Emergencies Act: Lucki’s email indicates that other tools were available


OTTAWA-

Documents submitted to the Emergency Public Order Commission show that RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki did not believe officials had used ‘every tool available’ to dismantle anti-warrant protests in Ottawa, before that the Emergencies Act be invoked.

In an email to Mike Jones, chief of staff to Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino, dated just after midnight on February 14, the day the government invoked the law, Lucki wrote that officials had other tools that had already been factored into plans to end the protests. .

Although Lucki has yet to testify before the commission – she is expected to appear before it in the coming weeks – she previously told the special parliamentary committee set up to review the law that she had never heard the police explicitly ask the use of the law.

In the email, Lucki listed “helpful” powers the law would give law enforcement, including banning public gatherings in a wider range of designated spaces, banning protesters from bringing gasoline and diesel into the protest area, cell phone disruption and police power. to get tow trucks into the protest.

The RCMP commissioner also wrote that law enforcement could prohibit entry to the protest area and keep minors away from protests, if the Emergencies Act is invoked. But Lucki added that there were still untapped powers without the emergency measures.

“Having said that, I am of the opinion that we have not yet exhausted all the available tools that are already available through existing legislation,” Lucki wrote in his email to Jones.

She said some charges could still be laid under the Criminal Code, and that Ontario declaring a state of emergency days before also helped law enforcement “provide additional deterrents to our existing toolbox”.

“These existing tools are factored into our existing plans and will be used in due course if needed,” Lucki added.

Mendicino said Lucki’s email did not change his assessment that the Emergencies Act was necessary, nor does it negate his earlier comments that the law was helpful in ending protests.

“None of that, of course, changes her testimony before the Standing Committee on Public Safety last spring, where she made it very clear that the Emergencies Act was needed to deal with the situation on the ground, not just in Ottawa, but across the country, both peacefully and quickly,” Mendicino told reporters Tuesday.

“It was a government decision,” he added. We listened carefully to the advice we were receiving at the time, we consulted with various provincial, territorial, etc. partners, but we made the decision because it was necessary…and it worked. »

Acting Ottawa Police Chief Steve Bell was asked about the communication between Lucki and Jones during his testimony to the commission on Monday.

Bell had also previously said that he had not asked for the use of the law, but that the tools it gave law enforcement were helpful in ridding downtown Ottawa of trucks.

Attorney Brendan Miller, who represents the ‘Freedom Convoy’ protesters, asked Bell if he agreed with Lucki’s assessment that there were unused tools available to law enforcement before the invocation of the law, to which Bell replied that it was a “prospect” Lucki needs to be questioned.

“I’ve been very clear about how we’re using the emergency law provisions to actually execute our plan and create stability around the execution of our plan,” Bell said.

“I believe…there could have been other opportunities,” he also said. “What I said, and I’ll say it again, is that we leveraged the emergency law as it came out to create a very stable platform, to be able to access the tow trucks, to be able to do the four or five different [things] that I identified. So while those capabilities exist, absolutely, in what Commissioner Lucki has identified, the emergency law has created a very stable platform, a stable environment for us to execute our plan.”