A text message exchange between the RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki and her Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) counterpart suggests the federal Minister of Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair asked Lucki to express support for the Emergencies Act a few days after its invocation.
“Has Minister Blair hit you up for a letter to support the EA [Emergencies Act]?” Lucki wrote to OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique on Feb. 19.
“No, he has not. Should I expect to hear from him?” Carrique replied.
The exchange was entered as evidence before the Public Order Emergency Commission on Oct. 27, the day Carrique was testifying in person before the commission.
The Epoch Times contacted the RCMP and Public Safety Canada for comment but didn’t hear back before publication time.
On Feb. 25, a few days after that exchange between the two commissioners, Lucki testified before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security (SECU).
Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino was also testifying during the same meeting.
Mendicino told the committee that last winter’s cross-country protests and blockades “met the threshold under the Emergencies Act” and that the “decision to invoke it were informed by non-partisan professionals, including the [RCMP] commissioner, who’s with us today, as well as other branches of law enforcement.”
NDP MP Alistair MacGregor sought to verify this claim with Lucki.
“We heard the minister say that it was the professional opinion of law enforcement that these powers were needed. I received a briefing on two occasions, repeating the same,” MacGregor said.
“Commissioner Lucki, with all of the events that you saw over those first two weeks with the occupation of Ottawa and the blockades, in your professional opinion, was the declaration of public order emergency necessary under the Emergencies Act, and can you please state why?”
Lucki didn’t say whether she thought it was necessary or not, but said there are “existing authorities under the Criminal Code, the provincial entities and the Ontario emergency act. There were injunctions by the City of Ottawa.”
She added that some measures implemented by the act were used, as the designation of a no protest zone.
“We used it as a big deterrent to people against coming into the area. Yes, in fact, we did use the measures that were put in the Emergencies Act, along with other authorities that we had,” Lucki said.
Lucki did not share with the committee the same opinion she had provided the government on at least two occasions before the Trudeau government invoked the Emergencies Act.
On Feb. 13, Lucki told the Incident Response Group, which includes the prime minister and other relevant ministers and officials, that not all tools had been exhausted before invoking the act.
In the early hours of Feb. 14, the day the act was invoked, Lucki told Mendicino’s chief of staff the same information.
“I am of the view that we have not yet exhausted all available tools that are already available through the existing legislation.”
Coordination Before Attending Commons Committee
The text messages between Lucki and Carrique revealed by the commission cover the period from Feb. 3 to Feb. 24 and shed light on Lucki’s stance towards the public safety committee. She told Carrique to coordinate before accepting the committee’s invitation.
“Hi Brenda, sent you an email from the PSNSC [Public Safety and National Security Committee] ‘inviting’ the OPP to testify this Friday [Feb. 25], and indicating that RCMP and OPP will be separate panels. Any insight into the process that you (or your team) can provide, would be greatly appreciated,” wrote Carrique on Feb. 22.
“My team has been working through these various appearances and will get back to you. In the meantime, don’t respond until we work it through. Our thought is to have police all together,” replied Lucki.
Carrique testified before the public safety committee on March 24.
“The Emergencies Act was an extremely valuable tool. This was identified as a threat to national security,” Carrique told the committee.
“These tools made our operation very effective, and in the absence of having those tools, we could … not have been as effective as we were.”
Carrique provided another point of view at the Public Order Emergency Commission on Oct. 27.
It had been revealed earlier at the commission that OPP intelligence only considered the events a “potential” threat to national security, and even that language was problematic for Supt. Pat Morris who heads the outfit that produced that assessment, the OPP’s Provincial Operations Intelligence Bureau (POIB).
Morris told the commission he had issue with the language since neither CSIS nor the RCMP Integrated National Security Enforcement Team considered the Freedom Convoy a threat to national security.
Carrique told the commission he had total confidence in Morris as the foremost intelligence authority in Ontario, and said there had been no credible threat to national security.
Carrique also told the commission he agreed with Lucki that not all tools had been exhausted before invoking the Emergencies Act.
MPs have taken note of Carrique’s different stances and have asked him to testify before the public safety committee to explain the discrepancies.
“This committee has to … seek clarification on why those two wildly different testimonies were given,” said MacGregor on Oct. 24.
“I’m quite troubled that the very same police force is giving one answer to the public order commission but a completely different answer earlier [in] the year to a committee of the House of Commons.”
The NDP supported the Liberal government’s invocation of the Emergencies Act and some of its MPs said the Freedom Convoy was an “insurrection.”