(OTTAWA) The lawyer for the organizers of the “freedom convoy”, Brendan Miller, was expelled from the room where the Commission on the state of emergency is being held after questioning the authority of Judge Paul Rouleau. He was outraged that the judge had yet to rule on redacted government documents.
The judge asked security to come and escort him back from a late morning break, but the lawyer ended up leaving the room on his own. The Minister of Public Security, Marco Mendicino, was then to continue his testimony.
A spat had taken place between Me Miller and Judge Rouleau just before the break. The lawyer made an oral request to have Minister Mendicino’s press secretary, Alex Cohen, testify immediately after his boss.
He believes that the latter wanted to portray the demonstrators as extremists who waved Nazi flags in the media, based on text messages already presented in evidence to the commission. The judge refused to hear his oral request, recommended that he agree with the commission’s attorneys to make his request in writing and reminded him that he had a tight schedule to respect. “Sir, the schedule is not as important as getting the truth,” exclaimed Mr.e Miller.
“There is no doubt that we want to get the truth, replied the judge of the tac au tac. It’s a very complex question and it’s not just about what you want. It’s about what the commission has to do. »
The lawyer returned to the charge after the break and accused the magistrate of having refused to rule on several of his requests to remove the redaction of certain documents. Judge Rouleau then decided to expel him. He later indicated that his decision on the redacted documents must be rendered in the afternoon.
A “national scope”
Earlier in the morning, Minister Mendicino described the “freedom convoy” as a “movement that, in some cases, was ready to attack our democratic institutions to force a change of policies”. He cited as an example the words of Pat King, one of the leading figures of the demonstration in Ottawa, that it was going to “end with bullets”.
He was concerned about the inability of the Ottawa police to enforce the law “around critical infrastructure” such as Parliament and other federal institutions. The encampment near the ballpark worried him because some of the protesters there had served in the military.
“It was an unlawful nationwide protest that occurred at critical infrastructure like border crossings, legislatures and here at the seat of the federal government,” he said. Law enforcement was quickly overwhelmed, he said, and it became impossible for them to use tools like the Criminal Code, the Highway Traffic Act or even tow trucks to remove the trucks.
Minister admits never seeing Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Commissioner Brenda Lucki’s email saying police did not use all tools already at their disposal to shut down truck convoys in Ottawa and across the country as the government prepared to use the Emergency Measures Act. He also said that this information was not presented to Cabinet at the meeting where the decision was made.
“If you had known, would it have changed your mind?” asked the commission’s co-chief prosecutor, Shantona Chaudhury.
“I don’t believe at that time,” replied the minister. Commissioner Lucki had just given him information that there was a cell “of individuals armed to the teeth with the will to fall for the cause”. A conversation he described as a “pivotal moment”.