Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre issued a follow-up to Justin Trudeau's response to the POEC report Friday afternoon, calling Canada's leader "divisive."
"The prime minister seeks to divide and distract," claimed Poilievre. "He thinks if you are afraid of your neighbour, you'll forget you can't pay your rent."
"If you're afraid of a trucker, you might forget that you're hungry and take your eye off the guy who caused the problem in the first place," he continued.
Poilievre referenced Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland calling COVID a "political opportunity" and her predecessor Bill Morneau denouncing Trudeau for making vaccinations a wedge issue as causes for concern.
He ultimately condemned the Trudeau Liberals for undermining the trust of Canadians in their public institutions.
In his findings, POEC Commissioner Paul Rouleau acknowledged that the convoy protests were rooted in a "loss of faith in government" and "economic hardship" caused by the government's COVID response.
Poilievre referenced Friday's POEC report, stating the federal government's COVID response contributed to the length and intensity of the Freedom Convoy protests.
"A lot of people were so helpless and desperate that they decided to participate in a protest in Ottawa," he said. "This was an emergency Justin Trudeau created by dividing his population and driving up the cost of living by making it impossible for people to pay their bills and live in peace."
Poilievre accused the prime minister of causing the emergency that unfolded and "pouring more fuel on the fire by using nasty insults and jabbing his finger in the face of his citizens."
Trudeau said that invoking the Emergencies Act was a "measure of last resort" but "necessary" to counter the risk of people "losing faith in the rule of law."
"Responsible leadership required us to restore peace and order," he said.
But Poilievre claimed, "Everything is broken in Canada," and said we could fix it by "bringing people together" if he is elected prime minister.
Poilievre committed to listening to the concerns of Canadians and reversing the policies that caused their suffering.
"Instead of divide-and-conquer, we will unite for hope in this country."
A CBC reporter later asked if the Opposition leader would revoke his support for the Freedom Convoy in light of Friday's findings into the events of last February.
Poilievre cited the report in response, stating "government leaders should have made more of an effort at all levels" and that "a majority of the protestors were exercising their fundamental democratic rights."
When asked if invoking the Emergencies Act was a failure of federalism, Trudeau earlier responded that invoking the Act was "undesirable" but cited Commissioner Paul Rouleau had concluded the feds met the "high bar" in its implementation.
"Throughout the process, we saw that there were times when the provinces could have done things differently and could have cooperated better with the federal government," said Trudeau, admitting that the feds could have been better partners in federation with the provinces too."
Poilievre also referenced his past remarks about condemning anyone who "misbehaves, breaks laws, or blockades critical infrastructure" during the convoy protests.
But Poilievre ultimately supported the peaceful demonstrations and said, "many desperately tried to have their voices heard against an insulting and divisive prime minister."
In a moment of clarity, the prime minister expressed regret Friday in labelling most convoy protesters as a "fringe minority."
"The only reason we had this emergency was that Justin Trudeau wanted to have it happen," added Poileivre.
Though Rouleau said that the proliferation of "peaceful demonstrations" surprised him, the documents released on the POEC report found the invoking of the Emergencies Act as "appropriate" and "effective."
He ascertained that the feds had "reasonable grounds" to necessitate the taking of "special temporary measures," citing "threats to national security."
Jonathan Bradley of the Western Standard asked the Conservative leader about Trudeau's role in alienating western Canadians.
"He hasn't played a role; he is the division," responded Poilievre. "His purpose is to divide and conquer."
"He believes that if he can turn Canadians against one another, they will forget how miserable it has become under eight years of his tax hikes, inflation, and out-of-control cost of living."
"With cost, crime, and corruption raging, it's no wonder he wants the attention off him ... so you can expect him to continue to divide people on race, region, vaccine status, and any other fault line he can invent," concluded Poilievre.