Two senior cabinet ministers exchanged text messages suggesting they call in the military and use tanks in Ottawa during the first week of the convoy protests in February, comments Justice Minister David Lametti defended in testimony Wednesday as jokes.
The text messages between Mr. Lametti and Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino were tabled at the inquiry.
“You need to get the police to move,” Mr. Lametti told Mr. Mendicino on Feb. 2, and the Canadian Armed Forces “if necessary,” he added.
“Too many people are being seriously, adversely impacted by what is an occupation. I am getting out as soon as I can. People are looking to us/you for leadership. And not stupid people,” he added in subsequent texts.
“How many tanks are you asking for I just wanna ask Anita how many we’ve got on hand,” Mr. Mendicino said in response, referring to Defence Minister Anita Anand.
“I reckon one will do!!” Mr. Lametti replied.
Also, on Tuesday, Mr. Mendicino offered the first glimpse into the federal government’s argument that it was permitted to take a “broader” interpretation of when the Emergencies Act can be used, testifying that the government considered two factors in determining it was allowed to invoke the act. Story here.
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FIRE LUCKI: ALBERTA JUSTICE MINISTER - Alberta Justice Minister Tyler Shandro is calling on the federal government to fire RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki, saying her continued tenure is damaging to the national police force. Story here from CBC. EDITORS NOTE: In Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked, ahead of Question Period on Wednesday, whether he still had confidence in Ms. Lucki. “We’re going to continue to work with the Commissioner on keeping Canadians safe,” he told journalists. Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino was also asked if he had confidence in the commissioner. “Yes I have confidence. The government has confidence in Commissioner Lucki,” said Mr. Mendicino.
ALBERTA PREMIER DETAILS AFFORDABILITY PROGRAM - Alberta Premier Danielle Smith has announced a slew of measures to provide relief from high inflation, including cash payouts to seniors and families with children. Story here. Meanwhile, a federal Liberal cabinet minister from Alberta says he’s concerned that Premier Danielle Smith is moving forward with her proposed sovereignty act. Story here.
NEW B.C. PREMIER RULES OUT USING NOTWITHSTANDING CLAUSE IN LABOUR DISPUTE - B.C.’s new Premier won enthusiastic approval from delegates to a BC Federation of Labour convention this week, saying he has been watching the situation in Ontario and he “will never” invoke the notwithstanding clause to end a labor dispute. Story here from The Vancouver Sun.
RODRIGUEZ PRESSED FOR CLARITY ON ONLINE BILL - Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez came under sustained pressure from senators on Tuesday to bring clarity to the text of Bill C-11, the online streaming bill, and change a clause which YouTubers and other digital-first creators have warned could subject them to future regulation. Story here.
LIBERALS FACE ANGER AND APPLAUSE FOR FIREARMS MEASURE - The Liberal government prompted applause and anger on Tuesday by proposing an evergreen definition of a prohibited assault-style firearm for inclusion in gun-control legislation being studied by a House of Commons committee. Story here.
ONE CANDIDATE FOR ONTARIO NDP LEADERSHIP AS END OF RACE NEARS - There are less than two weeks to go in the Ontario NDP leadership race and Marit Stiles, the sole official candidate, is so far the presumptive winner. Story here.
THIS AND THAT
TODAY IN THE COMMONS – Projected Order of Business at the House of Commons, Nov. 23, accessible here.
DAYS SINCE CONSERVATIVE LEADER PIERRE POILIEVRE TOOK MEDIA QUESTIONS IN OTTAWA: 71
WITNESSES WEDNESDAY AT PUBLIC ORDER EMERGENCY COMMISSION IN OTTAWA:
-David Lametti, Justice Minister.
-Anita Anand, Defence Minister.
-Omar Alghabra, Transport Minister.
FREELAND IN TORONTO - Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, in Toronto, delivers remarks at the Rebuild Ukraine Business Conference, hosted by the Canada-Ukraine Chamber of Commerce. Other speakers at the conference include Tetiana Berezhna, deputy economy minister of Ukraine, and Yuliya Kovaliv, Ukraine’s ambassador to Canada. Also, Lenna Koszarny, founding partner and CEO of Horizon Capital, which is Ukraine’s leading private-equity firm.
GOVERNOR-GENERAL WELCOMES DIPLOMATS - Governor-General Mary Simon, at the Citadelle of Québec, welcomed the presentation of credentials of seven new heads of mission to Canada, including representatives from Moldova, South Korea, Guyana, India and the Republic of the Congo.
MINISTERS ON THE ROAD - International Trade Minister Mary Ng is beginning a trip to Mexico City to attend the Pacific Alliance Summit that runs until Friday. Her visit includes a meeting with Raquel Buenrostro, Mexico’s economy secretary.
PRIME MINISTER'S DAY
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in Ottawa, met with the Opposition Leader of Belarus, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. He also attended the national Liberal caucus meeting and attended Question Period.
Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet is in France on a trip that runs through to Nov. 26.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, in Ottawa, attended the NDP caucus meeting, met with Dr. Alika Lafontaine, president of the Canadian Medical Association, spoke to media, and attended Question Period. Mr. Singh was also scheduled to attend the Standing Committee on Finance.
No schedules provided for other party leaders.
Wednesday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast spotlights the World Cup. Host country Qatar getting bad press for its treatment of migrant workers, its stance on LGBTQ rights and its strict regulations on alcohol. From Doha, Qatar, the Globe’s Asia correspondent James Griffiths talks about how Qatar has already seen its relationship with other Gulf nations improve because of the World Cup, and the event might still be an important pivot in the country’s economy. The Decibel is here.
The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on how, under the cover of the housing crisis, Ontario is pushing for more sprawl: “Many Canadians are no doubt gripped by the public inquiry in Ottawa into the Trudeau government’s invocation of the Emergencies Act. It’s riveting stuff. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau himself will face questions later this week; some of his chief advisers and top cabinet ministers have already appeared, or will shortly. Next February, the independent commission holding the inquiry will tell us whether the government’s use of extraordinary powers to end the trucker protests was appropriate and effective. The people of Ontario might hope for a similar inquiry into the undeclared invocation of what could be called Premier Doug Ford’s Personal Housing Emergencies Act, 2022.”
Lawrence Martin (The Globe and Mail) on not betting the Emergencies Act inquiry will hurt Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: “The inquiry into whether Justin Trudeau’s use of the Emergencies Act was justifiable has a rather peculiar look. Inquiries normally investigate something that went wrong. Not this one. This one is probing an action that worked, that went off with few hitches, that was met, for the most part, with public acceptance. The issue of whether the Prime Minister had the right to go so far is a big deal with anti-vaxxers and constitutional scholars and, naturally, the Conservative opposition. But the Canadian public? Around the proverbial water-cooler I haven’t heard anyone obsessing over the question. Most just wanted the occupation to end and most are glad it did and I doubt Mr. Trudeau is shaking in his shoes over how the inquiry report comes down. The sword of Damocles is not about to fall.”
Shannon Proudfoot (The Globe and Mail) on Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino eagerly testifying at the Emergencies Act inquiry, despite recent fuzziness on facts: “The questioning of each witness at the inquiry has proceeded in roughly the same way, and Mr. Mendicino was no exception. First, they introduce themselves and explain their jobs on a normal day and during the extraordinary weeks of the protest. After that, the commission lawyers tend to walk each witness through events chronologically. There’s obvious logic to that, but it also has the effect of re-enacting in fast-forward the frustration, alarm and tension that mounted as they watched the events of last winter unfold. In Mr. Mendicino’s testimony, by the time he got to the point of describing the Coutts blockade as “a hardened cell of individuals who were armed to the teeth, with lethal firearms, who possessed a willingness to go down with the cause,” it was clear how tightly the screws were turned.”
Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on what it might mean that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he hasn’t been briefed on election interference from Beijing: “Such careful, deliberate use of language has featured prominently in this government’s responses to past scandals, including when Mr. Trudeau insisted that neither he nor his office “directed” then-attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to seek a deferred prosecution agreement in the criminal case involving SNC-Lavalin (which is not the same as saying no one pressured her), and more recently, when he said that his government did not put any “undue pressure” on RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki to release information on the guns used in the Nova Scotia mass shooting.”
Leah West and David Schneiderman (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how the CSIS Act threshold on ‘threat to the security of Canada’ must be met: “A curious thing is happening before the Rouleau Commission inquiry into the use of the Emergencies Act. Federal government witnesses are testifying that the phrase “threat to the security of Canada” in the Emergencies Act does not mean the same thing as “threats to the security of Canada” in the Canadian Security Intelligence Services (CSIS) Act. This is in spite of the fact that the Emergencies Act states unequivocally that it relies on the CSIS Act definition. This peculiar position led the director of CSIS to support the invocation of a public order emergency while assuring cabinet that no threat to the security of Canada existed.”
Tom Mulcair (The Montreal Gazette) on why he can’t wait for Bill 96 ads in the U.S: “Premier François Legault says he is considering purchasing ads in New York newspapers to counter what he sees as erroneous interpretations of Bill 96. This could be fun. Whenever Legault talks about Bill 96, it’s couched in general terms about protecting French which, he is prompt to assert, is in danger. It’s hard not to agree with the proposition that Canada’s minority official language will always need positive action to promote its use and protect its institutional equality. Where it gets tricky for Legault’s advertising plans, is when you look at what Bill 96 actually does.”