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The federal government claimed cabinet confidentiality over its discussions on COVID-19 mandatory quarantine hotel rules, shielding what was behind the decision even from the scrutiny of the Chief Justice of the Federal Court at a trial challenging the constitutionality of the controversial rules. “Cabinet confidentiality has been claimed, so, none of us today can say what was actually before cabinet when they made their decision,” lawyer Robert Hawkes complained to the court. “What we are left with is contextual evidence that the government has put forward to say ‘even though we won’t tell you what was before the folks who made the decision, we can tell you what was generally available at that time.’” The Federal Court is hearing four similar but separate challenges of Canada’s quarantine hotel rules and about 10,000 pages of documents have been filed, including testimony of some of Canada’s top COVID-19 response officials. Unlike lawsuits against most government decisions, however, none of the information discloses the actual direct information and basis for the decision, court heard.

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