Coutts blocking convinced Minister Mendicino to declare a state of emergency | Commission of Inquiry into the State of Emergency

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Coutts blocking convinced Minister Mendicino to declare a state of emergency | Commission of Inquiry into the state of emergency

A lawyer for the organizers of the “freedom convoy” was also expelled from the hearings by Judge Rouleau on Tuesday.

The risk of falling into “armed violence” and witnessing “loss of life” had reached an unprecedented level on February 13, pleaded the Minister of Public Security Marco Mendicino, Tuesday, at the Commission of Inquiry into emergency state.

Armed protesters, ready to do battle with law enforcement: It's the dangerous nature of the Coutts border blockade, in Alberta, that would have ended by convincing federal Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino – and possibly Prime Minister Trudeau – to declare a federal state of emergency last winter.

Mr. Mendicino reportedly became aware of the volatility of the situation during a phone call with Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Commissioner Brenda Lucki on the morning of February 13, he told Tuesday the Rouleau commission.

We were about to engage in an operation in Coutts, where people were in possession of a significant number of guns and body armor; where, according to our information, there were extreme opinions on the ideological level; and where people were ready to fight, he explained.

But the invocation of the Emergencies Act was a response all found in this kind of threat, according to Minister Mendicino, for whom the deployment of RCMP officers and the demarcation of areas where gatherings would be prohibited had become a necessity.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) had also explicitly expressed concerns about its inability to dismantle roadblocks upstream of border crossings, he added.

Interviewed by commission prosecutor Shantona Chaudhury, Mr. Mendicino said he shared with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his inner circle the RCMP Commissioner's concerns about the volatility of the situation in Coutts.

And if he does not recall reading later that day on February 13 the email from Ms. Lucki to her chief of staff Mike Jones, in which she pointed out that “every tool not yet been used by the police, knowing about it probably wouldn't have made much difference, he says.

At that time, my direct interactions with the commissioner were actually going in the opposite direction, he summed up.

Generally, the commissioner of the RCMP did not inform the government of the details of the operations on the ground, assured the minister.

Also, the highly classified information according to which weapons were in circulation at the Coutts blockade was treated in an exceptional manner, he underlined, corroborating in passing the testimony of Brenda Lucki, according to whom the federal police did not x27;had come under no political pressure last winter.

The Trudeau government invoked the Emergencies Act on February 14, 2022 to end a rally of truckers and other protesters opposing COVID-19 health measures that paralyzed downtown 'Ottawa from Saturday, January 29 to Sunday, February 20.

This law – adopted in 1988 to succeed the War Measures Act – provides in particular that a public inquiry must a posteriori consider the circumstances that led the authorities to take such a decision.

Marco Mendicino also confirmed to the commission on Tuesday that even before the “freedom convoy” arrived in Ottawa, half a dozen ministers like him had already received threats from opponents of the sanitary measures. Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam was also targeted.

In addition, MPs were concerned about their safety.

It was a movement that, in some cases, was ready to attack our democratic institutions to force a change in policies, summarized Mr. Mendicino.

In addition, one of the lawyers for some of the organizers of the trucking convoy, Brendan M. Miller, was expelled from the commission on Tuesday. Judge Paul Rouleau demanded, after the morning break, that he be escorted out.

The prosecutor kept cutting him off, insisting in vain to do appear a member of Minister Mendicino's cabinet who was in the courtroom.

The hearing was briefly interrupted, after which Me Miller was replaced by Keith Wilson, who himself testified in recent weeks for his role in the occupation of downtown Ottawa.

Outside, the expelled lawyer spoke to reporters for a few minutes before being dragged away from the cameras by Tamara Lich, one of the organizers of the Freedom Convoy, who testified before the commission earlier this month.

“They are trying to turn this procedure into an investigation into the failures of [the former Chief of the Police Department of #x27;Ottawa] Peter Sloly rather than invoking the Emergencies Act. And my duty to my clients and my duty as a lawyer is to find out the truth.

—Brendan M. Miller, lawyer for truckers' convoy organizers in Ottawa

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Attorney Brendan M. Miller's insistence got him escorted out on Tuesday .

Marco Mendicino's testimony will be followed by that of Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc, who may be asked to address concerns from the Prairie provinces that they have not been sufficiently consulted on federal plans.


Commission hearings are expected to end Friday with Justin Trudeau's testimony. Judge Rouleau's report should be submitted to the government by February 6, then to Parliament by February 20.

The last week Public hearings began on Monday with testimony from Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair and Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) Director David Vigneault.

The latter admitted to having recommended to Prime Minister Trudeau to invoke the Emergencies Act, even though his organization had explicitly determined that the occupation of the downtown area of x27;Ottawa and the border blockades did not pose a “threat to national security” within the meaning of the CSIS Act.

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