Government officials — including the heads of Canada’s spy agency and the RCMP — will take questions Tuesday evening about the circumstances that led the Liberal government to trigger never-before-used emergency powers to quell protests in Ottawa earlier this year.
The federal government invoked the Emergencies Act in February during the Freedom Convoy, giving it temporary powers to deal with the blockades and protests against pandemic restrictions.
Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino, Canadian Security Intelligence Service Director David Vigneault, RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki and Ted Gallivan, executive vice-president of the Canada Border Services Agency, are scheduled to appear in front of a special joint committee of MPs and senators reviewing the use of the Emergencies Act starting at 6:30 p.m. ET.
Attorney General David Lametti and Department of Justice officials will take questions afterward.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau argued at the time that it was necessary to invoke the Emergencies Act to address “serious challenges to law enforcement’s ability to effectively enforce the law.”
“This is about keeping Canadians safe, protecting people’s jobs and restoring confidence in our institutions,” he said back in mid-February.
The unprecedented deployment of the Emergencies Act authorized a ban on travel to protest zones and prohibited people from bringing minors to unlawful assemblies. It also enabled the RCMP to enforce municipal bylaws and provincial offences where required.
Separate inquiry officially launched
Tuesday’s committee is separate from the inquiry announced Monday into the use of the Emergencies Act.
Trudeau named former Ontario Superior Court justice Paul Rouleau to lead that independent public inquiry — the Public Order Emergency Commission — as it looks into into the events that led to the Emergencies Act being invoked and makes recommendations “to prevent these events from happening again,” said a government release.
The Opposition Conservatives argue that inquiry is overly focused on the actions of protesters and the role played by fundraising and disinformation in the event.
“The Liberal government is doing everything in their power to ensure this inquiry is unsubstantial and fails to hold them accountable,” said a joint statement from Conservative MPs Raquel Dancho, Dane Lloyd and Gérard Deltell on Monday.
By law, an inquiry into the use of the act must be called within 60 days of the declaration being revoked.