An Emergencies Act inquiry, for no emergency

Looking back at the past two and a half weeks of the Emergencies Act inquiry, Justin Trudeau’s cabinet must be looking hard to find the one thing missing from the process: The emergency.

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I believe anyone who supported the Freedom Convoy would pay to be a fly on a wall inside a Liberal cabinet meeting right now. 

On February 14, 2022, which is also Valentine's Day, Justin Trudeau made the decision to invoke a never-seen-before anti-terrorism law, known as the successor to the War Measures Act, on thousands of protesters gathered in Ottawa peacefully protesting federal COVID-19 mandates.

It was The Emergencies Act.

It euthanized four weeks of peaceful protests. Two elderly protesters were trampled by horses, and journalists from Rebel News and True North were pepper sprayed and shot. Protesters were beaten up by officers’ rifles. 

It was a dark moment in the history of the country, and for what reason, exactly?

The Emergencies Act inquiry has shown that no incidents of violence were recorded, other than through hearsay. It shows that the Emergency Measures Act was “helpful, but not necessary,” in the dismantling of the protest, according to the own words of the witnesses that opposed the convoy.

In fact, the only concrete evidence of violence came from the side of the counter-protesters, of the residents opposing the convoy.

During the first day of the inquiry, Ottawa resident Zexi Li testified that she supported the residents who threw eggs at protesters. A police report reportedly came out of the incident.

Then came Catherine McKenney, failed Ottawa mayoral candidate, who claimed to have seen the violence that took place in Ottawa during the convoy, while having been able to freely walk between trucks, and not being attacked a single time, all despite openly insulting and criticizing the truckers to their face.

McKenney claimed citizens were traumatized, and suffered from weeks of violence while being unable to provide solid proof for such a thing.

Alongside McKenney stood city councilor Mathieu Fleury, who kept talking about microaggressions, which is, according to him, a valid reason to invoke the act.

When microaggressions are the most disturbing occurrences citizens must go through, I highly doubt that protesters deserve to have their civil liberties taken away through an anti-terrorism law.

However, violence was still discussed through the two and a half weeks, usually being brought up by the Freedom Convoy lawyers. Other lawyers preferred to discuss the responsibilities of OPP and OPS officers, or micro-aggressions. 

But what are the main takeaways from the inquiry up to now? For starters, “helpful but not necessary.” Superintendent Bernier from the Ottawa Police Services stated so. Multiple other witnesses also echoed the sentiment. And for it to be invoked, the Emergencies Act must be necessary, otherwise, it is unjustified. 

Then, the chaos was flagrant within the Ottawa Police Services, and between the OPS and the OPP. The Ottawa Police were disorganized and refused to fully analyze the intel they received from the OPP, notably the Hendon Report. 

The change of leadership from Peter Sloly to Steve Bell also definitely played a role in the disorganization of the OPS. The change in commanders also seemingly had the same effect.

The Trudeau government, alongside the City of Ottawa, vilified the protesters unjustifiably and based their false assumption on mainstream media reports that were then found to contain false information.

Jim Watson himself affirmed, when testifying, after claiming protesters had been violent and grabbed masks away from citizens, that he was basing his statement on media reports. He stated he hasn’t witnessed any violence himself.

According to the evidence, I believe it is more than fair to say that the Freedom Convoy does not deserve an anti-terrorism law that trampled the rights of peaceful protesters. 

And this is what the Emergencies Act inquiry is currently showing. Justin Trudeau must be shaking in his boots at the moment.

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