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Feds Needed to Use ‘Full Power’ Against the Freedom Convoy, Says Top Public Servant

The federal government needed to use its “full power” against Freedom Convoy protesters, said the head of the federal public service while testifying before the Public Order Emergency Commission last week.

“We have to leave no stone unturned. We have to make sure we are looking at every power, duty, every authority we have, every resource we have, to make sure we are bringing the full power of the federal government and its resources,” Clerk of the Privy Council Janice Charette told the POEC on Nov. 18, according to Blacklock’s Reporter.

Charette also told the public inquiry that cabinet considered “every law we have” to use against the Convoy.

“All hands on deck, no idea too crazy, let’s look at absolutely everything,” she said.

Charette and Deputy Clerk of the Privy Council Nathalie Drouin prepared a memo for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Feb. 14, which stated that the Privy Council Office believed the criteria for invoking the Emergencies Act had been met.

Charette told the commission that, in her view, the Convoy protest presented “threats of serious violence.”

“The situation overall was a national emergency,” Charette told the POEC. “It was urgent, it was critical. There was the threat of serious violence that put at risk the lives, the health and safety, the security of Canadians.”

‘Serious Violence’

Charette added that there were, reportedly, “ideologically motivated extremely violent extremists” among the Convoy protesters.

“There was a threat from them that they could move to serious violence,” she said. “We had evidence, through both what was being said and online, of incredibly violent rhetoric of hate speech, anti-Semitic, anti-gay and transphobia, and misogynistic death threats—death threats to elected officials, to senior officials.”

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) had written in a national security brief several days before cabinet invoked the Emergencies Act that they had not identified any “formal organized plot of violence” with regard to the Convoy.

“As with any movement, only a small fringe element supports the use of violence or might be willing to engage in it,” CSIS wrote in the brief, titled “Anti-Public Health Measures Movement, Grievances and the Freedom Convoy 2022,” which was introduced as evidence to the POEC last week.

“The protesters are not homogeneous in either their grievances or organization,” it added.

Noé Chartier contributed to this report. 

Peter Wilson


Peter Wilson is a reporter based in Ontario, Canada.

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