‘An open mind’: A look at Justice Paul Rouleau, the man leading the convoy inquiry


When Paul Rouleau kicked off the inquiry into the federal authorities’s use of the Emergencies Act, he warned towards permitting the proceedings to change into “adversarial.”

“I acknowledge that completely different factors of view shall be forcefully superior. This is to be anticipated. It is vital, nevertheless, that at all instances disagreement be respectful,” Rouleau stated, including that he would “actively management the proceedings.”

As the head of the inquiry into the federal authorities’s use of emergency powers in response to the anti-COVID-19 vaccine mandate protest that gridlocked components of downtown Ottawa this previous winter, the Ontario Court of Appeal justice shall be the public face of what may very well be a polarizing and politically tense six weeks.

WATCH | Ontario decide says inquiries ‘aren’t trials’: 

In opening remarks of Emergencies Act inquiry, Ontario decide says inquiries ‘aren’t trials’

In the first day of the inquiry into the use of the Emergencies Act earlier this yr to clear Ottawa of protesters, Ontario Court Justice Paul Rouleau says inquiries aren’t meant to go judgment on crimes for anybody concerned.

The Public Order Emergency Commission started public hearings Thursday on the authorities’s determination to invoke the Emergencies Act. It is anticipated to listen to from 65 witnesses throughout its factual stage, together with protest individuals, regulation enforcement representatives, federal cupboard ministers and officers with provincial and municipal governments.

The opening day noticed battle strains taking form as attorneys for key gamers — together with the federal authorities, the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, Ottawa police and protest organizers — gave temporary opening remarks.

The federal authorities’s attorneys have promised to put out the step-by-step course of which led the authorities to declare a public emergency as a “final resort,” whereas a lawyer for the convoy organizers has stated the authorities by no means met the authorized threshold to invoke the act.

With a decent timeline for the hearings — they’re scheduled to wrap on Nov. 25 — this is what we learn about the man tasked with heading up the fee.

Education and authorized follow

Rouleau is initially from Eastview, Ont., now often known as the Vanier neighbourhood of Ottawa, in keeping with his biography from the Universite de l’Ontario Francais.

He acquired a bachelor of administration in 1974 and later a bachelor of regulation in 1977, each from the University of Ottawa.

Rouleau was known as to the bar in 1979 and would later acquire a masters diploma in regulation from York University in 1984, in keeping with his biography on the Ontario Court of Appeal web site.

In 2002, Rouleau was appointed an Ontario Superior Court decide throughout Jean Chrétien’s Liberal authorities, after which a decide on the Ontario Court of Appeal in 2005.

In 2014, he was appointed to the Yukon Supreme Court and later the Nunavut Court of Justice and the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories, each in 2017.

During his opening remarks on Thursday, Justice Paul Rouleau stated his expertise as a decide would inform how he conducts the inquiry. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

During his opening remarks on Thursday, Rouleau stated his expertise as a decide would inform how he conducts the inquiry.

“During these hearings I shall be listening to the bulk of this proof for the first time, identical to members of the public,” he stated. “To that finish, I’ve made no findings and reached no conclusions.

“Like a decide, my findings and conclusion shall be based mostly on the proof that’s offered to me. I’ll maintain an open thoughts all through and can solely attain a ultimate conclusion as soon as the proof is all in.”

Raj Anand is chair of the Law Commission of Ontario’s board of governors on which Rouleau serves. He stated Rouleau is sensible, considerate and really considering advancing the regulation.

With 17 years as a decide of the Court of Appeal behind him already, Anand stated, Rouleau has seen many vital authorized points that he brings to his function on the board.

“He has a number of expertise and many concepts, and he does not hesitate to precise these concepts,” Anand advised the Canadian Press this previous spring.

Advocate for French authorized companies, schooling

Rouleau has been an lively advocate for entry to French language schooling and authorized companies in Ontario.

In 1981, he helped discovered the Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Ontario, a gaggle of Francophone authorized professionals that promotes entry to French authorized companies.

Ronald Caza, who labored with Rouleau when he was president of the affiliation, stated Rouleau’s method to litigation was all the time sensible moderately than technical.

“I feel he was fairly profitable, as a result of whenever you deliver a common sense method and a sensible method to authorized points, it’s totally compelling for a courtroom. It’s very compelling for a decide, that argument, as a result of it form of drives to the essence of what the litigation is about,” Caza advised the Canadian Press in April.

Rouleau was appointed to the Ontario lawyer common’s advisory committee on entry to justice in French in 2018.

Then-lawyer Paul Rouleau speaks to Ce Soir En Ontario in 1984 about the Marchand case, by which he efficiently argued for the rights of kids to have entry to French public schooling. (Ce Soir En Ontario)

Rouleau can also be very extremely revered in the francophone neighborhood for championing precedent-setting instances on linguistic rights, stated Caza.

He efficiently argued for the proper of kids to have entry to French public schooling in the 1986 Marchand case, and likewise served as a faculty board trustee in Toronto in the Eighties, in keeping with the public order fee.

Last yr, Rouleau was appointed the first chancellor of the Universite de l’Ontario Francais.

Rouleau additionally labored for Liberal chief John Turner in 1984, in keeping with studies from Maclean’s from the period.

Role of the fee

Rouleau kicked off Thursday’s listening to by explaining the fee’s mandate and the challenges it faces.

“A fee’s suggestions could also be modest or wide-ranging. They could also be directed at a variety of audiences, together with authorities, public our bodies and the personal sector,” stated the commissioner.

“It’s additionally vital to know what commissions of inquiry don’t do. They don’t make findings of authorized legal responsibility. They don’t decide whether or not people have dedicated crimes. While inquiries search to uncover the reality, they aren’t trials. Questions of civil and felony legal responsibility are determined by courts and never commissions.”

At Rouleau’s request, the Liberal authorities has waived cupboard confidence on paperwork associated to its invocation of the act, although it is not clear if these paperwork shall be made public. It’s solely the fourth time in Canada’s historical past {that a} public inquiry has been given entry to such high-level paperwork.

After listening to from Ottawa residents, enterprise representatives and two metropolis councillors on Friday, the fee is anticipated to listen to from various metropolis officers and police representatives this week.

Ottawa City Manager Steve Kanellakos, outgoing Mayor Jim Watson and Councillor Diane Deans — who was head of the Ottawa Police Services Board for a majority of the protests — will seem earlier than the committee this week. Like Watson, Deans isn’t in search of re-election this month.

Also anticipated to testify this week are appearing Deputy Chief of Ottawa Police Patricia Ferguson, retired chief superintendent of the Ontario Provincial Police Carson Pardy and OPP members Pat Morris and Craig Abrams.


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