What to expect when Trudeau testifies on the Emergencies Act on Friday

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to close a Public Order Emergency Commission hearing on Friday when he testifies about his decision to invoke the Emergency Act to quell the “Freedom Convoy” protests earlier this year .

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The hearing has been going on for weeks and has heard from dozens of witnesses as part of its duty to analyze Trudeau’s justification for enacting the controversial law earlier this year.

During the investigation, the commission heard from law enforcement, residents of the City of Ottawa, organizers of the “Freedom Convoy” protests, intelligence officials, and several politicians. The inquiry has become heated at times – both a bystander and a lawyer were, in separate cases, booted from the room.

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The testimony to date comes as the prime minister, who announced the decision to invoke the Emergency Situations Act on February 14, will face questions about his decision on Friday.

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Here’s what you can expect.

A key moment in the inquest to date came when David Vigneault, director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), testified that he advised Trudeau to invoke the Emergencies Act.

Brendan Miller, the lawyer representing the organizers of the convoy, had spent almost every day up to that moment asking whether the convoy met the CSIS Act’s definition of a threat to national security, which is the definition used in the Emergencies Act.

Vigneault confirmed during his testimony that the convoy did not meet the limits of the CSIS Act – but he still advised Trudeau to invoke the act.

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The Commission’s counsel asked whether they were correct in understanding Vigneault’s line of thinking at the time, that “if you take a broad definition and then look more broadly, you will see the advice given to the prime minister of your faith”. come up with that it was required to implement the Act.

Vigneault said, “Yes, that is exactly the case.”

Trudeau would be pressed about this recommendation, as well as any other recommendations he might have received, such as from his National Security Adviser Jody Thomas, that prompted him to enact the act.

The Emergencies Act was intended as a more restrained piece of emergency legislation than the one it replaced – the War Measures Act. As part of this, there are stricter criteria for the circumstances when its powers can be exercised.

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Trudeau can expect to face broader questions about whether the “freedom convoy” meets that criteria.

To qualify as a public order emergency, a situation must meet the definition of a “threat to the security of Canada” as outlined in the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act – the act that limits the powers of the country’s intelligence agency. controls.

There are four possible scenarios that meet the definition of a “threat to the security of Canada” under the Act. “Legitimate” protests are not eligible.

  • espionage or subversion against Canada or detrimental to the interests of the country
  • foreign-influenced activities in or relating to Canada that are prejudicial to the country’s interests, are covert or deceptive, or threaten the public
  • activities in or relating to Canada that threaten, direct or use serious violence against people or property to achieve a political, ideological or religious objective in Canada or a foreign state
  • Activities directed toward undermining by covert unlawful acts the constitutionally established system of government in Canada, or directed or intended to ultimately lead to destruction or overthrow by violence.

The government formally laid out its reasoning for invoking the Emergency Situations Act in an executive order in February. The government argued that the blockade was an emergency, and those involved vowed to push back efforts to remove them from what officials believed was “serious violence” for “political or ideological aims”. Plan to use is included.

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Because the head of Canada’s spy agency said the convoy did not qualify as a threat to national security as defined in the CSIS Act – but believed it posed a widespread threat that was “necessary” to invoke – Trudeau Will likely be pressed for more details on how he weighed those concerns.

Trudeau may also raise questions about his personal safety during the demonstrations.

According to an assessment by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), law enforcement raised concerns that protesters would try to find the prime minister as they took to the streets of Ottawa, which was used as evidence during the Emergency Act investigation. was introduced.

“It is possible that protesters will try to identify where the prime minister is, based on his itinerary or any open source information posting his location,” the document said.

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“For some of the persons in the convoy likely to be present at the Prime Minister’s place, should there be a reasonable distance to travel, it is possible that their location may be publicised.”

Once a large number of protesters arrived, Trudeau and his family were eventually moved to an undisclosed location for security reasons.

“We were concerned whether the blockade could target the prime minister,” Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino testified Tuesday.

He said that criminal threats were being made openly “against life …

Source: globalnews.ca

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