Federal Justice Minister David Lametti joked about sending the army to chase the Freedom Convoy

Awkward text messages that suggested Canada’s Attorney General David Lametti should be sent to the military ‘jokingly’, called Ottawa’s police chief ‘incompetent’ and called for emergency action during the first week of the Freedom Convoy were read before Rouleau on Wednesday. Committee.

“This exchange should be understood as a joke between two friends,” the Minister of Justice explained to Commissioner Paul Rouleau. ” [Envoyer] The Canadian Forces were not an option. »

Emergency Commission giant screens later showed him exchanging text messages with his Public Safety counterpart, Marco Mendicino. On the evening of Feb. 2, the sixth day of the truck blockade in Ottawa, Mr. Lametti wrote to him in English: “You have to get the police going. And CAF [Forces armées canadiennes] if necessary. »

In a humorous tone, the message, with no obvious clues, went on to say that “non-fools” like former Bank of Canada chief Mark Carney expected him to show leadership. After Mr. Mendicino asked him how many tanks he needed, Mr. Lametti quipped, “I think one is enough!” »

Dozens of messages sent or received by federal elected officials emerged as part of an emergency commission that lifted the curtain on private discussions among decision makers in an unprecedented way.

The Rouleau commission must determine whether to invoke the federal Emergency Measures Act for the first time since it was created in 1988.

Emergency measures were discussed from the beginning

Evidence shows that Minister David Lametti, who also serves as the government’s solicitor general, began considering the use of this emergency law less than 48 hours after the Freedom Convoy trucks arrived before federal parliament.

“Do we have an alternate plan to get these trucks out tomorrow or Tuesday? […] What authority do we have, do we need a decree? LMU [Loi sur les mesures d’urgence] ? he sent a message to the employee on January 30.

David Lametti explained that this requirement is only meant to be prepared for “all eventualities”. He also said that as a part-time resident of Ottawa, he was “disappointed” to see city police standing idly by protesters carrying gas cans against the law. This, in his opinion, justifies his text comment to his colleague Marco Mendicino on February 4: “ [L’ex-chef de police d’Ottawa Peter] Sloly is incompetent. »

In another conversation, this time with an elected Quebec Liberal unhappy with his government’s actions so far, the minister wrote on February 13 that a state of emergency was the “only other legal option” left. Greg Fergus, MP for Hull-Aylmer, who is represented in Mr Lametti’s contacts by childish drawings of drummers, is asking him to be a “strong spokesperson” to the media for the police or the gunmen, “Because politicians have had their credibility undermined”.

Emergency measures were invoked the next day, February 14, with a “consensus” within the Liberal group.

The police must be mobilized. And CAF [Forces armées canadiennes] if necessary.

Minister Lametti said he felt “vulnerable” during the three-week occupation of Ottawa’s streets. He left the federal capital to go home to Montreal, especially to work remotely, and said he feared for the safety of the women in his office. Several messages threatening him with death turned into evidence.

The attorney general declined to answer multiple questions about the minimum threshold required to talk about a “threat to the security of Canada,” because his legal advice to the government is protected by attorney-client privilege.

A small role for the army

The Canadian Armed Forces played a small role in last winter’s crisis, the Rouleau commission heard Wednesday.

As the government constantly reiterated during the events, the deployment of the army was not planned. “Our country’s soldiers are not police officers,” Defense Minister Anita Anand said in her testimony. The Canadian Armed Forces have stored at least 1,800 individual meals in federal parliament buildings at the request of site security, which is still preparing for a possible arrest.

Alberta also tried to get military tow trucks to move trucks blocking the Coutts border crossing. “They were created to pull tanks out of the hole. This is a very large piece of equipment,” Minister Anand explained.

Minister Marco Mendicino also stressed on Tuesday that the federal government was reluctant to ask the military for help during last winter’s events, given historical precedents, including the October 1970 crisis.

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