‘Freedom Convoy’: Talks of ‘breakthrough’ ahead of Emergencies Law invocation

The night before the federal government invoked the Emergencies Act in response to the “freedom convoy” protests, the Prime Minister’s national security adviser told him there was “potential breakthrough” in Ottawa, according to court documents.

However, the office of Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said “the possibility of a breakthrough referred to negotiations conducted primarily by the City of Ottawa with illegal blockers” in the days before the invocation of the law.

“The government closely monitored the state of the negotiations, which were repudiated by many associated with the so-called Freedom Convoy and ultimately failed,” a spokesman for the minister said in a statement to CTV News on Thursday. “The government considered this a factor in the 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 as the government’s use of the law faces a legal challenge, detail conversations ministers and government officials had in the days leading up to Feb. 14, when the Emergency Measures Act was invoked for the first time. in Canadian history.

The documents include minutes of cabinet meetings from Feb. 10, when the federal government was planning scenarios “how much worse things could actually get” if the controversial law was invoked.

At the time, OPP negotiators were telling the government that protest leaders in Ottawa could potentially be encouraged to leave and speak out against the blockade “in return for a commitment to record their message with of the government “.

Documents show that the most pressing issue for the federal government at the time was not the protest outside Parliament, but the reopening of Canada’s busiest trade route, the Ambassador Bridge linking Windsor, Ontario. and Detroit, which has also been hit by lockdowns.

In the February 13 cabinet meeting documents where “breakthrough potential” is mentioned, the rest of that conversation is redacted.

A national inquiry into the government’s use of the law to end protests and blockades by Freedom Convoy truckers was launched in April. Longtime judge Paul S. Rouleau is leading the independent inquiry and is expected to submit his final report by February 20, 2023.