Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ended his testimony at the inquiry into the use of the Emergencies Act on Friday by saying politics had nothing to do with his government’s decision to invoke the legislation.
“My motivation was entirely about ensuring the safety of Canadians,” he said just before 4 p.m. ET in response to a question from government lawyer Brian Gover.
“My secondary motivation was making sure Canadians continue to have confidence in their institutions and society’s ability to function and enforce the rule of law when it’s not being respected. Politics was not the motivation at all in the invocation of the Emergencies Act.”
Commissioner Paul Rouleau then asked the lawyers for various stakeholders if they had any other questions. When they said they did not, Mr. Rouleau thanked Mr. Trudeau for his testimony, which began just after 9:30 a.m. ET.
“Well, Prime Minister, I am very pleased to be able to tell you we have completed our work for the day with you,” he said.
Earlier Friday, Mr. Trudeau said the threats to Canada’s national security from last winter’s convoy protests were both economic and violent, and before he invoked the Emergencies Act the premiers were unable to suggest any alternative to using the sweeping powers to end the protracted demonstrations.
The Prime Minister was the final witness to testify at the inquiry studying the act’s use. Mr. Trudeau made the ultimate decision to invoke the never-before-used act on his own on Feb. 14, with the goal of ending protests that gridlocked the capital and jammed several border crossings across Canada.
“I am absolutely, absolutely serene and confident that I made the right choice,” Mr. Trudeau said.
Senior Political Reporter Marieke Walsh, Marsha McLeod and Deputy Ottawa Bureau Chief Bill Curry report here.
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INTEREST RATE HIKE EFFECTS YET TO BE FELT: POLOZ – The full effects of interest rate hikes have yet to be felt – and will be “even more powerful” than many anticipate, said former Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz Thursday in a speech about ways Canada can chart a path toward economic growth during uncertain times. Story here.
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THIS AND THAT
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NEW NFB COMMISSIONER – Suzanne Guèvremont has been appointed the next government film commissioner of the National Film Board of Canada. It’s a five-year appointment, effective Monday. As commissioner, the director of Montréal’s École des arts numériques, de l’animation et du designsince 1999 is to be the head of the film board, a federal agency considered Canada’s public film and digital media producer and distributor. The board produces and distributes documentary films, animation, web documentaries and alternative dramas.
MINISTERS ON THE ROAD – Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne concluded a trip to Japan and South Korea. Rural Economic Development Minister Gudie Hutchings, in Parksville, B.C., made an announcement about improving high-speed internet access in B.C. Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth Canada, with Grace Lore, B.C.’s parliamentary secretary for gender equity, made an announcement in Vancouver on enhancements to crisis line services in B.C. International Development Minister Harjit Sajjan, also Minister Responsible for the Pacific Economic Development of Canada, in Victoria, announced new agency offices. Filomena Tassi, Minster for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, made announcements in Lindsay, Ont.
PRIME MINISTER'S DAY
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in Ottawa, held private meetings and appeared before the Public Order Emergency Commission.
Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet is in France on a trip that runs through to Saturday.
No schedules released for other party leaders.
On Friday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, The Globe’s Erin Anderssen talks about the emotionally charged testimony at a parliamentary committee that has been hearing from experts since April about what needs to happen to make the right to die safe for all Canadians. In March, Canada will expand medically assisted dying to people with mental illness as a sole condition. This will make the country’s euthanasia law one of the most liberal in the world – just seven years after assisted dying first became legal. The Decibel is here.
Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on how it is the legal question and not the political question that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau must answer at the Emergencies Act inquiry: “When Justin Trudeau testifies today, he will be looking to answer the politician’s questions about the federal government’s decision to invoke the Emergencies Act. What the country really needs their Prime Minister to do is answer the lawyer’s question. The Prime Minister will want to use his testimony before the inquiry into the government’s invocation of the Emergencies Act to talk about how something – something decisive – had to be done.”
John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on how new leadership could be the answer to Canada’s fraught federal-provincial relations: “Ottawa and the provinces are at loggerheads over health care funding. Atlantic premiers are upset at no longer being exempt from the carbon tax. Alberta and Saskatchewan intend to pass so-called sovereignty acts. As Justin Trudeau enters his eighth year as Prime Minister, federal-provincial relations are fraught. The reasons for this are historical, but point to an urgent need for change.”
Shannon Proudfoot (The Globe and Mail) on how it’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s show, and Friday, he will have to answer for it: “So in one sense, there is little left for Mr. Trudeau to explain to the Public Order Emergency Commission on Friday. But in truth, everything the inquiry has unearthed so far – the societal tension that spiralled into contempt blanketing the country; politicians and staffers snuffling through still-smoking debris looking for pretty storylines; diligent responsibility dodging; the sense that someone pushed the panic button early on and just kept mashing it until they arrived at the solution they may have already decided was necessary – lands at Mr. Trudeau’s feet because, well, it’s his show.”
Rita Trichur (The Globe and Mail) on how NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s comments on Khalistan risk undermining Canada’s Indo-Pacific strategy: “Mr. Singh’s remarks about Quebec separatism were problematic enough. But prattling on about the “freedom” of Khalistani and Scottish secessionists while Canada is negotiating free-trade deals with India and Britain was reckless. Mr. Singh has pledged that his party will support the Liberal government until June, 2025, so why is he making comments that undermine its efforts to promote Canada’s economic interests? India is integral to Ottawa’s Indo-Pacific strategy and an important market for our businesses. There are ample opportunities for Canadian pension funds and for companies in sectors including energy, financial services, technology, health sciences and manufacturing.”
Trevor Tombe (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how Alberta’s inflation measures will help many, but not everyone: “The province is projecting a surplus of more than $13-billion this year, equivalent to nearly $3,000 for every single Albertan. So the provincial government – now under new leadership with Premier Danielle Smith – is deploying some significant fiscal firepower to address the rising cost of living. In an evening televised address earlier this week, the Premier announced several measures: suspending fuel taxes for six more months, $200 in utility bill rebates, $600 payments to seniors or families with children, and more. Overall, it is a $2.4-billion package – on top of past measures from former premier Jason Kenney, and recent federal increases to the GST credit. Will this help? For many, it will.”
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