Emergencies Act inquiry: First witnesses to include residents, city officials



The Ottawa girl who filed for a courtroom injunction to cease truckers from regularly honking their horns in the course of the “Freedom Convoy” in February is among the many first witnesses at a public inquiry exploring the federal government’s use of the Emergencies Act.

Zexi Li launched a class-action lawsuit in opposition to organizers of the convoy on Feb. 3, and an Ontario courtroom granted her an injunction 4 days later to cease the horn-honking.

Every week later, on Feb. 14, the federal Liberals invoked the Emergencies Act for the primary time as protesters opposed to COVID-19 vaccine mandates and lockdowns blockaded border crossings and occupied downtown Ottawa streets.

Invoking the regulation briefly granted police extraordinary powers and allowed banks to freeze accounts, which the federal government argues was vital to ending the protests.

Li will testify earlier than the Public Order Emergency Commission Friday because it begins analyzing the impact of the protests on Ottawa residents in addition to the communications between city councillors, police and different authorities officials.

Catherine McKenney, who’s at present working for mayor of Ottawa, will probably be joined by fellow city councillor Mathieu Fleury as witnesses Friday. Both have been representing wards considerably affected by the convoy.

Fleury stated forward of his testimony that he was part of each day calls with officials in the course of the convoy, and was typically “quite disappointed with the lack of plan and lack of information that was shared with us.”

“There wasn’t much more information than what was provided to the public,” he stated.

He additionally stated he confronted threats, together with an incident the place individuals in pickup vans got here to his house and shouted at him.

“Ultimately, we just moved out and reported the incident,” he stated, including that he has a younger household.

The fee is tasked with analyzing the evolution and objectives of the protests, the impact of misinformation and disinformation on the convoy, and the efforts of police earlier than and after the emergency declaration.

Ottawa city supervisor Steve Kanellakos’s testimony is predicted to include particulars concerning the function he performed in attempting to negotiate an finish to the protests.

Kanellakos met with a number of the convoy organizers in early February in a then-secret assembly.

A couple of days afterward Feb. 12, Tamara Lich, one of many protest leaders, and Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson exchanged letters discussing an settlement that might see the truckers transfer their automobiles exterior of residential areas.

But convoy organizers weren’t on the identical web page about placing a deal, and a few high-profile protesters stated that they had no plans to go away.

During the primary day of the fee’s hearings Thursday, a lawyer representing Ottawa police stated that they had little time to put together for the protests, and couldn’t have predicted the impacts it had on the city.

David Migicovsky, authorized counsel for the Ottawa Police Service, stated Thursday there have been well-established processes in place to cope with protesters, however they did not work in the course of the “Freedom Convoy.”

He stated not one of the intelligence stories predicted the “level of community violence and social trauma that was inflicted on the city and its residents.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first revealed Oct. 14, 2022.


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