Rouleau Commission: Doug Ford refuses to testify; it's the federal bosom, he says
Ontario Premier Doug Ford doesn't see why he should testify before the Rouleau Commission (archives) .
Ontario Premier Doug Ford on Wednesday defended his refusal to appear before the State of Emergency Commission, saying it is a matter of federal hearings on a Trudeau government decision.
The Rouleau commission concerns the federal government's decision to invoke the Emergencies Act last February. The goal: to end the occupation of downtown Ottawa by a convoy of truckers.
For Mr. Ford, this is not a provincial issue.
He also said during question period at Queen's Park on Wednesday that he was a police question and not a political one. He noted that senior members of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) offered their testimony.
“This is a Federal Commission of Inquiry into the Fed's decision to use a Federal Emergency Measures Act.
—Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario
Premier Ford and former Ontario Solicitor General Sylvia Jones (current Minister of Health) were ordered to appear before the commission of inquiry on Monday, after refusing to do so voluntarily.
The two elected officials, however, requested a judicial review of this directive, citing parliamentary privilege.
They add that the government delegated two senior officials to testify before the Rouleau commission, in addition to provide him with 800 pages of documents.
On Tuesday, the day after their subpoena, Mr. Ford and Minister Jones were absent during question period, as work resumed at Queen's Park following a six-week break.
Opposition parties accuse Mr. Ford of seeking to evade by citing parliamentary privilege not to testify before the Rouleau commission.
The Rouleau commission wants Mr. Ford and Ms. Jones testify on November 10, according to court documents. Their attorneys have asked the Federal Court to have their motion heard on November 1.
Last week, Mr. Ford told reporters that he had no not invited to testify.
However, the commission maintains that it has been trying since mid-September to meet with Mr. Ford, before the public hearings. These requests have been repeatedly denied by provincial lawyers, emails filed in Federal Court show.
Outgoing Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson told the inquest he had asked the Ford government to attend a meeting with the city and the federal government to determine how to end to the occupation of the city center of the capital. Mr. Watson told the commission that the absence of the provincial government from that meeting had delayed the end of the occupation.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has already been met by commission prosecutors and is expected to testify at the public hearings. In a call between Mr. Trudeau and Mayor Watson in early February, the Prime Minister is heard to say that Mr. Ford's absence was due to political reasons.
The commission wants to ask Mr. Ford and Ms. Jones why they didn't show up for this meeting. She also wants to know what role they both played in trying to resolve the occupation in Ottawa and the protests that halted inbound traffic for nearly a week at the country's busiest border crossing, the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor and Detroit.
With information from La Presse canadienne