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Emergencies Act

June 15, 2022

Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

Leader, as you know, I sit on the Special Joint Committee on the Declaration of Emergency. The committee has been hearing from witnesses for several weeks, and it has emerged that the Minister of Public Safety lied to the House by saying that the request came from law enforcement. Police denied making the request. We are also hearing justifications for the economic measures, such as cross-border transfers, and we have learned that the Ambassador Bridge was cleared on the weekend of February 12 and 13, whereas the Prime Minister’s Office and cabinet made their decision on February 13 at 8:30 a.m. during a cabinet meeting, after the bridge had been cleared.

Clearly, the government is trying to justify a political decision that was meant to give the impression that it wanted to do something. In the end, it turned out to be a severe overreaction and an abuse of power.

When will the government admit it made a mistake and apologize to Canadians?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) [ - ]

I thank the honourable senator for his question.

First, the minister did not lie. His words were misinterpreted, as one of our colleagues in Parliament explained.

Second, it is the Government of Canada’s position — and I have gone over this at length here — that invoking the act in question in order to provide the necessary tools to resolve the ongoing problem here in the national capital was entirely legitimate.

We are pleased that the parliamentary process is unfolding and that people are asking us questions, good questions, real questions, legitimate questions, but the government maintains that invoking the Emergencies Act was appropriate given the circumstances.

As you know, government leader, I have an excellent research and analysis team. It found out that the Minister of Public Safety said 12 times that he was acting at the request of police. It’s one thing to say his words were misinterpreted once or that he misspoke once, but the fact that he did so 12 times under varying circumstances and on different days suggests that the minister misled the House.

When will the Prime Minister ask the Minister of Public Safety to resign?

Senator Gold [ - ]

Thank you for the question.

The question we must ask ourselves is the following: Was the Government of Canada right?

The answer is clear and simple, and it is public information: Although the government did not receive specific requests from police, it is clear that they informed the government that they did not have the right tools or that the law did not provide them with the proper tools to deal with the challenging situation in Ottawa.

When it heard their requests for tools that they could not access unless this act was invoked, the government decided to take action.

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