Commissioner Paul Rouleau’s final report on the Emergencies Act being invoked during the Freedom Convoy was released this week.
While Rouleau’s report said that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met the threshold to invoke the Emergencies Act, Moose Jaw-Lake Centre-Lanigan Member of Parliament Fraser Tolmie said the entire situation could have been avoided.
“Probably the best way to have dealt with this was to properly communicate, which means to communicate your message and obviously engage with those that were concerned about the situation for the truckers,” Tolmie said.
The Emergencies Act was invoked last February, which gave law enforcement extraordinary powers to remove and arrest protesters in Ottawa.
In his report, Rouleau said the situation in Ottawa during the Freedom Convoy was “unsafe and chaotic.” He noted that the size and magnitude were a justification for using the Emergencies Act. Rouleau’s report said organizers of the protests didn’t take any meaningful steps to stop the non-peaceful actions.
Tolmie agreed with the report that there was a failure to communicate on all levels of government and that the situation could have been avoided if the police and the federal government were prepared.
“People from all across Canada were coming to Ottawa that had concerns and they had communicated that they were going to be here for a while and no one actually believed them. So again, where that fault lies with, I'm not too sure,” Tolmie said.
The report noted that government leaders on all levels also did not rise above politics to help stop the non-peaceful protests.
The report laid out 56 recommendations for improving intelligence sharing, police responses to wide-scale protests and the Emergencies Act itself.
The report comes after 30 days of testimony to the Public Order Emergency Commission from October to December of 2022. The commission heard from 76 witnesses and 50 experts.