Former Alberta Prime Minister Jason Kenny has accused the province of “holding bags” for sweeping away protesters of the “Freedom Convoy” that the federal government has blocked a border crossing in southern Alberta. was found in a public survey.
Documents released Tuesday to investigate the government’s decision to invoke the state of emergency law last winter included text messages between three federal ministers, including Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Dominique Leblanc. increase.
In a message LeBlanc received from Kenny and passed on to his Cabinet colleagues, the then-Prime Minister accused Ottawa of not caring about the closure of the Canada-U.S. border in Coutts, Alberta, and demanded Alberta’s military equipment. complained about the federal government’s decision to deny May help remove protest vehicles.
LeBlanc, whose job is to work directly with provincial leaders, said on February 11, three days before the Alberta RCMP moved to make arrests in Coutts, Transport Minister Omar Algabra and Public Security Minister Marco Mendicino. sent a message to
One message in the group chat that LeBlanc attributed to Kenny said, “Your man really ruined the dog.”
“This trucker vaccination policy is clearly just a silly political drama,” the message said, referring to federal policies requiring cross-border truckers to be vaccinated against COVID-19. It seems that. The policy ignited a motorcade of protests that eventually led to demonstrators opposing his COVID-19 restrictions and the federal government elsewhere.
“Calling them all Nazis didn’t help at all, and now the states are holding the bag on enforcement,” the message read.
The message followed with claims that private vendors would not provide tow trucks or other heavy equipment to “move these crazy trucks” because protesters described as “crazy” were making death threats.
“And you guys declined our request for military equipment to help us. Apparently, the Canadian government doesn’t really care that the borders are closed,” the message said. says.
“But don’t worry, Alberta’s RCMP commander proudly told me that they had secured some psychologists to conduct profile assessments of protesters. Good news, deputy chairman, does anyone know how to drive a tow truck?”
In response to the text LeBlanc said was from Kenny, Algabra wrote: LeBlanc replied, “Absolutely.” Further texts during the conversation his message was not made public.
A blockade in Coutts closed the highway and border crossing for more than two weeks before being dismantled on February 14, the RCMP seized guns and charged four men with conspiracy to murder.
The same day, the federal government moved to invoke the emergency law in response to ongoing protests in downtown Ottawa.
When commission lawyers asked LeBlanc if Kenny was referring to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a message that said, “Your man really messed up the dog,” LeBlanc testified he didn’t ask. .
“This text message was the best empathetic expression of his frustration,” he said.
This isn’t the first time the commission has seen heated exchanges between federal ministers and their provincial counterparts, especially in Ontario.
The committee has heard that members of the federal cabinet are frustrated by the Ontario government’s unwillingness to come to the table to hammer out a solution to the lockdown.
Earlier in the day, a text message from Mendicino’s chief of staff, Mike Jones, was shown to the public inquiry. He said in February that former Attorney General of Ontario, Sylvia Jones, used her expletives when telling her that she “did not take the edict.”
The Ontario government did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.
In its final week, the Public Order Emergency Committee said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet said the ‘freedom fleet’ could spark further protests after Coutts and another six-day border protesters blockade. I heard earlier that you were very concerned about Closed in Windsor, Ontario.
One of the reasons the Trudeau administration insisted the emergency law was necessary was that officials were unable to persuade or find tow truck drivers willing to remove the protest vehicles.
This report by the Canadian Press was first published on November 22, 2022.