What the police told the Public Order Emergency Inquiry is not what Mendicino told Parliament
Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino told Parliament a dozen times that police asked for the Emergencies Act to be declared. This is not what police forces told the Public Order Emergency Commission. Photo: YouTube
Cabinet ministers pulled the trigger before talking to the cops
Public Safety Minister @marcomendicino‘s office is now claiming he was misunderstood when he said police advised the Liberal government to use the Emergencies Act— Cosmin Dzsurdzsa ?? (@cosminDZS) June 8, 2022
Here’s a clip of him saying exactly that about a dozen times in the House of Commons
What’s there to misunderstand? pic.twitter.com/Taf71NEC8v
In the above video you will hear Marco Mendicino, Canada’s minister of public safety, repeatedly claim that the Emergencies Act was invoked in February 2022 on the advice of the police. But that’s not what the OPP – which stands for the Ontario Provincial Police – said in its Closing Submission to the Emergencies Act inquiry.
In Canada’s most populous province, the OPP has jurisdiction over major highways and enforces the law in smaller communities that don’t have their own police force. OPP personnel escorted the Western arm of the Freedom Convoy from the moment it crossed the Manitoba/Ontario border until it arrived in Ottawa. Afterward, the OPP assisted Ottawa police, and helped Windsor police shut down another protest on a bridge connecting Canada and the US.
In black and white, here’s what Ontario’s police force says:
The OPP did not ask for the Emergencies Act to be invoked and did not ask the RCMP or federal government for any particular authorities or tools. The blockade of the Ambassador Bridge was cleared prior to the invocation of the Emergencies Act… [bold added, page 22]
The OPP says the federal government didn’t ask for advice.
“Turns out, this advice was wholly imaginary. It never happened. It’s total fantasy.”
Other than an email between [RCMP/Royal Canadian Mounted Police] Commissioner Lucki and Minister Mendocino’s Chief of Staff Mike Jones, there is no record of consultation with law enforcement. [bold added, page 30]
So how do we explain Minister Mendicino uttering a long list of statements to the contrary in the video compilation above? Here are his precise words:
- “after we received advice from law enforcement”
- “the advice we received was to invoke the Emergencies Act”
- “Look, I don’t want to speak for every last serving member of law enforcement, but there was a very strong consensus that we needed to invoke the Act”
- “We invoked the Act because it was the advice of non-partisan, professional law enforcement”
- “The advice that we were getting was that law enforcement needed the Emergencies Act”
- “It was only after we got advice from law enforcement that we invoked the Emergencies Act”
- “And that advice came from very experienced law enforcement”
- “We had to invoke the Emergencies Act and we did so on the basis of non-partisan, professional advice from law enforcement”
- “And that was the advice that we were receiving from law enforcement and one of the main reasons why we invoked the Emergencies Act”
- “We got the advice from our law enforcement that we met the threshold”
- “They then came to their judgement, as you say, and thereafter we came to ours on the basis of the advice that we were getting from law enforcement”
Turns out, this advice was wholly imaginary. It never happened. It’s total fantasy. In actual fact, cabinet ministers apparently felt no need to have a serious conversation with law enforcement before pulling the trigger.
This is the current state of politics in Canada. Minister Mendicino, a lawyer and law school professor, misled Canadians again and again. He tried to pass the buck. He tried to blame the police for a political decision, a decision made in the absence of police input.
Has he paid any price? Faced any consequences? To this day, he remains a cabinet minister. Accountability is apparently just another fantasy.
The OPP says “consultation with law enforcement” should be a mandated part of the process before this Act is ever used again.
Donna Laframboise writes a daily blog at ThankYouTruckers.substack.com. It is a first draft of her upcoming book that focuses on interviews with Freedom Convoy truckers. She is a former National Post and Toronto Star columnist, and a former Vice President of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.