Members of Manitoba legal profession involved in POEC
Legal scholarship assists Commission in Financial Governance, Policing, and Intelligence
Three Manitoba-based members of the legal profession are taking part in the massive Public Order Emergency Commission (POEC) currently unfolding in Ottawa. Two professors from the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Law, Drs. Michelle Gallant and Gerard Kennedy, both participated in a Round Table on Monday, November 28 on the topic of Financial Governance, Policing, and Intelligence. Sacha Paul [LLB/2002], a partner at Thompson Dorfman Sweatman LLP and President of the Law Society of Manitoba, is also participating in the Commission as one of three Regional Counsel.
In addition to appearing at Monday’s Round Table, Gallant is also a member of the POEC Research Council, which was announced publicly in July, 2022. The Commission, which began its work in May, 2022, is an independent public inquiry established by the Governor in Council on April 25, 2022, as required by the Emergencies Act, following the February 14, 2022 declaration of a public order emergency by the Government of Canada.
The Research Council works to help the POEC fulfill its mandate to conduct a policy review of the legislative and regulatory framework surrounding Canada’s Emergencies Act, and provide input to inform the Commission’s process to make recommendations on modernizing the Act. Gallant is one of several academic experts selected from across Canada to serve on the Research Council, which advises on areas of study, commissions research papers, and assists with convening policy roundtables such as the one in which Kennedy participated.
Webcasts of all the public hearings can be found on the POEC website. Kennedy and Gallant appear on Day 32 – November 28 at approximately the 5 hour, 14 minute mark.
Kennedy was able to share that he was asked by the Commission to speak as a procedural scholar to discuss the implications of asset-freezing on individuals’ due process and procedural fairness rights. As to why he was invited specifically to the Round Table on Financial Governance, Policing, and Intelligence, he explained, “There are numerous issues at play in this Commission, all of which are important to varying degrees. My presentation did not get to the core issue of the legality of invoking the Emergencies Act, but it did touch on the issue insofar as a broad interpretation of the statutory prerequisites to invoke the Act can result in individuals’ procedural rights essentially being sent into abeyance.”
Regarding the extent to which his contribution will have any impact on the outcome of the Commission’s decision, Kennedy says it is hard to know. “The Commission is considering an enormous amount of materials and will likely produce a lengthy final report,” he said.
The POEC is the first commission of this magnitude that Kennedy has been involved in. As a doctoral student, he was once involved in a “much, much smaller commission that redrew the electoral boundaries in the Far North of Ontario,” but not one of this scale.
Kennedy’s students can expect to learn from his experiences of being called upon to put his research into action. “I’ve advised both my civil procedure and administrative law classes about the Commission, noting that the research does have implications for procedural rights about which we have been learning,” he said.
Kennedy is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law whose teaching and research areas include Civil Procedure, Administrative Law, Constitutional Law, Legal Profession and Professional Responsibility, and Public International Law. He practiced as a litigator at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP prior to pursuing doctoral studies at Osgoode Hall, and co-coaches the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot team at Robson Hall.
Gallant is a Professor at the Faculty of Law, teaching in the areas of tax, financial crime and charities law. Her recent publications deal with money laundering, secrecy and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, tax law and policy, and the modernization of charities law. Gallant is a member of the Manitoba Law Reform Commission, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Arthur V. Mauro Institute for Peace & Justice at St. Paul’s College at the University of Manitoba.
Sacha Paul practices primarily in the areas of Aboriginal law and Public/Administrative Law at Thompson Dorfman Sweatman LLP, and has taught Insurance Law and Indigenous Economic Development and the Law at Robson Hall. Currently serving as the President of the Law Society of Manitoba, he was a member of the Manitoba Law Reform Commission from 2015 to 2022. He has appeared as counsel before all levels of court in Manitoba, and the Supreme Court of Canada.