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State of Emergency Commission | Trudeau felt that Ontario did not need new powers



(Ottawa) Four days before recourse to the Emergency Measures Act, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has told his Ontario counterpart, Doug Ford, that he does not need additional legal tools to end the blockade of the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor. The report of a telephone conversation between them suggests a strong sense of urgency to end this blockage.

Chasing the demonstrators who blocked the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor had quickly become a priority for the authorities given its economic importance. “I’m going to be in their ass with a wire brush,” replied the Ontario Premier to Justin Trudeau who pressed him with questions about the plan of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP). The report of their discussion held on February 9 was entered into evidence at the Commission on the state of emergency on Tuesday.

A convoy of three-kilometre-long trucks had been blocking the bridge that connects the Ontario city of Windsor to that of Detroit in the United States for three days. It is a critical infrastructure for trade between the two countries, particularly for the North American automotive industry. Overwhelmed by the scale of the events, the local police had asked for help from the OPP.

“It’s costing us 500-600 million in trade and we’ll hit 3.1 billion tomorrow,” Ford said. He then seeks legal means to give “more tools” to the police because they are “a bit shy”. “I can’t give them orders,” he said repeatedly.

“You shouldn’t need any other tools – legal tools,” Justin Trudeau countered. They are shutting down Ontario’s economy and causing millions of dollars in damage daily and harming the lives of others. »

Four days later, the federal government resorted to Emergency Measures Act for the first time since it was passed in 1988. The economic impact of closing the Ambassador Bridge was repeatedly cited as a justification even though a police operation ended the blockade before the new powers granted with this legislation such as requisitioning tow trucks.


Dana Earley, OPP Superintendent of Police Operation

Mr. Trudeau then questions the intelligence of the protesters who “are hurting the economy and bringing jobs back to the United States”. The same day, Elissa Slotkin, an elected Democrat from Michigan published a series of tweets on Twitter to demand the return of manufacturing companies to the United States. The White House had also indicated that it was “closely monitoring” the situation at the Ambassador Bridge, through which 25% of cross-border trade transacts.

Later in the conversation, Justin Trudeau asks Doug Ford if he has any idea of ​​the OPP’s plan to drive out the protesters. “They can’t discuss it for three weeks, they have to act immediately,” said the Prime Minister of Canada.

OPP Superintendent of Police Operations Dana Earley testified Tuesday that the Windsor situation was a priority. She claimed to have experienced no political interference in the course of her assignment. The police ended up freeing the trucks on the night of February 13 to 14, before the federal government resorted to Emergency Measures Act the same day.

The “Freedom Convoy” was still paralyzing the streets of downtown Ottawa for nearly three weeks. During his meeting with Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister Ford then seemed to pay little attention to the situation in the federal capital, accusing in passing the former Ottawa police chief, Peter Sloly, and Mayor Jim Watson of having “mismanaged” it. He says Mr. Sloly has lost control of his troops.

Paul Leschied, a protester who participated in the blocking of the Ambassador Bridge admitted on Tuesday that it was a “strategic place” and that the Canadian economy would be affected. “It’s definitely a place to get attention to be heard,” he said during his testimony.

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. His hearings continue until November 25.

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