(OTTAWA) The work of the Commission on the state of emergency was interrupted a few hours Wednesday after one of its lawyers suffered an illness. Gabriel Poliquin was then questioning the Deputy Solicitor General of Ontario, Mario Di Tommaso, when he suddenly collapsed. Paramedics were called to the scene and transported him to hospital. He was conscious when they arrived.
Work resumed at 3 p.m. with testimony from Ian Freeman, who was Assistant Deputy Minister of Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation during the “freedom convoy” that paralyzed downtown Ottawa for three weeks. last winter. The testimony of Mr. Di Tomaso is postponed.
These two senior officials are likely to shed new light on the Ontario government’s response to the crisis. Premier Doug Ford’s inaction on the situation in Ottawa was raised during Mayor Jim Watson’s testimony during the first days of the public inquiry. The Ontario premier had even refused to participate in a federal-provincial-municipal tripartite table. He then considered that it was a crisis that had to be managed by the police.
A record of a conversation between him and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau entered into evidence on Tuesday reveals that Mr. Ford was more concerned about the economic impact of the blocking of the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor.
The useless state of emergency in Alberta
The mayor of the agricultural village of Coutts, Alberta, Jim Willett, indicated during his testimony Wednesday morning that the Emergency Measures Act had been of little use in extricating the demonstrators blocking the passage to the Canada-US border.
A convoy of heavy trucks blocked the highway leading to the border crossing of this village from January 29 to February 15, a day after the federal government resorted to the Emergency Measures Act to put an end to the “freedom convoy” in Ottawa and the blockades of border crossings at several places in the country.
“My feeling is that the actions of the federal government had little to do with ending the lockdown,” said Mayor Willett. I believe it was due to the police operation, the fact that they discovered undesirable elements. »
“It was a raid with vehicles from the tactical squad,” he added. We had makeshift hospitals set up in the fire station, so it was very serious. »
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) made a major seizure of firearms stored in semi-trailers on February 14 and made 13 arrests. She had confiscated 13 long guns, handguns, several sets of bulletproof vests, a machete, a large quantity of ammunition as well as large capacity magazines.
The demonstrators who opposed the sanitary measures and the vaccination obligation for truckers subsequently began to evacuate the premises. The border was thus reopened to traffic the following day.
The Commission on the State of Emergency led by Franco-Ontarian judge Paul Rouleau must determine whether the historic recourse to the Emergency Measures Act by the federal government was justified in order to end the “freedom convoy” in Ottawa and the blockades of border crossings elsewhere in the country. The government had thus granted extraordinary powers to police forces and financial institutions.