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Emergencies Act inquiry commissioner rejects convoy lawyer’s pitch to call witnesses on Nazi flag at protest

The commissioner main the Emergencies Act inquiry has dismissed an utility from the lawyer representing some organizers of the self-styled Freedom Convoy to compel witnesses to testify about who introduced Nazi and Confederate flags to the protests.

The Public Order Emergency Commission (POEC) launched the choice Wednesday. In it, Commissioner Paul Rouleau mentioned Freedom Corp. lawyer Brendan Miller had raised “severe allegations … with little basis in proof.”

Miller sought to have 4 further witnesses testify at the fee hearings, together with Brian Fox, a associate at the political consulting agency Enterprise Canada.

Miller alleged at the fee Monday — with out citing proof — that Fox had introduced a Nazi flag to the convoy protests in Ottawa earlier this 12 months to discredit the protesters.

Miller additionally alleged — once more with out proof — that Fox carried the flag at the route of presidency officers.

“In essence, Freedom Corp. alleges that, earlier than the convoy arrived in Ottawa, sure members of the ‘political govt’ and their workers determined to paint the protesters as racists and extremists,” Rouleau mentioned within the resolution.

“Freedom Corp. continues that, as soon as the protests in Ottawa started, the political govt and their workers furthered this labelling by pointing to images of Nazi and Confederate flags that had been circulating on-line.”

Miller additionally utilized to call others earlier than the fee to testify: David Chan, a contract photographer who took footage at the protest, Shawn Folkes — a person who says he spoke with Fox at the protest — and representatives of Enterprise Canada.

In his resolution dismissing the appliance, Rouleau mentioned Miller didn’t have enough proof for his allegations.

“Given the seriousness of the allegations, the fee would probably have to obtain proof from Enterprise Canada and people people focused by Freedom Corp.’s allegations,” Rouleau mentioned within the resolution. 

“This would represent a really important distraction from the fee’s core mandate. In gentle of the absence of some other factual help, it isn’t a prudent use of the fee’s remaining time to pursue Freedom Corp.’s principle.”

The fee is tasked with inspecting the federal government’s resolution to invoke the federal Emergencies Act. The authorities invoked the act to deliver anti-vaccine mandate protests to an finish — together with a large protest which occupied downtown Ottawa for weeks final winter.

Lawyer Brendan Miller speaks to the media after being kicked out of the Public Order Emergency Commission in Ottawa on Nov. 22, 2022. Miller made a number of allegations, with out proof, that racist flags seen at the self-styled Freedom Convoy protest in Ottawa weren’t brandished by legit protesters. (Blair Gable/Reuters)

“As troublesome as Freedom Corp.’s allegations could be, even when they’d been supported by compelling proof the very fact is that they might have little, if any, relevance to the important thing points that the Commission should decide,” Rouleau mentioned.

Miller additionally needed the Ottawa Police Service and the Ontario Provincial Police to present proof to the inquiry a few truck that was seen displaying the Confederate flag at the protest. Rouleau additionally dismissed that utility.

“The foundation for in search of this info is solely speculative … Having rigorously reviewed the  info offered by Freedom Corp., I conclude that that is, in essence, a fishing expedition,” Rouleau mentioned in his resolution.

Jason Lietaer, president of Enterprise Canada, advised CBC’s Power & Politics Tuesday that Fox was in Toronto at the time of the protest and that Fox had been receiving dying threats since Miller made his allegation.

This is the final week the fee will hear from witnesses. The fee is predicted to ship a closing report to Parliament by February 20, 2023.

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