There is only one week left until the inquiry is over!
The inquiry, let’s remember, is taking place because back in February, Justin Trudeau invoked a never-before-used anti-terrorism law on the peaceful protesters who were part of the Freedom Convoy, a movement that protested government overreach and the federal COVID-19 mandates.
Now on November 18, we heard from four witnesses in total. We heard from the Deputy Secretary of Emergency Preparedness and COVID Recovery Jacqueline Bogden, Senior Advisor of Emergency Preparedness Jeff Hutchinson, Clerk of the Privy Council Janice Charrette, and Nathalie Drouin, the Deputy Minister of the Department of Justice.
Bogden and Hutchinson both testified together on the first panel of the day while Charrette testified alongside Drouin later on in the afternoon.
Alan Honner, from The Democracy Fund, was the first lawyer to cross-examine the witnesses, and he was then followed by Brendan Miller, the counsel for Freedom Corp, the organization that represents key leaders of the Freedom Convoy. Both pressed the witnesses very well on different topics, and the witnesses did not appear super keen to answer every question.
The counsel for the Government of Saskatchewan then cross-examined the witnesses as well, and it was also fairly interesting. We learned during this cross-examination that the government allegedly only began discussing the use of the Emergencies Act a few days prior to its invocation. Following their testimonies, Natalie Drouin and Janice Charrette took the stand and began testifying.
Afterwards, Brendan Miller, lawyer for the convoy, was the first lawyer to cross-examine these witnesses.
He focused primarily on Natalie Drouin, the Deputy Minister of the Department of Justice. They had some very interesting exchanges, especially regarding Section 2 of the CSIS Act, as to whether or not the threshold for a national security threat was met during the convoy.
These two witnesses were also some of the ONLY ones through the whole inquiry, that actually said the Freedom Convoy was a national security emergency. “It was urgent, it was critical,” she said.
Finally, another interesting moment from their testimony arose during a tense exchange involving the counsel for the Canadian Constitution Foundation, while he was leading the cross-examination.
After the day ended, we invited Keith Wilson, a lawyer for the Freedom Convoy, to join us on our livestream to help analyze the events of the day. Wilson spoke with our editor-in-chief, Sheila Gunn Reid.