The Public Order Emergency Commission hearings that are taking place in Ottawa have exposed Trudeau and his council in just two days. And, the people testifying about Trudeau’s Emergency Act are well-trained to lie to the countrymen.
In February, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau utilised previously untapped emergency powers to stop the “Freedom Convoy” protest, which had caused three weeks of gridlock in Canada’s capital. This attracted attention from across the world.
While most believe Trudeau’s use of federal powers to invoke the Emergency Act was unconstitutional and that there was no legal ground to do so. They believe that the Federal government exceeded their jurisdiction both constitutionally and legislatively. But, the Federals have a different story to tell.
Eyeing the public’s right to the justification of what exactly happened, the Public Order Emergency Commission is holding hearings. On Day 1 of the Public Order Emergency Commission hearings, lawyers representing various parties given standing by the Commission made their introductory remarks to Commissioner Paul Rouleau.
Rouleau gave his own opening remarks to start the day, detailing how public commissions operate and what the audience may expect to see over the next 15 days.
“Uncovering the truth is an important goal. When difficult events occur that affect the lives of Canadians, the public has a right to know what has happened,” Rouleau said.
Rouleau referred to the Commission’s investigation as a “fact-finding” procedure. But, the procedure seems to gradually expose Trudeau.
On Day 1 of the hearing, introductions began with the co-lead counsel representing the Government of Canada, Robert MacKinnon. “The evidence will show that the invocation of the Emergencies Act was a reasonable, and necessary decision given the escalating, volatile and urgent circumstances across the country,” MacKinnon said.
“The government witnesses will outline the deliberate, step-by-step process in which careful consideration was given to all the available options which led to the declaration of a public order emergency as a matter of last resort.”
In introducing their cases, lawyers representing the governments of Saskatchewan and Alberta made it clear that their governments disagreed with the federal government’s choice to use the Emergencies Act.
Brendan Miller, counsel to Freedom Corp., an organization representing the protesters in Ottawa slammed the government’s decision in his opening remarks. “There was no justification to invoke the Emergencies Act,” Miller said.
Sujit Choudhry, co-counsel for the Canadian Constitution Foundation, also took aim at the government’s decision, saying “the emergency proclamation severely restricts the rights to freedom of expression, assembly, and association.”
But, when the government witnesses testified, it raised several eyebrows. Can you believe it if we say, the witnesses themselves testified that they never personally heard, reported, videoed, or viewed any threats or acts of violence during the protests but swear it happened?
Zexi Li, a 22-year-old Ottawa resident and federal government employee testified that living in Ottawa during the Freedom Convoy was “something like living in ‘The Purge’,” making reference to the horror movie series in which the fictional United States enters a 12-hour state of lawlessness in which rape and murder are legal.
“I just remember feeling like it was such a surreal sight. It almost felt like you were in something like ‘The Purge’,” Li said. “Though I didn’t often see direct acts of violence, there was a certain chaos on the streets, and that feeling of chaos gradually increased as things progressed.”
Li’s words were questioned by Freedom Convoy attorney Brendan Miller during cross-examination.
“I would not claim that the protests or occupation presented a Purge-like chance,” Li retorted. She continued by claiming that there was potential for an event similar to the Purge and that those “illegally occupying our streets felt like they could do anything they wanted.”
When he spoke with Li, Li’s exchanges with the demonstrators, including one in which she allegedly used cuss words to truckers, were also discussed by Miller.
Prior to admitting that she had confronted the protesters by cursing at them, Li told Commission counsel that protesters targeted her when she “chose not to engage with them.”
“The worst thing was that when I chose not to engage with the protesters, they would blast their horns at me with a smile and then cheer in unison. They would take joy in my flinching and recoiling from the noise,” Li said.
But, what raises a question is that Zexi Li was out videotaping the truckers’ license plates. If so, why did she never catch the truck that tried to run her over or the truckers that mocked her with their excessive honking? Why hasn’t she recorded the intimidation on video? But, anyway, she is confident enough to say, “over three weeks of constant harassment?”
Two other witnesses of the day were Ottawa city councillors, Mathieu Fleury and Catherine McKenney.
Fleury described the protesters’ actions towards Ottawa residents as “microaggressions” and described the trucks involved in the protest as “weapons.”
“For us, having the physical truck on the street created a big weapon,” Fleury claimed.
“There were a number of microaggressions…particularly in residential communities.”
Ironically, when asked by Convoy lawyer Miller to define the word “microaggression,” Fleury refused to define the term in English despite using the term in English multiple times throughout his testimony.
Fleury claimed that as a francophone, he would only be able to describe the “nuance” of the word “microaggressions” in French. He then seemed to be avoiding answering the question.
McKenney, a mayoral candidate who prefers the pronouns they/them, was also unable to give any proof of specific acts of violence that had taken place during the protests and instead claimed to have only heard about them.
This goes against a public statement McKenney made during the protests, in which he claimed that citizens of Ottawa were experiencing “unprecedented violence” and had been “terrorised.”
Now, what draws questions about the government witnesses is- If they have not witnessed anything, then why are they even a part of the inquiry as eyewitnesses? Clearly, they are in a bid to safeguard Trudeau’s intentions behind invoking the act. Canadians are entitled to the right to justification. But, as always, the Trudeau government fails to provide this too.