prime minister Justin Trudeau He is scheduled to conclude a public order emergency committee hearing on Friday, at which time he plans to testify on the decision. emergency law to wipe out the “Freedom Convoy” protests earlier this year.
The hearings have been underway for weeks and have heard from dozens of witnesses as part of their mandate to analyze Trudeau’s legitimacy for invoking controversial legislation earlier this year.
RCMP fears convoy protesters will target Trudeau, reflecting election threat
During the course of the investigation, the committee heard input from law enforcement agencies, Ottawa residents, organizers of the “Freedom Convoy” protests, intelligence officials, and numerous politicians. Both attorneys were kicked out of the room on separate occasions.
The culmination of testimony so far is that the prime minister, who announced his decision to invoke the emergency law on February 14, will face questions about his decision on Friday.
Here’s what you can expect.
What was Trudeau advised to do?
A key moment in the investigation so far was when David Vigneault, director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Agency (CSIS), testified that he had advised Prime Minister Trudeau to invoke the emergency law.
Brendan Miller, the attorney representing the organizers of the convoy, had been asking almost every day until that moment whether the convoy met the CSIS definition of a threat to national security used in the Emergency Act. I was.
Vigneaux confirmed in his testimony that the convoy did not meet the standards of the CSIS law, but he nonetheless advised Trudeau to invoke the law.
CSIS head urges Trudeau to invoke emergency in transit law, investigation conducted
The commission’s attorneys asked whether they were correct in understanding Vigneaux’s thinking at the time. call to action. ”
Vigneault added, “Yes, that’s exactly right.”
Prime Minister Trudeau will come under pressure over this and others that prompted him to invoke it, including National Security Advisor Jodi Thomas.
Was the convoy a national security threat?
The Emergency Act was intended as a more restrained emergency law than the War Measures Act it replaced. As part of that, there are strict criteria for the situations in which that power can be used.
Prime Minister Trudeau is expected to face wide-ranging questions about whether the “Freedom Convoy” meets its standards.
To be considered an immoral emergency, it must meet the definition of a “threat to the security of Canada” as outlined in the Canadian Security Intelligence Services Act, a law that regulates the powers of Canada’s intelligence agencies.
There are four possible scenarios that meet the definition of a “threat to Canadian security” under the Act. “Legitimate” protests are not covered.
- Espionage or sabotage of Canada or conduct detrimental to national interests
- Foreign-influenced activities in or relating to Canada that are detrimental to national interests, are secret or deceptive, or are threatening people
- Activities in or relating to Canada that threaten, direct or use acts of serious violence against persons or property to achieve political, ideological or religious purposes in Canada or abroad
- Activities directed to the undermining, by covert tort, or the violent destruction or overthrow of the constitutionally established government system of Canada, or activities intended to ultimately bring about the same.
In a presidential decree in February, the government formally laid out the basis for invoking the emergency law. The government claimed the blockade was an emergency, and officials vowed to resist efforts to lift the blockade. ” was included in the plan to use ”.
Canada’s intelligence chief said the convoy did not qualify as a threat to national security as defined in the CSIS Act — but he said it “requires” activation of the broader — Prime Minister Trudeau is likely to be asked for more information. about how he considered those concerns.
Threats to Prime Minister during ‘Freedom Convoy’
Prime Minister Trudeau is also expected to be questioned about his personal safety during the demonstration.
Law enforcement agencies have determined that protesters Trying to find the prime minister when they take to the streets of Ottawaaccording to an assessment by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), presented in evidence during the Emergency Act investigation.
“Protesters may attempt to locate the Prime Minister based on open source information that publicly discloses his itineraries and locations,” the document said.
“It is possible that some individuals involved in the convoy could be present at the Prime Minister’s location, if it is a reasonable distance to travel, and it is possible if his location is made public.”
Emergency Act Investigation: What Happened So Far Before Final Week
As protesters arrived in large numbers, Trudeau and his family eventually moved to an undisclosed location for safety reasons.
Public Security Minister Marco Mendicino testified on Tuesday that he was “worried that the blockade would target the prime minister”.
He said there were “clear criminal threats” made “to the life and safety and security of identifiable public figures.”
Prime Minister Trudeau could be pressured about his experience with these threats, as well as asked in more detail about what steps were taken in response to the risks.
Possibility of politicization
It remains to be seen how political tensions will escalate on Friday.
The first half of the witness appearances are assigned to the commission’s attorneys, and the second half is open to parties entitled to participate in the investigation, as a group that includes state governments, advocacy groups, and protest organizers.
Commissioner Paul Rouleau has frequently reminded parties to maintain civility during the investigation. So far, one observer and one lawyer have been kicked out of the room, but their grievances are generally directed at the hearing itself rather than at any particular witness.
Nonetheless, the survey sent a reminder to everyone planning to attend Friday’s minutes in person.
“Commissioner Rouleaux expects all participants to maintain the courtesy of the hearings and that the conduct of everyone at the hearings will always be respectful,” he said.
— Using files from The Canadian Press