Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino told the Public Order Emergency Commission (POEC), which is investigating the federal government’s use of the Emergencies Act, that it was “virtually impossible” to enforce the law in downtown Ottawa during the “Freedom Convoy” protests.
This was part of what fuelled the government’s decision to take the controversial step in order to clear out the protesters earlier this year, he said.
“In ultimately forming the opinion that we needed to invoke the Emergencies Act, one of my main concerns was the inability to enforce the law adjacent to critical infrastructure. That would have included Parliament,” Mendicino said.
“The situation on the ground…it was on the brink of being completely ungovernable, if not already.”
Things grew tense between Justice Paul Roleau, who is the commissioner overseeing the Emergencies Act inquiry on Tuesday, and the lawyer for the organizers of the “Freedom Convoy,” Brendan Miller.
Miller attempted to have the commissioner rule on multiple motions on the spot during the hearing, including a demand to call another witness and a request to force the government to un-redact numerous documents.
Rouleau gave Miller repeated warnings about respecting the schedule of the committee.
Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc, whose file governs federal relationships with the provinces, also testified.
The inquiry is scrutinizing the events and advice that led to the mid-February decision to invoke the Emergencies Act, which came nearly three weeks into the protests that took over downtown Ottawa and blockaded border crossings.
00:00:00 – Start of inquiry
00:10:00 – Mendicino testimony
5:02:00 – Minister LeBlanc begins testimony
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