by Leila Mechoui
Monday, 7
November 2022
Reaction
07:00

Report into Canada’s Freedom Convoy finds no violence after all

The inquiry has not justified invoking the Emergencies Act
by Leila Mechoui
Credit: Getty

It has been over eight months since the end of the Freedom Convoy in Ottawa, events which resulted in Justin Trudeau’s government invoking Canada’s Emergencies Act, the closest legislation the country has to martial law. Following the invocation, freedom of movement and association were actively repressed within the protest area and effectively suspended across the nation. With a combination of coercion, threats and physical violence, the protestors were cleared from the scene. Trudeau then revoked the use of the Emergencies Act on February 23, 2022.

But the story didn’t end there.

As part of the Emergencies Act, it is required of the government to call an inquiry into the decision to use the legislation within 60 days of its revocation. After many delays, the inquiry finally commenced on October 23, 2022. So far, it has not painted the government in a good light.

For days Canadians were told by the Trudeau government, the media and a mass of other political commentators that the Freedom Convoy were, as a group, racist, violent and spreading “misinformation”. This was the reason why, we were told, they needed to be removed by any means necessary.

So far, the inquiry has revealed this “literal” violence was nowhere to be found. For example, the Ottawa Police Chief Steve Bell has admitted that there was no actual violence according to the technical definition in the Criminal Code of Canada. Instead, the atmosphere only “felt” violent due to the truckers using their horns.

An Ottawa City Council member, Catherine McKenney, publicly petitioned the Prime Minister to take steps against the Convoy. And yet, when questioned, it turns out that she neither witnessed nor experienced any violence at the hands of the protestors. The “terror” she experienced was due to uncorroborated second-hand accounts only. Hearsay isn’t admissible in court, but it seems to have been enough to warrant martial law.

It might seem that there was some massaging of the facts to create a narrative conducive to invoking the Emergencies Act. The inquiry proves this to have been the case. Texts between Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino’s team and Trudeau’s offices show staffers planning to “get in on this growing narrative of the truckers” and focus on the more extreme fringe participants in the Convoy in media appearances. 

The worst part of this story is yet to come: no repercussions will befall the Trudeau government for invoking martial law on false pretences. Whereas far less serious scandals routinely cause British prime ministers to resign, Canadian leaders can apparently get away with lies of a different magnitude. The executive branches throughout the liberal democratic world have become increasingly insulated from their parliamentary counterparts. There is no better example of this than in Canada, where political scientists have described the functioning of the executive as a sort of “court government”.

Decisions of all kinds are taken by the Prime Minister and his chosen close advisors, with minimal, if any, input, from the cabinet as a group. This has profoundly troubling implications for Canadian democracy, and yet we are willing to give this government a pass because it espouses otherwise liberal platitudes. Beneath Trudeau’s apparent embrace of freedom lies a deeply authoritarian core.

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R Wright
R Wright
29 days ago

Canadians should feel embarrassed.

Vaughn C
Vaughn C
29 days ago
Reply to  R Wright

Screw that Amber Crombie and Fitch little B&tch! Canadiens, get RID of Trudeau.

Justin Clark
Justin Clark
29 days ago
Reply to  Vaughn C

they only just voted him back in … that’s the bit I just don’t get!

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
29 days ago
Reply to  R Wright

I am just embarrassed that so many of my fellow Canadians supported this. I think as more and more negative information about the vaccine side effects and the mandates leaks into the mainstream media they are starting to realize they were wrong to side with Trudeau.

Phil Gurski
Phil Gurski
29 days ago

My op-ed piece in which I made the same arguments has led to personal attacks on my 32-years in Canadian intelligence and personal insults. Gurski: So far, nothing supports using the Emergencies Act last winter | Ottawa Citizen

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
29 days ago
Reply to  Phil Gurski

I read the comments your piece received. Most commentators remain convinced that a far-right coup was about to take over the government and the EA was totally justified. I do wonder if they would feel the same way about the EA if it was used to quell a BLM riot or would they be rightly denouncing it as government overreach.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
29 days ago
Reply to  Phil Gurski

Good for you that you did something about it! And accolades to the Ottawa Citizen for publishing your opinion. (not sure if it is a typical left wing rag)

Marcie Neville
Marcie Neville
29 days ago

Great article and as a Canadian just further confirmation of deep trouble here in Canada. Trudeau was elected at somewhere between 20 and 30% of the population. He governs for his voters and those that don’t vote for him he leaves behind. We fervently hope to get rid of him as soon as possible but 3 cities can keep him in power indefinitely to the detriment of us all.

Last edited 29 days ago by Marcie Neville
Arkadian X
Arkadian X
29 days ago

“Whereas far less serious scandals routinely cause British prime ministers to resign, Canadian leaders can apparently get away with lies of a different magnitude. ”

Is Canada the new Scotland? (Or should it be the other way around, perhaps… They seem to worthy of each other, for sure )

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
29 days ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

Canada is a white Africa

chris Barton
chris Barton
29 days ago

It was a genuine challenge to the C ovid Police state that they demonised from day one. A lot forget just how dark and grim it was when they took their stand now the Rona state has backed off a bit.

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
29 days ago

Canadians seem to LIKE tyranny. They vote for it repeatedly.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
29 days ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

Justin Trudeau, a petty poseur has supporters and together they have taken over Canada. Why is this still happening? Who gains? Not the public it appears.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
29 days ago
Reply to  Hardee Hodges

They don’t seem to care as long as they continue to get their “free” health care, which they wait months for.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
29 days ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

Well – Ontario and Quebec do – and that is all you need to win Federal election.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
29 days ago

Why are we not shocked about this? Duh!
The most salient point to learn is that we do not have a media anymore. The old media would have done reporting to reveal that there was no violence being committed, informing the public of what was really taking place. Today, they only report what is really taking place in their minds.

Last edited 29 days ago by Warren T
Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
29 days ago

The irony is that Trudeau’s minority government is propped up by a ‘socialist’ NDP party who supported this attack on working people protesting an unjust law. The progressive left is morally bankrupt.

AC Harper
AC Harper
29 days ago

Was using the Emergencies Act a fearful over reaction or perhaps a reaction driven by embarrassment and spite? Either way the Canadian government doesn’t inspire confidence.
There’s a theory (Cliodynamics) that elites come and go with a period of chaos and confusion between the old elite and the new elite. I think embarrassment and spite of the old elite is more likely.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
29 days ago
Reply to  AC Harper

A more conspiratorial view would be that the global elite suddenly realized that an uprising of the little people was bad for their plans and had to make a show of force. I think overall this showed that the people can take back the government if they are provoked. It became clear that protesters could easily close every border crossing, highway and bridge in Canada if they chose to do so.

Michael Miles
Michael Miles
29 days ago

If you have been watching the inquiry, it’s quite evident that all levels of government were justifying their actions by inflating hearsay. The MSM played a big role in this. Their frustration at the lack of a way to dislodge the protest due to its physical size and significant public support (financial and moral) was evident. It may have been a minority that protested but it certainly wasn’t “fringe”.

That the charter rights of all Canadians were trampled upon by all levels of government to suppress a supposedly deadly virus was becoming, by then , two years later, a tired rationale. It is quite curious that immediately after the convoy, that most, if not all, provinces dropped mandates and passports. Most of the world had already done so. The federal government maintained them until June 22.

So just like the the reaction to the virus itself, the government’s hyperbolic response to the convoy was to invoke the emergency act and portray the truckers as, if not “granny killers”, then “insurrectionists”.

Unfortunately, with a government appointed commissioner of known liberal party connections, a fully funded government commission staff, lack of MSM balanced reporting and public apathy, the commission’s report will be put on a shelf for historians to read. It will still be “ sunny days” for Justinian. Well maybe partly cloudy.

Last edited 29 days ago by Michael Miles
O Thomas
O Thomas
29 days ago

Yes, it’s certain that there will be no accountability for this, not even disgrace. An authoritarian clampdown justified by a raft of lies. And to accuse the truckers of spreading misinformation– maybe the right wing doesn’t have the monopoly on post-truth politics that is so often suggested.

Compare and contrast the response to the Canadian protesters with their volunteers, food kitchens, portaloos, saunas, hairdressers, security and massage therapists to that of the truly mid-pandemic protests in the US. But the horns, the violence of the horns!

Rick Lawrence
Rick Lawrence
24 days ago
Reply to  O Thomas

Well perhaps there will be accountability at the ballot box. This particular event just adds to a growing list of reasons why I will not be voting Liberal at the next election.

Edwin Blake
Edwin Blake
28 days ago

I see Trudeau is now claiming the Chinese are undermining Canadian democracy. The irony. The self satisfied lack of awareness. Or perhaps merely trying to distract attention?

Roger Inkpen
Roger Inkpen
29 days ago

Meanwhile here in the UK protestors gridlock cities by gluing themselves to trains and buses, chaining themselves together to block streets and major arteries, and playing high jinks climbing up bridges and motorway gantries. But they aren’t making a lot of noise so we’ll just give them a slap on the wrist!

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
24 days ago

We have entered a period of soft, bureaucratic despotism. It’s tyranny in slip-on loafers instead of jackboots.

Paula G
Paula G
28 days ago

Sounds like a done deal then. The Executive acts as its own court. Okay then.
Or, Parliament should see what laws they can affect against Executive overrun. If none, they should civilly disobey and cease their function. Except of course, they probably think their dictator supports the policies dear to their heart.
The Middle Classes think all they have to do is keep their noses clean and act like Canada is all that it ever was…surely it does not help them to doubt their pretty dictator.

Mark Kennedy
Mark Kennedy
24 days ago

Is anyone else sick of the utter transparency of the ‘misinformation’ dodge? We say someone is misinformed as a convenient shorthand for saying the information he’s been given is inaccurate or incomplete; but it doesn’t follow from this use of the ‘mis’ prefix that there’s such a thing as misinformation. Everything that impinges on our consciousness qualifies as information, whatever its accuracy, truth value or utility. Calling something ‘information’ doesn’t commit us to any claim about that something’s status as true or false, wise or foolish, helpful or unhelpful. Such status can only be established through patient evaluation of relevant evidence. In stark contrast, labeling something ‘misinformation’ is a deliberate attempt to prevent this kind of investigation from taking place.

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
23 days ago

Canadians seems to LIKE authoritarianism. Makes them feels safe and snuggly, I guess. Or something.

Chris Warfe
Chris Warfe
24 days ago

Anyone believing any part of this article should be embarrassed.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
29 days ago

These pages are full of people fulminating about a few oil protestor clowns messing up people’s days.
But when it comes out a bunch of trucker dupes
/ https://www.trucknews.com/blogs/the-so-called-freedom-convoy-was-never-about-truckers-or-border-mandates/
doing the same messing about, nothing but simpering excuses here.
The truckers are a bunch of dupes, indulging a taste for look-at-me melodrama: 
https://ayenaw.com/2021/10/23/tyranny-tourism
Those freedom-loving boys want to fight tyranny? Off with them to Ukraine and put their money where their big mouths are.
Fat, and chance.

Darlene Craig
Darlene Craig
29 days ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

But now we’re talking about whether the emergencies act was warranted. There is no evidence that it was. If we are willing to accept non-sensical restrictions and government over reach – how far will it go?

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
29 days ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

What on Earth do Canadian truckers – or anyone else in the West – have to do with a civil war more than half a world away? Tyrannies exist all over the globe: fighting our own is our job.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
29 days ago

It appears that Frank unglues himself/herself from CNN and MSNBC for an hour a day to rant on this platform.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
24 days ago

Exactly. There seems to be total complacency in Canada despite all our charter rights being repeatedly violated during Covid. There doesn’t appear to be any recourse. When you finally get your case to trial 2 years later the courts won’t hear it because it is now moot. The real failure is the mainstream media who used to hold politicians accountable – now they cheer them on if the goal is a progressive one.