‘Freedom convoy’: Talks about ‘breakthrough’ before Emergencies Act comes into effect

On the eve of the federal government invoking the Emergencies Act in response to the ‘Liberty Convoy’ protests, the prime minister’s national security adviser told him there was “potential for a breakthrough”. demolition” in Ottawa, court documents show.

However, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino’s office said “the potential for a breakthrough refers to negotiations primarily led by the City of Ottawa with illegal roadblocks” in the coming weeks. days before the action is taken.

A spokesman for the minister said in a statement to CTV News on Thursday: “The government has been closely monitoring the state of the negotiations, which have been plagued by many involved in the so-called Freedom Convoy from the United States. refused and was ultimately unsuccessful. “The government considered this as a factor in its decision to invoke the Emergencies Act. More broadly, the government invoked the Emergencies Act because it was necessary.”

The heavily redacted documents, filed in federal court when the government’s use of the act faced a legal challenge, detail conversations between cabinet ministers and government officials. government officials in the days leading up to February 14, when the Emergencies Act was invoked for the first time in Canadian history.

The documents include minutes of a cabinet meeting that began on February 10, when the federal government was planning a scenario of “how things could get really bad” if actions caused controversy is invoked.

At the time, Ontario Provincial Police negotiators told the government that the leaders of the Ottawa protest were likely encouraged to leave and denounce the blockade “in exchange for a commitment to post sign their message to the government.”

The documents show that the most pressing issue facing the federal government at the time was not the protest outside Parliament, but the reopening of Canada’s busiest trade route – the Ambassador Bridge connecting Windsor, Ont. . and Detroit, which has also been affected by the blockades.

The February 13 cabinet meeting documents mentioned “potential for a breakthrough”, the rest of that conversation was redacted.

A national investigation into the government’s use of the act to end protests and blockades of the “Liberty Convoy” van was launched in April. Paul S. Rouleau, a longtime judge, is leading the independent investigation and will have to present his final report by February 20, 2023.

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