The “Freedom Convoy” blockades at the Canada-U.S. border risked causing “irreparable harm” to the trading relationship with the United States, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland warned on Thursday.
Testifying before the Public Order Emergency Commission, the finance minister said her concerns went far beyond the immediate economic harm the protests against COVID-19 public health measures were causing to Canada.
“I really do believe our security as a country is built on our economic security,” Freeland said. “And if our economic security is threatened, all of our security is threatened. And I think that’s true for us as a country. And it’s true for individuals.”
Plus, members of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) testified, including Katie Telford, who is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s chief of staff.
Staff in the PMO suggested the former Conservative interim leader, Candice Bergen, privately acknowledged concerns about engaging with “Freedom Convoy” protesters last winter, while publicly urging the prime minister to listen to them — something Bergen denies.
A summary of interviews with Trudeau’s senior aides was released Thursday by the public inquiry. The document said Telford asked whether Bergen could help and the two leaders discussed reaching out to protesters in a Feb. 3 phone call.
The Public Order Emergency Commission is scrutinizing the events that led to the federal emergency declaration Feb. 14, weeks into protests that gridlocked downtown Ottawa and halted Canada-U.S. trade at several border crossings.
00:00:00 – Start
00:14:25 – Chrystia Freeland
06:26:08 – Prime Minister’s Office officials including Trudeau’s chief of staff, Katie Telford
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