rights and freedoms that were taken away from Canadians 23 months ago,” concludes Mr. Carpay.

Far-right extremists in Ukrainian military bragged about Canadian training, report says

TORONTO — A report exploring the far-right in Ukraine’s military found that neo-Nazis and supporters of far-right groups in the ranks bragged online about receiving training from Canada and other NATO nations, prompting promises of a thorough review from the Department of National Defence.

The report, entitled “Far-Right Group Made its Home in Ukraine’s Major Western Military Training Hub” and published by the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at George Washington University, details a group within Ukraine’s National Army Academy (NAA) known as the “Military Order Centuria” or simply “Centuria.”

The group is led by those with ties to the internationally active far-right Azov movement, the report says. The Azov movement has attacked anti-fascist demonstrations, city council meetings, media outlets, art exhibitions, foreign student, the LGBTQ2S+ community and Roma people.

2016 report issued by the Office of the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights details accusations against the Azov movement’s militia known as the “Azov Battalion” of torture and other war crimes in the ensuing conflict after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. The Ukrainian National Guard later took the Azov Battalion into its ranks – where it is now known as the Azov regiment.

“I discovered evidence that a far right group composed of military members, officers and cadets with a clearly spelled out international agenda and seemingly dozens of members was able to operate in a prestigious and Western-backed military academy in Ukraine, proselytizing to the academy’s cadets since 2018,” said report author and Washington, D.C.-based investigative reporter Oleksiy Kuzmenko in a series of emails to CTVNews.ca on Wednesday.

Kuzmenko said that the Military Order Centuria has ties to the international Azov movement, which he describes as “a large far-right organization with thousands of members that stretches from a highly capable and politicized Azov Regiment of Ukraine’s National Guard to a far-right political party National Corp.”

The report says the Military Order Centuria members describe themselves as an “order of ‘European traditionalist’ military officers” that share a goal of reshaping Ukraine’s military with right-wing ideologies, and defending what they call the “cultural and ethnic identity of European people.”

Detailed evidence in the report, including photos taken from social media and posts from messaging platforms, show members of Centuria performing Nazi salutes. They also bragged online about receiving training from foreign military forces including those of Canada, Germany, the U.S. and the U.K.

The report states that the NAA denied Centuria operated within the academy. Kuzmenko said several photos and videos of alleged members have been removed from various social media accounts and websites after he reached out to the group for the report.

Kuzmenko detailed one example of his past research on Twitter that shows the proximity of extremists in the Ukrainian military with the Canadian Armed Forces, where a man he describes as an “in-your-face neo-Nazi” graduated from a tactical medical program in 2018 run by the Canadian Armed Forces and the U.S. military and later trained other cadets. The soldier, who is not a part of Centuria, Kuzmenko says, appears on several social media posts holding Nazi flags and in others posing with Canadian instructors. CTVNews.ca has not independently verified the photos or Kuzmenko’s allegations.

Noting that the Ukrainian in question was wearing items of clothing that clearly showed his affiliations, Kuzmenko said members of Centuria and other far-right groups in the military are “practically screaming who they are with the way they operate in the open.”

A member of Centuria received officer training in 2020 at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in the U.K., according to the report, and another attended Germany’s Army Officer Academy in Dresden in 2019.

“I believe that my report shows that despite the far-right’s lack of electoral success, they continue to build up their influence in Ukraine, specifically in the military that seems to tolerate overt far-right activity in its ranks,” Kuzmenko said via email. “To be clear I don’t suggest that Ukraine is run by neo-Nazis, or that the Ukrainian military is dominated by the far-right…what I say is that there are strong indications that Ukraine ignores an evident issue and so do its Western allies.”

Kuzmenko said the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence denied allegations about Centuria made in the media prior to his report, but later announced a probe after it was published.

Multiple Ukrainian agencies did not respond to CTVNews.ca’s request for comment by time of publication.

Christian Leuprecht, a security analyst and professor at the Royal Military College and Queens’s University and senior fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, says that Kuzmenko’s report should give Canada and its allies “pause” regarding their ongoing missions in Ukraine.

“It’s ultimately up to Ukraine to vet their own soldiers, but when they are not careful about getting soldiers that fundamentally don’t align with our values and interests, that compounds the risk that the allies will simply pack up,” Leuprecht said in a telephone interview with CTVNews.ca on Saturday.

Leuprecht said he believes that Canadians will “expect more” from Ukraine which has received such an immense amount of resources, time and energy over the years from Canada.

“This is a country that wants to join the EU and eventually wants to join NATO, and when you openly and actively court and tolerate anti-democratic elements in the very institutions that [are] there to defend your way of life…that is going to raise questions in Canada if this mission is worth the candle,” he said.



FACEBOOK WILL TEMPORARILY allow its billions of users to praise the Azov Battalion, a Ukrainian neo-Nazi military unit previously banned from being freely discussed under the company’s Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy, The Intercept has learned.

The policy shift, made this week, is pegged to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine and preceding military escalations. The Azov Battalion, which functions as an armed wing of the broader Ukrainian white nationalist Azov movement, began as a volunteer anti-Russia militia before formally joining the Ukrainian National Guard in 2014; the regiment is known for its hardcore right-wing ultranationalism and the neo-Nazi ideology pervasive among its members. Though it has in recent years downplayed its neo-Nazi sympathiesthe group’s affinities are not subtle: Azov soldiers march and train wearing uniforms bearing icons of the Third Reich; its leadership has reportedly courted American alt-right and neo-Nazi elements; and in 2010, the battalion’s first commander and a former Ukrainian parliamentarian, Andriy Biletsky, stated that Ukraine’s national purpose was to “lead the white races of the world in a final crusade … against Semite-led Untermenschen [subhumans].” With Russian forces reportedly moving rapidly against targets throughout Ukraine, Facebook’s blunt, list-based approach to moderation puts the company in a bind: What happens when a group you’ve deemed too dangerous to freely discuss is defending its country against a full-scale assault?

According to internal policy materials reviewed by The Intercept, Facebook will “allow praise of the Azov Battalion when explicitly and exclusively praising their role in defending Ukraine OR their role as part of the Ukraine’s National Guard.” Internally published examples of speech that Facebook now deems acceptable include “Azov movement volunteers are real heroes, they are a much needed support to our national guard”; “We are under attack. Azov has been courageously defending our town for the last 6 hours”; and “I think Azov is playing a patriotic role during this crisis.”

The materials stipulate that Azov still can’t use Facebook platforms for recruiting purposes or for publishing its own statements and that the regiment’s uniforms and banners will remain as banned hate symbol imagery, even while Azov soldiers may fight wearing and displaying them. In a tacit acknowledgement of the group’s ideology, the memo provides two examples of posts that would not be allowed under the new policy: “Goebbels, the Fuhrer and Azov, all are great models for national sacrifices and heroism” and “Well done Azov for protecting Ukraine and it’s white nationalist heritage.”


Facing Financial Peril and a Pending Senate Rebuke, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Revokes Emergency War Measures Act

In the bigger picture, the Canadian banking and financial system was hit hard by the deployment of the Emergency Act which highlighted the ability of the government to arbitrarily freeze and seize money, assets and financial investment capital without any due process.

There are also strong rumors in the financial sector, that in addition to Canadians removing money from the banking system, previous investment funds from Hong Kong had been moved – and, making matters even worse, digital currency exchanges were no longer offering secure services in Canada.

Simultaneous to the mounting domestic and international backlash against the financial system, the Canadian Senate was likely to rebuke the government of Justin Trudeau and not support the invocation of the Emergency War Measures Act against Canadian citizens.

As a result of multiple issues of backlash with severe consequence, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet are trying to save face, and yet walk away from the Emergency War Measures Act by revoking it before they faced the humiliation of a public defeat in the Canadian Senate. WATCH:

After his prepared remarks about his reversal in position, Trudeau was softly questioned about internal documents discovered by the Canadian Senate that point toward Trudeau’s cabinet discussing the political benefits they would gain by invoking the Emergency Act.  The prime minister dodged the question twice, instead saying a parliamentary investigation will review why the Emergency Act was needed.

Keep an eye on the story of this Senate discovery.  From all indications, even the liberal allies of Trudeau in the Senate were unable to support the Emergency Act after they reviewed the non-public documents.  There’s something very damaging in those documents, likely internal emails between Trudeau and his various ministers.