On February 14, 2022, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act in response to protests across Canada. Based on testimony at a public inquiry in Ottawa into the Act’s invocation, its use could signal an expansion of state authority, and its more frequent use. [1] Government officials cited “bouncy castles,” “unknown interiors of trucks,” “aggressive social media tweets,” “the presence of children,” and the possibility of protesters returning to already cleared borders among the reasons for declaring a national emergency. The seeming inability of the government to cope with its environment was a product of conjuring imagined threats, not actual. Headlines claiming protester infamy fell like dominoes under scrutiny. But not before the nation was launched into a surreal Tiananmen Square moment by a prime minister who decided that vaccination of cross-border trucking was a hill to die on.

The Emergencies Act was invoked for the first time since its inception in 1988 by the Mulroney government. It replaced the War Measures Act, last invoked by Trudeau’s father during the 1970 FLQ Crisis. The FLQ (Front de libération du Québec) had kidnapped and murdered Quebec vice-Premier Pierre LaPorte and kidnapped British Trade Commissioner to Canada, James Cross. Subsequently, the McDonald Commission revealed RCMP criminality in its response to the Crisis, and recommended revisions to the War Measures Act to rein in government overreach. [2]

The Emergencies Act legislation of 1988 mandated that a commission of public inquiry must review government action in exercising this extraordinary power over its citizens. [3] Due to the Valentine’s Day 2022 invocation, this led to the creation of the Public Order Emergency Commission. Over seventy witnesses testified between October 13 to November 25, 2022. [4]

The government set Justice Paul Rouleau’s mandate: “to examine and report on the circumstances that led to the declaration of a public order emergency being issued by the federal government and the measures taken by the Governor in Council by means of the Emergency Measures Regulations and the Emergency Economic Measures Order for dealing with the public order emergency that was in effect from February 14 to 23, 2022.” [5]

I’d written about these events earlier, including here [6] and here [7], and flew to Ottawa to attend four days of hearings. A picture emerged of a government on a mission to build a case against the protesters before they arrived in Ottawa on January 28th. In the governments’ view, it was pointless to listen to the protesters. It flipped a longstanding practice in Canadian politics to seek to find a middle ground. It was customary for politicians to listen and have dialogue with citizens who exercised their right to peacefully protest. [8]

Dialogue: a Very Canadian Custom

Between January 4 and March 20, 2020, there were nation-wide protests against Canadian government policies by mostly First Nations Canadians. During the protests the construction of a pipeline on the west coast was disrupted. Ferry terminals in British Columbia were faced with protests on and off for weeks leading to cancellation of ferry sailings. Rail line junction boxes were sabotaged. A highway was blockaded. Almost all of the Canadian National Railway service was shut down for over a month from coast to coast, disrupting transport of goods across Canada and into the United States. [9] Shortages of chlorine for drinking water, and propane to heat homes in winter, were among the concerns retail and industry groups expressed to the Trudeau government. [10] Canada’s passenger rail service, Via Rail, was shut down for over a month. This led to layoffs of over a thousand workers. [11] Grocery stores reported seeing some of their shelves go empty, especially dry goods, sugar, toiletries and condiments. [12] Go Transit service for commuters between Toronto and Niagara Falls were disrupted. Throughout almost eleven weeks of protests in 2020, the Prime Minister maintained that it was important to engage in dialogue to resolve matters. [13]

The federal government response in 2020 was part of a long tradition. Even with the most acrimonious events of the past, government leaders would meet with protest leaders to discuss contentious issues. For example, in 1935 during the Great Depression, Unemployment Relief Camp workers protested living conditions and wage benefits at the camps. Strikers in Vancouver headed to Regina. An On-to-Ottawa Trek from Regina resulted in a meeting on June 22nd between eight protesters with Prime Minister R.B. Bennett and two of his cabinet ministers. Tensions ran high. Protest leader Arthur “Slim” Evans called Bennett a liar before being escorted out of the room. [14]

Before the pandemic, Ottawa, as the national capital, was accustomed to almost a hundred days a year of protests of some sort taking place at Parliament Hill. [15] It was not an unreasonable expectation for protesters converging on Ottawa in late January 2022 to anticipate federal government officials would sit down and listen to their concerns.

Threshold Not Met

It turns out the governments’ justification for invoking the act was not based on any of the tests of the Emergencies Act being met. CSIS Director David Vigneault admitted the four criteria for declaring a public order emergency were not met.

1)    There was no espionage. “No,” said Vigneault.

2)    There was no foreign interference, no sabotage. “No,” said Vigneault.

3)    There wasn’t any serious violence associated with the protests. “No actual serious violence,” said Vigneault.

4)    There was no plot to overthrow the government. Said Vigneault, “No. Didn’t even investigate. It was so nonexistent.” The objective of the 1988 Emergencies Act legislation, by using the CSIS definition of tests for the threshold to declare a national emergency, was to limit the use of the executive branch in declaring a public order emergency. [16]

What sparked the protest?

Since the pandemic began in Canada in March 2020, Canadians experienced among the most severe restrictions. China, Australia and New Zealand were worse. But Canada was an outlier expanding pandemic measures at a time all other G7 nations were relaxing them. [17] Canada was one of just a couple of nations with restrictions on domestic travel for the unvaccinated.

Truck drivers had been designated essential service workers carrying groceries, hospital supplies, parts needed at factories and other critical goods. The Prime Minister had called them “heroes.” But in November 2021, the government announced truck driver exemption from vaccination would end, requiring the C-19 vaccine in order to cross the Canada-US border. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Manufacturing Coalition, Canadian Trucking Alliance and the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada were among those urging the government to reverse policy. The government hadn’t produced any statistics to suggest that truck drivers who travel alone in their trucks were a source of Covid-19 infection in Canada. When asked by the House of Commons Health Committee, “Neither Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos nor Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam were able to provide any data about COVID-19 and truck drivers.” [18]

The Private Motor Truck Council of Canada (PMTC) warned that “over 31 thousand cross-border truckers will leave the industry.” The Canadian Trucking Alliance had similar estimates of drivers who would exit the industry. The PMTC estimated that if the government postponed its regulation until at least April 15, 2022, only “22,800 drivers would exit the cross-border industry if given the extra time” to decide whether to get vaccinated. [19]

The Science™

In the September 2021 election, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had called on all Canadians to get vaccinated. Those who chose not to get vaccinated were “racists, misogynists, and white supremacists.” [20] Trudeau assured Canadians he was relying on the experts and ‘following the science.’ A month earlier Center for Disease Control Director, Rachel Wallensky, admitted the Covid-19 vaccines didn’t prevent infection or transmission. [21]

In April 2021 Pfizer had produced an internal document titled “Cumulative Analysis of Post-Authorization Adverse Event Reports of PF-07302048 (BNT162B2) Received Through 28-FEB-2021.” Stamped ‘confidential’ on each page, Pfizer and the FDA hoped the document would remain sealed until 2096. But a United States court order forced its release. Pfizer knew by the end of February 2021 of over 42,000 significant adverse reactions to its Covid-19 vaccine. Pfizer concluded that among those who’d received its mRNA vaccine between mid-December 2020 and February 2021, its vaccine proved “fatal” for 1,223 individuals. The breakdown of adverse reactions to Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine was itemized on Table 1 in the company document. [22]

Reluctance among some truck drivers to get the mRNA vaccines was subsequently given further credence in September 2022 with the publication of a study in the Journal of Insulin Resistance. Titled “Curing the pandemic of misinformation on COVID-19 mRNA vaccines through real evidence-based medicine,” leading British cardiologist and former cheerleader in the vaccine rollout, Dr. Aseem Malhotra, called for “a pause and reappraisal of vaccination Policies for COVID-19…”  He cited a “paper in Nature that revealed a 25% increase in both acute and coronary syndrome and cardiac arrest calls in the 16 to 39-year-old age groups significantly associated with administration with the first and second doses of the mRNA vaccines but no association with COVID-19 infection.” Authors of that paper warned of the risks of myocarditis and cardiac arrest for the younger population. [23]

The rollout of the vaccine coincided with wave headline stories about younger people suddenly hospitalized, or dead, related to heart issues: “18-Year-Old Athlete with ‘No Signs of Heart Issues’ Suffers ‘Sudden Cardiac Arrest’ during Tennis Practice;” [24] “College Football Player Collapses Suddenly, Dies at 21;” [25] “13-year-old died ‘sudden cardiac death’ after collapsing at football match;” [26] “Suddenly died at 24: Traian was killed by a brain hemorrhage, a few days after the vaccine;” [27] And “Penguins star Kris Letang suffers stroke.” [28]

The Protesters

The Commission was mandated to learn about “the evolution and goals of the convoy and blockades, their leadership, organization and participants.”

18,000 were assembled on Parliament Hill the last weekend of January 2022. [29] “Noeline Villebrun, a former Dene national chief and clan mother from Yellowknife…made the journey to Ottawa and delivered an Indigenous blessing from the flatbed stage. ‘With our hearts that are up here on this stage we thank you. Because that’s what this movement is all about. One heart. And what does that mean? That means love, understanding, acceptance, tolerance. And…we accept and respect one another” she said to applause from the crowd of protesters, Tamara Lich by her side. [30]

During the inquiry, a number of protesters testified under oath. Tom Marazzo served for 25 years in the Canadian Armed Forces achieving the rank of Captain. After retiring from the military, he lost his job at Georgian College in Barrie, Ontario, after he declined to get the mRNA vaccine. He was motivated to come to Ottawa based on his fears around what was happening to Canada. He came to Ottawa from Napanee, Ontario.

Marazzo testified, “The biggest thing for me was that informed consent was being absolutely ignored…. The lockdowns made absolutely no sense. The vilification of Canadians by the Prime Minister was shocking…. I knew things were fundamentally upside-down with the approach that the government was using…. shut down a store that sells kids clothing, but you can go to a store and get a case of beer…. A kid in Calgary was playing hockey outside and police were threatening to taser him.”

Marazzo told the inquiry protesters came to Ottawa to get the government to explain and reexamine their policies. “We were trying to nudge them, to do anything to get them to talk to us. And to this day they’ve never spoken to us…. We wanted no part of being the government. We wanted the government to do the governing, but to listen to us.” [31]

Tamara Lich came from Medicine Hat, Alberta. Lich testified, “At the time of the convoy there was rumblings of stopping…interprovincial…travel if you were unvaccinated. My parents live in Saskatchewan and my grandmother is in Saskatchewan and I have a daughter and a granddaughter in Manitoba. So I found that incredibly alarming….” [32]

Minister of Transport, Omar Alghabra told the CBC on January 30th “No one should be surprised that there is work being done to get us there,” regarding inter-provincial vaccine mandates. “Implementation of that rule will set us up for guaranteed failure. The reality is we’re experiencing a significant shortage of trucks and trailers to haul hogs across Canada and the situation is worse than publicly stated,” the chair of the Canadian Pork Council Rick Bergmann told the Commons agriculture committee on February 14. Bergmann insisted that such a policy would be “the straw that breaks the camel’s back.” [33]

Asked why she travelled to Ottawa, Lich said “I was hoping that somebody would come and listen to us and listen to the concerns that we had…about the mandates…. We wanted to be heard. We wanted to have discussions. We wanted to end the mandates….open a dialogue…. I heard from families that were living in vehicles because they had lost their jobs. I heard from people that had lost their jobs and lost everything. I have the tears of thousands of Canadians on my shoulder, who everyday told me that we were bringing them hope. I saw little old ladies praying on their knees on the side of the road and I saw little children holding signs saying, ‘Thank you for giving me back my future.’” [34]

In cross-examination with Ms. Lich, Brendan Miller entered evidence that between January 28 and February 14 “there were a total of four violent offences individuals were charged with…” No “victims of actual violence, given that (the police would) know who’s charged (were) procured to testify before (the) Commission.” [35]

Daniel Bulford was a former RCMP 15-year career officer who had been part of the security detail for the Prime Minister. He testified, “I spoke out publicly against the federal government vaccination mandate for COVID-19 vaccines…after speaking out publicly, my security clearance was revoked…. I made the decision to resign…. We lost neighbours and friends who were perfectly fine to have relationships with us until the vaccine passport deadline kicked in, …then we were no longer worthy to speak to…. There was a very heightened state of anxiety about how much further the situation in Canada would degenerate…. The dehumanization effort had begun…. The ultimate problem was that the Canadian people…led to believe that people like myself and my family were a threat to other people and their children, which was not true, by his (Justin Trudeau’s) own admission in July 2021 on camera.” Bulford stated that prior to the convoy he was ready to leave the country. “Seeing the convoy and the rallying of support behind it all across Canada restored my faith in Canadians. That they weren’t going to let Canada degenerate further.”

During the Ottawa protest Bulford became a key police liaison for the convoy. He had communications “regularly with the Ottawa Police Service, the Parliamentary Protective Service, the OPP, and the RCMP.”  [36]

Margaret Hope-Braun, a mother of two children in Peterborough, Ontario, was troubled by the hysteria in the media. “…we were reading…Global News…about (not having) received a police report yet on how many…additional rapes had taken place in the city since the convoy arrived.” Hope-Braun testified how when she felt completely “safe,” and “treated with respect.” On Valentine’s Day she “witnessed hundreds of roses being offered to the police officers… The streets of Ottawa were covered in roses that day.” When Margaret Hope-Braun was arrested she voluntarily kneeled down and placed a copy of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms on the ground. When she looked up, a barrel of a gun was pointed at her head. [37]

Christopher Deering, a decorated Afghan War veteran in the Canadian Armed Forces, testified that he was wounded in Afghanistan. He came to Ottawa to protest because he felt it was his duty. “I couldn’t grieve my comrades in Nova Scotia because I wasn’t allowed to cross the border in my own vehicle, by myself to a cemetery where no one was living, and lay my flowers for my mental health. And I was denied that for two years.” [38]

Deering described his February 18 arrest. “…as the police took me down, again…he kneed me in my side, kicked me in my back. I was laying down. I was in the fetal position on my back. He kicked me in my ankle and my foot. As I was laying down, I had my hands completely up. I’m saying, “I’m very peaceful. I’m peaceful. I’m not resisting.” I was then punched four or five times in my head…a knee on my back to keep myself down…it was the worst pain I had been in since I’d been blown up.” [39]

A lawyer representing a number of the protesters, Keith Wilson, was asked at the inquiry ““Did you have a concern about the fact that if that (police action) was going to happen, that you were suggesting to people to come back into the Red Zone, and potentially be in danger when the enforcement action started? Wilson replied, “No. Because I’m a Canadian. And I never imagined that our government, our federal government, would use that level of force against non-violent, peaceful Canadians.” [40]

The Media

Though the Commission didn’t have members of the press testify at the hearings, part of its mandate was to learn about “the impact, role and sources of misinformation and disinformation, including the use of social media.” From the outset the mainstream media coverage of the cross-border vaccine mandate protesters, each story framed from a negative angle.

On January 22, as trucks headed to Ottawa from the Canadian west coast, the media depicted it as a protest against the condition of British Columbia highways. [41]

On January 25 Global News reported that “Far-right groups hope trucker protest will be Canada’s ‘January 6th.’” During the inquiry evidence was entered of text messages prior to a January 24th cabinet meeting, between advisor to the prime minister, Mary-Liz Power, and Alexander Cohen, communications director for Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino. Power wrote “My thoughts of the framing here would be similar to what the PM/Blair said last year when Jan. 6th occurred.” Cohen wrote “I had an initial chat with my boss and he’s supportive, but wants to wait a day or two. There’s a danger that if we come down too hard, they might push out the crazies…” Power added, “apparently Global and others are working on stories. Maybe see how those land.” [42]

On January 28 the CBC reported “Russian actors” were behind the Ottawa protest, inspiring truck drivers recently unemployed due to Liberal governments new mandates. CBC Ombudsman Jack Nagler concluded in October that the broadcaster had breached its own journalistic standards. CBC reportage alleging Russian influence in connection with the protests was based entirely on wild speculation. Nagler stated “there should have been evidence backing the claim” and advised CBC programmers to be “aware of the impact of [their] work.” [43]

On January 29 an individual wearing a black mask spotted in the crowd carried a Confederate flag. It was clear from video posted online that the Confederate flag bearer was being asked to leave by others in the crowd. [44] Daniel Bulford testified, “I did see a photograph of a gentleman (Paul Chan) who I know to be a photographer that follows Mr. Trudeau around on a regular basis taking a close-up shot of a gentleman carrying a Confederate flag…. (There were) “a number of protesters telling him (the flag bearer) to get out of there because he wasn’t welcome and they didn’t want that type of…symbol being associated to the convoy.” [45]

On January 29 there was footage of a woman dancing on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier yelling “freedom.” Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay led MPs and commentators in blaming the Freedom Convoy. “Everyone has a right to protest in this country but this disrespect shown to the National War Memorial, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the National Aboriginal Veterans Monument was completely disgusting,” MacAulay said February 1st. On April 28, the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) announced it identified the mystery woman who jumped on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The OPS stated that the woman was not from Western Canada and had nothing to do with the convoy. [46]

On January 30 there was a lone protester sighted near the US Embassy with a Nazi flag. At one point another individual with an upside-down Canadian flag with a swastika in one corner was standing some distance across the street from Conservative MP Michael Cooper (St. Albert-Edmonton) who was being interviewed by a CBC reporter. The CBC subsequently ran a story inferring Cooper was somehow implicated or involved with the flag bearer. The female CBC reporter, who was identically distant from the upside-down Canadian flag with the swastika as Cooper, didn’t feel similarly motivated to distance herself – or the CBC – for being in the vicinity of the offensive flag. [47]

On November 21, a publicist and former Toronto Star manager, Brian Fox, was named as the masked provocateur seen hoisting a Nazi flag at the Freedom Convoy. The claim was supported with an affidavit from a witness, Mr. Sean Folks, who spoke to Fox near Parliament Hill on January 30. Brian Fox denied the charges. [48]

On February 6 news outlets called a leaflet titled “Every Single Aspect of the COVID Agenda is Jewish” a “disgusting and horrifying” example of anti-Semitism at the Ottawa protest. But Ottawa journalist Jonathan Kay exposed the story as a smear. On January 23rd the Miami Beach Police Department tweeted about the flier which had been “distributed overnight in residential (Miami) neighborhoods.” Deplorable as the flier was, it was a Miami creation photoshopped to malign the Ottawa protesters. Kay pointed out that the ceramic design in the background of the alleged Ottawa photo was identical to that posted in Miami two weeks prior. [49]

On February 7, the media reported convoy protesters attempted to set a residential apartment building on fire. Arson was now part of a growing list to show how deplorable the protesters were. But the Ottawa Police issued a press release the next day clarifying there was no evidence to support the allegation that the attempted arson was connected with any protester. [50] Subsequent arrests in mid-March of two Ottawa-area misfits, well known to police, confirmed protesters were not involved with the attempted arson on the weekend of February 6. [51]

It was also inferred protesters threatened to bomb the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. Under testimony Protective Emergency Services Director for the City of Ottawa, Kim Ayotte, denied there was any link between the protesters and the crank bomb threat to the hospital. [52]

Former chief justice of the Supreme Court, Beverley McLauchlin inferred that convoy protesters had uttered death threats against the prime minister. [53] Yet, as of December 2022, no one involved with the convoy has been charged with uttering death threats against the prime minister. No one is facing legal action in connection with this serious allegation. In a December 4 text to me, Tom Marazzo wrote “No person associated with the convoy was charged with such a crime.” [54]

The Police

The Commission was tasked with learning about “the efforts of police and other responders prior to and after the declaration.”

Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) intelligence officer Pat Morris testified that the freedom convoy “was conspicuous for the absolute lack of criminal activity.” Reports by politicians about trucks at Parliament Hill having weapons was charitably described by Morris as “hyperbole.” The OPP “produced no intelligence to indicate that these individuals (protesters) would be armed.” As Morris was the officer providing key intelligence information to politicians, he was frustrated and bewildered by statements by cabinet ministers to the media. In an email entered as evidence at the inquiry, Morris complained “I do not know where the political figures are acquiring information or intelligence on the extent of extremist involvement.” What Morris was providing in his briefings did not support that conclusion. Under oath, he detailed that the intelligence-gathering effort of the OPP revealed no evidence of espionage, no evidence of sabotage, and no evidence of foreign influence. Regarding support of a threat, or use of acts of serious violence, Morris stated “Did we have any credible evidence that that would occur? No.” [55]

Morris elaborated, “I spoke about that with colleagues from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and with the [RCMP] Integrated National Security Enforcement Team [INSET], and they did not see things that reached their threshold in terms of what would be deemed a threat to the security of Canada.” [56]

On February 12, cabinet was given a “Proposal: Trucker Protest Engagement” from Deputy Minister of Public Safety Rob Stewart. The proposal was supported by Ontario Provincial Police Insp. Marcel Beaudin who was confident Police Liaison Teams were ready to make contact and negotiate with protesters in order to defuse or end situations. Beaudin confirmed that this plan recommended that “the political branch of the Government of Canada…agree to a meeting with the protesters.” [57]

Beaudin testified that he was in contact with Police Liaison Team program analyst Leslie Jean. It was Jean who pointed out that federal government officials had met with protesters during the rail blockades of 2020, providing an exit strategy for the majority of the rail and pipeline demonstrators. Jean also suggested another exit strategy to end the protest would be to have Health Canada announce that since the Omicron wave had peaked, restrictions could be lifted according to a set timeline. [58]

What about the operation to clear the streets of protesters around Parliament Hill after the Emergencies Act was invoked? Ottawa Police Services superintendent Robert Bernier testified that “The plan I was developing was based on existing authorities. I was satisfied we were going to have all the authorities we needed to take action.” [59]

Former Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly clarified before the inquiry that his use of the phrase “assaultive behaviour” was used “in the broadest case possible… It is my understanding that there was Criminal Code assaultive behaviour by individuals in and around the protest areas of the city, but I can’t tell you that they were specifically a part of (the) convoy.” Other crime was being investigated in downtown Ottawa concurrent to over three weeks of protests. Sloly agreed that at no time prior to the Prime Minister invoking the Emergencies Act had the Ottawa Police Service deemed the protest “to be an unlawful assembly.” [60]

On February 14, at 12:59 p.m. an RCMP briefing note was sent to cabinet deputy ministers titled “Trucker Convoy and Protective Services.” It warned falsely “Intelligence information also suggests that convoy protesters are beginning to weaponize themselves.” Three and a half hours later Prime Minister Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act. At a House of Commons Public Safety Committee meeting on March 24 Ottawa Police verified there were in fact no weapons at all. “Were loaded firearms found, yes or no?” asked Conservative MP Dane Lloyd. “No, not relating to any charges to this point,” replied Steve Bell, interim chief of the Ottawa Police Service. “Can you clarify, speaking on the record not off the record, that loaded shotguns were not found in the vehicles during the protest? Can you confirm that?” asked MP Lloyd. “Yes I can confirm,” replied Chief Bell. [61]

The protest was disruptive for Ottawa residents and businesses. Many understandably complained about non-stop honking of horns until a provincial injunction was passed on February 7th. Tom Marazzo told me convoy organizers and block captains were very serious about trying to enforce the Ontario court injunction of February 7. A few truck drivers were defiant. Marazzo recalls one driver who insisted on honking his horn. The other truck drivers on the block surrounded the truck and told the man that “if he didn’t comply with the order to be quiet and cease honking, other truckers would get his horn disconnected. Then the driver in question complied.” [62]

Marazzo also discussed with me allegations of intimidation by truckers toward Ottawa area residents. He said, “we were working very closely with Police Liaison Teams” who were reviewing any issues emerging throughout each day. During the whole Ottawa protest “the PTLs never raised it” (incidents of trucker protester intimidation of Ottawa residents) with convoy organizers. Marazzo states if the police had raised it with convoy organizers they “would have gotten word out to block captains to be on the lookout for bad behaviour and would have automatically put a stop to any conduct like that because it was understood it would be counterproductive.” It’s striking, given political and media rhetoric, the matter of alleged intimidation toward Ottawa area residents by protesters never rose to the level of a mention by Police Liaison Teams to convoy leaders in constant contact with Ottawa Police. [63]

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki testified that it had been her view that not all existing tools had been exhausted to deal with the Ottawa protest. Lucki also viewed a plan signed off by RCMP, OPP and Ottawa Police as “an amazing plan.” [64]

The City of Ottawa

Chief of Staff to the Mayor, Serge Arpin, testified that an agreement was reached with the protesters by February 12 with the City of Ottawa. Protest leaders had made good on their side of the agreement to begin clearing all protest vehicles from the city proper. City staff took photos on February 14 to document truckers’ compliance with an agreement to move vehicles. A total 102 vehicles were removed that morning, the inquiry was told. “We provided photos that show four or five city streets that were cleared at least three or four blocks deep …. They would knock on every door … speak to every trucker … let them know they believed this is a good thing, that it would take the temperature down and we would see the results.”

Arpin told the inquiry that the agreement, and progress being made the morning of February 14th was “considered a short-term victory for residents overwhelmed by the protest.” For reasons unknown to Arpin “the OPS ended the operation” allowing protest vehicles to leave the city on “the afternoon” of February 14th. The plan was for 75 percent of the protest vehicles to leave the city. There were reports in the media that that plan to move trucks had failed. But Arpin testified that this contention was “premature.” [65]

According to Ottawa City Manager Steve Kanellakos, Freedom Convoy organizers were complying with the agreement to move trucks the day the cabinet declared a national emergency. Kanellakos told the inquiry he had no warning cabinet would invoke the Emergencies Act. He confirmed that no City of Ottawa bylaw officers or tow truck drivers were ever assaulted by the protesters. [66]

Protective Emergency Services Manager for the City of Ottawa, Kim Ayotte, testified that protest leaders cooperated with him and the city in maintaining emergency lanes in downtown Ottawa. He confirmed that the agreement to move protesters trucks out of Ottawa got blocked because of police obstruction. He agreed that “there was no reneging on the deal on behalf of the protesters” to move trucks out of residential areas of Ottawa. [67]

The Senior Gov’t Staff

Former Canada Border Services Agency President, John Ossowski testified that the Situational Report classed all border points at 8:30 a.m. ET on February 14 as “the threat is low.” A Situational Report, at 4:00 p.m. ET, again judged “overall threat is low.” Half an hour later the Prime Minister invoked the Emergencies Act. Asked about CBSA officers having the capacity to preemptively turn American protesters away from Detroit and Sarnia to support the protests, Ossowski said, “Well, it wasn’t an unlawful protest at that point in time before the Emergencies Act, right?” [68]

Deputy Minister of Transport, Michael Keenan, and Chief Economist for Transport Canada, Christian Dea, spoke at the inquiry about economic harms to Canada as a result of border blockades. However, Statistics Canada reported in April that “Cross-border trade between Ontario, Alberta and the U.S. was up for all major types of goods in February, with the notable exception of Ontario’s largest commodity: vehicles and vehicle parts.” [69] On February 11, in an email to his colleagues, Dea concluded “The current net cumulative effect (of the blockades) is relatively small.” [70]

Jody Thomas, the National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister was the first to testify about having advised the Prime Minister to invoke the Emergencies Act. She agreed the Section 2 CSIS threshold was not met. She agreed there was no espionage, no sabotage, no foreign influence, no serious violence, or threat to overthrow the government. However, Thomas, recently appointed on January 11, 2022, felt it important for the government to “broaden the definition” of what constituted a threat to the national security of Canada. Thomas listed “aggressive social media, honking” – which had almost entirely ceased once the provincial injunction was granted on February 7th – “diesel fumes,” what she termed “a wrecking ball” which was actually a crane with a weight, rumours that some “trucks might drive slowly around an Ottawa school,” and ideologically motivated violent extremists – “IMVE” as threats worthy of invoking the act. [71]

For all the governments rhetoric about ideologically motivated violent extremists, the most obvious examples of offensive extremist imagery appeared on Parliament Hill – the lone Confederate flag bearer and the Nazi flag bearer – the authorities were strangely disinterested. They didn’t bother to approach either of the offending flag bearers. Neither the police or CSIS bothered to get their names, license plate numbers or bring them in for questioning. Jody Thomas’ testimony was a lesson in the current state of politics in Canada. If a government feels constrained by what legislation says, it takes a word like ‘threat,’ changes its meaning, and waters down the concept. Presto. Now the definition of the word ‘threat’ is broad enough to encompass what the government needs to declare an emergency.

Janice Charette, Clerk of the Privy Council and secretary to the Cabinet, recalled her directives to others before the Emergencies Act was invoked. “We have to leave no stone unturned…look at every resource to try to help…. No idea too crazy…. Time to think outside the box…. What could we do?” No idea was too crazy or too far outside the box. Except for delegating someone from the government to sit down and have a dialogue with protesters. [72]

Canadian Security and Intelligence Service Director, David Vigneault, told the inquiry that he advised the Prime Minister to invoke the Act. Vigneault conceded the protests didn’t fall into any of the four categories that constitute the threshold of a national security threat as stated in the Act. But, Vigneault explained that National Security Advisor Jody Thomas provided him with an opinion that there could be a broader definition of threat. [73]

The Liberal Cabinet

Bill Blair, Minister of Emergency Preparedness and President of the King’s Privy Council, testified before the inquiry. He described the police action cracking down on the protest on February 18 as “measured and careful…” Said Blair, I’ve never seen it done better.” [74]

Blair didn’t want to see any evidence of police brutality, so he looked the other way. During the public enforcement operation in Ottawa, riot cops on horseback trampled on two protesters, enforcement officers shot a journalist with a tear gas canister, and one officer was seen on camera beating a protester with his rifle. [75]

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety, told the CBC on January 28 that the protesters arriving in Ottawa that day wanted to “overthrow the government through violence.” Before protesters began to assemble on Parliament Hill, the prescient Mendicino warned Nazi and Confederate flags would appear at the protest. [76]

Mendicino testified that a parent told him they didn’t feel safe dropping their son off at a daycare. Mendicino didn’t tell the Commission he was speaking about comments made to him by his own aide, Mike Jones. The Public Safety Minister’s testimony contrasted with that of convoy leader Tom Marazzo. Noting many Ottawa residents came downtown curious about the protests where crowds swelled to 18,000, Marazzo stated “there were thousands of children.” This included infants in strollers, children playing in the snow, building snow sculptures, and playing hockey. [77]

David Lametti, Minister of Justice also advised the Prime Minister to invoke the Emergencies Act. He said this was based on legal advice. However, “For reasons of solicitor-client privilege, Minister Lametti could not describe the various kinds of legal analysis relied upon by cabinet,” a Commission interview summary read. Justice Rouleau told Lametti that by taking this position the government is asking Canadians to “just assume (it) acted in good faith,” to just “trust us.” Asked if he agreed “that Section 2 of the CSIS Act has a different meaning…a different scope based in its reference in the Emergencies Act,” Lametti responded “I will neither confirm nor deny that.” [78]

In a February 23 text, Lametti communicated the need to revoke the Emergencies Act just 44 hours after Parliament had passed the Act. He stated “we needed to stay ahead of the NDP and senators were saying that they would vote against based on their view that there was no longer an emergency.” [79]

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Chrystia Freeland, announced the freezing of hundreds of bank accounts of protesters on February 14. It was made clear in her testimony that none of the funds raised for the convoy involved foreign influence, terrorism or money laundering. Freeland was unsure of the reach of her own orders under the Emergencies Act.  “Just got word from our people in Atlantic Canada that our member hotlines are also lighting up in the East with people worried their accounts will be frozen because they donated to or support the truckers. This is not regionally focused. It’s a problem in many parts of the country,” the Canadian Credit Union Association wrote to the Deputy Prime Minister’s office. Internal records show she was not clear what the impact of the freeze actually was. “Here are some issues for us to think about. What have the banks actually been doing so far? We need to be clear on what you need to do to unfreeze your account if it was frozen because you made a donation” to the convoy wrote Freeland. [80]

In a confidential videoconference with bankers, Freeland said she “couldn’t agree more” with a recommendation that cabinet deploy armed soldiers against the Freedom Convoy. “It is a threat to our democracy,” she said in a discussion that also considered framing protesters as terrorists. Her remarks to bankers followed disclosures at the inquiry that on February 2 David Lametti texted Marco Mendicino regarding the use of troops against protesters. “You need to get the police to move and the Canadian Armed Forces if necessary,” texted Lametti. “How many tanks are you asking for?” asked Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino. “I reckon one will do!!” replied Lametti. Freeland told the bankers “We have to ensure Canada doesn’t enter a post-COVID, January 6th spiral.”  [81]

Under cross-examination Freeland conceded that the regulation to force cross-border truckers to get vaccinated was to compel “as many Canadians to get vaccinated.” The truck driver regulation was being used to send a message to all the unvaccinated. Notes from a meeting with Alberta Premier Jason Kenney questioned Ottawa’s position. “I do not understand the public health rationale, given the level of transmission. Truckers are isolated in cabs, can do rapid tests. Thought it was an unnecessary provocation…” [82] Aside from the US-Canada and US-Mexico border, truck drivers crossed borders regardless of vaccination status into almost every other nation on the planet. Elsewhere they had an essential service exemption.

In justifying his invocation of the Emergencies Act, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau explained “There was the use of children as human shields. There was the presence of trucks with unknown interiors.”

Trudeau denied there was any police plan to deal with the protesters, calling it a “so-called plan.” Counsel for the OPP showed him the 73-page detailed document: the Integrated Mobilization Operational Plan of February 13. It was signed off by the RCMP, OPP and Ottawa Police Service. Trudeau admitted he’d never seen the document, but insisted nonetheless he had no confidence in it. Similarly, the Prime Minister complained that he didn’t know who among the protesters anyone in the federal government could have had discussions with. This, despite ongoing negotiations between police and protest leaders, and protest leaders with the City of Ottawa, both unfolding in real time. [83]

During his cross examination, Trudeau was reminded he had referred to protesters as a “fringe minority with unacceptable views,” and as “racists, misogynists” and other labels. [84] Trudeau’s depiction of the protest was a disconnect for those who showed up to see it for themselves. Indo-Canadian journalist Rupa Subramanya went into the crowd several times daily to interview protesters. She observed, “These people were a cross section of Canadians, mostly working class…. I saw women, people of colour, I saw children, I saw the old, I saw the  young… I didn’t encounter a single racist, or white supremacist or misogynist. These were some of the warmest and friendliest people I’ve ever met in my life in Canada, in the more than two decades I’ve lived here…. There was a total disconnect between what I experienced as a person of colour and the narrative” in the media. [85] A visible minority of protesters in Ottawa included First Nations, Afro-Canadians, Indo-Canadians, South Asian Canadians, immigrants from Cuba, and China. As well there were many protesters who had come to Canada having fled the Warsaw Pact nations of Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Romania and former East Germany.

Newsweek reported that an Instagram account called “pocfreedomconvoy” quickly gained over 60,000 followers of ‘People of Color.’ “The vaccine mandates have hurt Black families more than almost any other group in the country. Black communities in Canada…are disproportionately unvaccinated.” [86] Asked under oath about his description of the unvaccinated and other protesters as racist, Trudeau insisted “I did not call people names.” [87]

Trudeau was given high marks for appearing before the inquiry. He appeared relaxed. “I am absolutely, absolutely serene and confident that I made the right choice in agreeing with the invocation,” he said in earnest. [88] Among those in the audience listening to Trudeau was Candice Sero, a Mohawk woman with a walker who was trampled by mounted horses at the protest. [89]

The Aftermath

Reflecting on the support of the convoy, Tom Marazzo stated in a phone call, “What we do know is that there were over 175,000 people who donated in this country. And the ones that were out-of-country, their IP addresses were overwhelmingly Canadian…. In 2021, 26.3 million (was raised by) the Conservatives and 18.1 (raised in donations by) the Liberals. While the convoy raised over $24 million in under a month.” [90]

Writing for the National Post, Rex Murphy observed “The bar against invoking it (Emergencies Act), because of the power it gives to the state is, very rightly, extremely high, tightly defined, and definitionally clear…. There is no reference to speculative or ungrounded projections…for invoking the act.” [91]

The Liberal government refuses to debate or discuss the basis for their policy decisions. They seek an obedient and compliant citizenry. They deliver claims that seem more and more to be made for their shock value. Yet, like the vaccine travel mandates, they can’t withstand any scrutiny. [92] Was the Canada-US border more dangerous for unvaccinated truck drivers to cross? Compared to other national borders, unvaccinated drivers were allowed to cross almost universally elsewhere. Were trucks in Canada more susceptible to the virus than in other continents? Were supply chain issues less important to the Canadian government than for most other nations on the globe where drivers continued to enjoy an exemption from vaccination?

Like a bad post-modern version of Chicken Little, the Canadian government senses the sky is falling. During the protests it stoked flames of fear, while dismissing all non-threatening possibilities. Children playing in bouncy castles, or sitting in the passenger seat of a truck with a parent, are construed as evidence of threats to national security – as human shields. The surprise is that a container of borscht at an outdoor food truck on Parliament Hill did not become a headline story: ‘Foreign Soup Signals Russian Influence.’

The protests in Ottawa and border points appeared to the sitting government last winter like something out of a Hieronymous Bosch painting. Anything that could be reasonably perceived as grounds for reassurance or encouragement – any sign of tangible progress between police or city officials in Ottawa, or at ports of entry – were folded into an ever-darkening landscape.

What a difference could it have made if the protesters, working with the City of Ottawa and local police, had been allowed to move all protest vehicles out of residential and downtown areas – except on Wellington Street – by the end of February 16? What a difference could it have made if federal officials had sat down with key protest leaders and listened to their concerns about cross-border mandates for truck drivers that, outside of US-Canada and US-Mexico, were not imposed elsewhere? Concerns about the wisdom of these restrictions were echoed by several provincial premiers and 16 state governors in the USA. [93] By noon on February 14, the protest leaders were shown to be honest brokers as over a hundred vehicles were removed on schedule. Instead, the nation was treated to the high drama of invocation of the Emergencies Act.

Democratic society is not served well by a political elite whose aggressions are aroused when citizens question their policies. The refusal of the federal government to delegate someone to sit down and listen to the protesters reflects a political class profoundly cut off from the people they serve. Instead of speaking with the protesters, the government resorted to theoretical models. From a distance, they wondered: Are the protesters actually right-wing Christians, protesting vaccine mandates only as a ruse to get more disciples? [94] You know, the kind of people who study Ten Commandments like, for example, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against your neighbour.”

The government, by its resort to the Emergencies Act appears disinterested in the messiness of democracy. It’s strangely averse to the unpredictability of where dialogue might lead. But, if most of Canadian political history is any guide, the risk of open debate, novelty, and the search for common ground is worth the effort. When real violence appears, authorities already have the legal tools in existing law to maintain law and order.

The protesters were peacefully assembling in front of Parliament Hill as a last resort of engagement with their government, since all other avenues for discourse had failed, been ignored or censored. Scientists, health professionals and professors were deplatformed or fired from their jobs. Many of the people at the protest in Ottawa, like Tom Marazzo, had lost their jobs.

The media, by exaggerating police incompetence where real progress was proceeding, fed a narrative of overwhelm. It shares part of the blame in stoking an emotional tone in which the government  could rationalize its use of extraordinary measures. The media narrative, enmeshed as it was, helped the Liberals forcefully let those it governs know it cannot be pushed around. Now that the genie is out of the bottle, how tempting will it be for future governments to seek to “broaden the definition” of a “threat to national security,” in order to bring on the mounted horses? The government and the media have demonstrated the Canadian public can be galvanized to the point of visceral disgust toward any group it seeks to vilify. After the inquiry, a Nanos poll found two-thirds of Canadians supported, or somewhat supported, government action to quash the Freedom Convoy. [95] Farmers, environmentalists, all who dare dissent, pay close attention.


  1. Furey, Anthony, “The Emergencies Act is far more dangerous than you think: Full Comment with Anthony Furey,” National Post, February 21, 2022. Audio interview with Ryan Alford, author of Permanent State of Emergency.   See also “Roundtable Discussion: National Security and Public Order Emergencies,” Public Order Emergency Commission, November 30, 2022, pp. 1-89.
  2. McDonald, D.C., “Commission of Inquiry Concerning Certain Activities of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police,” Privy Council Office of Canada, 1981.
  3. Osman, Laura, “When it comes to Emergencies Act justification, ‘trust us’ is not enough: ex-minister,” Global News, May 8, 2022.
  4. Public Order Emergency Commission, October 13 to November 25, 2022.
  5. PC Number 2022-0392, Government of Canada, April 25, 2022.
  6. McGinnis, Ray, “The Freedom Convoy and the Collapse of Canadian Liberalism,”, May 23, 2022.
  7. McGinnis, Ray, “Propaganda Trudeau Style,”, June 29, 2022.
  8. “Harper agrees to meet with First Nations leaders after weeks of protests,” National Post, January 4, 2013.
  9. D’Amore, Rachael, “CN Rail layoffs will ‘further complicate’ tangled supply chain, industries say,” Global News February 19, 2020.
  10. Draaisma, Muriel, “Rail blockades to lead to shortages of propane and consumer goods, 2 national groups say,” CBC, February 16, 2020.
  11. “Via Rail issues temporary layoffs to nearly 1,000 workers as blockades continue,” CBC, February 16, 2020.
  12. Wakerell-Cruz, Roberto, “As anti-pipeline blockades continue, grocery stores are starting to run out of goods,” The Post Millennial, February 24, 2020.
  13. Tasker, John Paul, “Trudeau calls for ‘dialogue’ as blockade cripples rail network, while Scheer says clear out the protesters,” CBC, February 14, 2020.
  1. Howard, Victor, “On to Ottawa Trek and Regina Riot,” The Canadian Encyclopedia, February 7, 2006.
  2. “PM Trudeau visits Parliament Hill protest teepee,” CTV, June 30, 2017.
  3. Testimony of CSIS Director David Vigneault, Public Order Emergency Commission, November 21, 2022, pp. 1-162. RCMP officer emails reflected a lack of urgency. “It would be a stretch to say the trucks barricading the streets and the air horns blaring at whatever decibels for however many days constitute the ‘use of force.’” “Emails Ridicule Mark Carney,” Blacklock’s Reporter, December 12, 2022.
  4. The G7 is made up of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union (which included 27 member states).
  5. Blanchfield, Mike and Taylor, Stephanie, “Business groups urge feds to reverse vaccine mandate for cross-border truckers,” Global News, January 24, 2022.
  6. Heppner, Kevin, “Thousands of truckers prepared to walk due to vaccine mandates, warn Canadian trucking groups,” Real Agriculture, Altona, AB, December 13, 2021.
  7. Snyder, Julie, “Justin Trudeau débarque à La semaine des 4 Julie,” La semaine des 4 Julie, September 16, 2021.
  8. Hains, Tim, “CDC Director: Vaccines No Longer Prevent You From Spreading COVID,” Real Clear Politics, August 6, 2021. CDC Director Rachel Wallensky appeared on CNN’s Wolf Blitzer
  9. “5.3.6 Cumulative Analysis Of Post-Authorization Adverse Event Reports Of PF-07302048 (BNT162B2) Received Through 28-FEB-2021,” Worldwide Safety, Pfizer, April 30, 2021, p. 7.
  10. Malhotra, Dr. Aseem, “Curing the pandemic of misinformation on COVID-19 mRNA vaccines through real evidence-based medicine – Part 1,” Journal of Insulin Resistance, Vol 5, No 1, September 26, 2022.
  11. Bergman, Frank, “18-Year-Old Athlete with ‘No Signs of Heart Issues’ Suffers ‘Sudden Cardiac Arrest’ during Tennis Practice,” Slay News, October 23, 2022.
  12. Jerkovich, Katie, “College Football Player Collapses Suddenly, Dies at 21,” Daily Wire, September 6, 2022.
  13. Sherdley, Rebecca, “13-year-old died ‘sudden cardiac death’ after collapsing at football match,” Nottingham Post, UK, October 19, 2022.
  14. Pontalti, di Leonardo, “Suddenly died at 24: Traian was killed by brain hemorrhage, a few days after the vaccine,” L’Adige, Italy, October 27, 2022.
  15. “DelVecchio, Steve, “Penguins star Kris Lletang suffers stroke,” Larry Brown Sports, November 30, 2022.
  16. Lawton, Andrew, The Freedom Convoy: The Inside Story Of Three Weeks That Shook The World, Sutherland House, 2022, 52.
  17. Ibid, 55.
  18. “Mr. Tom Marazzo, Affirmed,” Public Order Emergency Commission, November 2, 2022, 117-211.
  19. “Ms. Tamara Lich, Sworn,” Public Order Emergency Commission, November 3, 2022, 264-351.
  20. Dzurdzsa, Cosmin, “Feds ditch interprovincial COVID-19 vaccine mandate for truckers,” True North, March 3, 2022.
  1. (See Note 32)
  2. “Ms. Tamara Lich, Sworn,” Public Order Emergency Commission, November 4, 2022, 59-60. In a phone call with Tom Mazarro, he told me of paramedics who recalled Ottawa’s Blues Fest and yearly Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa saw more arrests than the convoy protests.
  3. “Mr. Daniel Bulford, Sworn,” Public Order Emergency Commission, November 4, 2022, 220-314.
  4. “Ms. Margaret Hope-Braun, Sworn,” Public Order Emergency Commission, November 4, 2022, 90-91ff. When pressed under cross examination to substantiate allegations of rape, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said “The absence of a criminal charge doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.” Freedom Convoy lawyer, Eva Chipiuk, tweeted on December 7, 2022, “Compare 1 night of Stanley Cup rioting where 268 people were charged with a total of 814 charges to 3 weeks of Freedom Convoy and 11 charges, ZERO hate crimes, and we don’t know how many of those were protesters because @OttawaPolice did not provide those details.”
  5. “Mr. Christopher Deering, Sworn,” Public Order Emergency Commission, November 4, 2022, 87.
  6. Ibid, 96-97.
  7. “Mr. Keith Wilson, Sworn,” Public Order Emergency Commission, November 2, 2022, 1-116.
  8. Langager, Brody, “BC Truckers protest unsafe highways,” My Cariboo Now, January 23, 2022.
  9. “Mr. Peter Sloly, Resumed,” Public Order Emergency Commission, October 31, 2022, 94-98.
  10. Wagner, David, “CBC Interview Alluding to Russian Involvement in Trucker Protests Breached Journalistic Standards: Ombudsman,” Epoch Times, October 13, 2022.
  11. Pushaw, Christina, Twitter, January 29, 11:20 AM^tfw|twcamp^tweetembed|twterm^1487506015709011972|twgr^|twcon^s1_&
  1. (See Note 36).
  2. “Convoy Allegation Disproven,” Blacklock’s Reporter, April 29, 2022.
  3. Pasiuk, Emily, “Edmonton-area MP under fire for photo of him near flag bearing Nazi symbol,” CBC, January 30, 2022.
  4. “Claim Flag Man was Publicist,” Blacklock’s Reporter, November 22, 2022.  See also “Minister Marco Mendicino, Sworn,” Public Order Emergency Commission, November 22, 2022, 188-194. also Levant, Ezra, “Did we ever find out who was carrying the Nazi flag at the trucker convoy?,” Rebel News, November 25, 2022.
  5. Kay, Jonathan, Twitter, February 6, 2022, 1:36 p.m.^tfw|twcamp^tweetembed|twterm^1490439304224686082|twgr^566f2eb6dac10c29054e42443132e9ed7e2a9796|twcon^s1_&
  6. “Ottawa Deputy Police Chief on Response to Trucker Protest,” Ottawa Police Press Conference, Ottawa, February 8, 2022.
  7. Lord, Craig, “Ottawa man charged in February apartment arson, police dismiss convoy connection,” Global News, March 21, 2021.
  1. Subramanya, Rupa, “Justin Trudeau’s case against the Freedom Convoy falls on its face: How are our elected officials who purvey what can only be called misinformation be held to account?, ****National Post, October 21, 2022.
  2. McLachlin, Beverley, “The Ottawa convoy has revealed the ugly side of freedom,” Globe & Mail, February 22, 2022.
  3. Emails to Ray McGinnis from Brian Peckford on June 22, 2022, and former RCMP officer Daniel Bulford confirmed no legal action was taking place against anyone associated with the Ottawa protests related to uttering death threats against the prime minister. In a text to Ray McGinnis on December 4, 2022, Tom Marazzo wrote “No person associated with the convoy was charged with such a crime” (uttering death threats against the prime minister).
  4. Fauklner, Harrison, “OPP officer says no intel of convoy violence – Day 5 recap of Emergencies Act hearings,” True North, October 19, 2022.
  5. “Supt. Patrick Morris, Sworn,” Public Order Emergency Commission, October 19, 202, pp. 184-305.
  6. “Acting Supt. Marcel Beaudin, Affirmed,” Public Order Emergency Commission, October 25, 2022, 191-194.
  1. Chartier, Noe, “Public Safety Minister’s Deputy Sought Engagement With Convoy Protesters but Was Denied by Top Ministers,” Epoch Times, October 25, 2022.
  2. Ivison, John, “It’s becoming clear that the federal government overreached to shut down the freedom convoy,” National Post, October 26, 2022.
  3. “Mr. Peter Sloly, Resumed,” Public Order Emergency Commission, October 31, 2022, 76-77, 91.
  4. “Claimed Convoy Was Armed,” Blacklock’s Reporter, October, 13, 2022.
  5. Ray McGinnis phone call with Tom Marazzo, December 1, 2022.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Tunney, Catherine, “Memo advising PM to invoke Emergencies Act admitted its interpretation was ‘vulnerable’: docs,” CBC, November 18, 2022.
  8. “Mr. Serge Arpin, Sworn,” Public Order Emergency Commission, October 17, 2022, 196-330.
  1. “Mr. Steve Kanellakos, Sworn,” Public Order Emergency Commission, October 17, 2022, 141-169.
  2. “Mr. Kim Ayotte, Sworn” Public Order Emergency Commission, October 18, 2022, 208-277.
  3. “Mr. John Ossowski, Affirmed,” Public Order Emergency Commission, November 16, 2022, 1-110.
  1. Hartshorn, Max, “The economic nightmare that wasn’t? Border blockades had little effect on trade, data reveals,” Global News, April 26, 2022.
  2. “Gov’t Claim Was ‘Too Cute,’” Blacklock’s Reporter, November 28, 2022.
  3. “Ms. Jody Thomas, Sworn,” Public Order Emergency Commission, November 17, 2022, 172-323.
  4. “Ms. Janice Charette, Sworn,” Public Order Emergency Commission, November 18, 2022, 105-309.
  5. (See Note 16).
  6. “Minister William Blair, Sworn,” Public Order Emergency Commission, November 21, 2022, 163-363.
  7. Nightingale, Hannah, “Elderly woman trampled by mounted police at freedom protest in Ottawa,” Post Millennial,February 18, 2022.; And “Ottawa, February 18, 2022,” Rumble, February 19, 2022.
  1. “‘This is not a convoy that is about freedom,’ says public safety minister ahead of weekend demonstrations,” CBC, January 28, 2022.
  2. Phone call with Tom Mazarro, December 1, 2022.
  3. “Minister David Lametti, Sworn,” Public Order Emergency Commission, November 23, 2022, 94.
  4. Ibid. Discussed in exchange with The Democracy Fund lawyer Alan Honner.
  5. “Depositors Lit Up The Phones,” Blacklock’s Reporter, December 7, 2022. 
  6. “Liked To Deploy The Military,” Blacklock’s Reporter, November 25, 2022.
  7. “Deputy PM, Chrystia Freeland, Sworn,” Public Order Emergency Commission, November 24, 2022, 1-158.
  1. “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Affirmed,” Public Order Emergency Commission, November 25, 2022, 2-192.
  2. Gilmore, Rachel, “‘Fringe minority’ in truck convoy with ‘unacceptable views’ don’t represent Canadians: Trudeau,” Global News, January 26, 2022.
  1. “Why the truckers’ revolt matters: Rupa Subramanya talks to Brendan O’Neill about the populist earthquake in Canada,” Spiked, UK, February 24, 2022.
  2. Jivani, Jamil, “Stop Calling the Truckers Racist. Many Black Canadians Support Them,” Newsweek, February 11, 2022.
  3. (See Note 83).
  1. Subramanya, Rupa, “Trudeau will face no sanction for using the Emergencies Act,” National Post, November 30, 2022.
  2. Lavoie, Alexandra, “What happened to Candice Sero after she was trampled by police horses in Ottawa?,” Rebel News, November 30, 2022. RCMP Constable Scott Peever texted fellow officers to let them know he thought the trampling was “awesome.”
  3. Phone call with Tom Mazarro, December 1, 2022.
  4. Murphy, Rex, “Trudeau’s Emergencies Act theatre pure distraction,” National Post, November 28, 2022.
  5. Supramanya, Rupa, “The tyranny of Justin Trudeau has finally been exposed – and by two Brits, no less,” Telegraph, UK, August 12, 2022.
  6. Thomson, Carol, “Premiers Moe and Kenny And Sixteen U.S. Governors Urge For U.S. And Canada To Bring Back Trucker Vaccine Exemptions,” CJW Radio, Saskatoon, SK, February 16, 2022.
  7. “Saw ‘Right Wing Christians’” Blacklock’s Reporter, November 9, 2022.
  1. “Most Canadians back invocation of Emergencies Act during ‘Freedom Convoy’ protests: Nanos,” CTV, December 5, 2022.

(Featured Image: 2021.03.05. by Taylor Hartley is licensed under Public Domain Mark 1.0)


  • Ray McGinnis

    Ray McGinnis is author of Unanswered Questions: What the September Eleventh Families Asked and the 9/11 Commission Ignored (2021). Previously, he authored Writing the Sacred: A Psalm-inspired Path to Appreciating and Writing Sacred Poetry (2005). Since 1999, Ray has taught journal writing workshops for people dealing with grief and loss, to first responders and in health care facilities. He has also taught poetry writing and memoir workshops across North America. Ray is interested in the stories we tell, the narratives we trust, and how this shapes our world. This includes not just personal stories, but news headline like the Narrative about September 11, and other headlines that saturate citizens with slanted media messages. Earlier in his career, Ray was a program staff in education for the United Church of Canada, serving in several congregations, as well as at the denominations national office (1986-95). He lives in Vancouver, Canada.

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  • Ray McGinnis

    Ray McGinnis is author of Unanswered Questions: What the September Eleventh Families Asked and the 9/11 Commission Ignored (2021). Previously, he authored Writing the Sacred: A Psalm-inspired Path to Appreciating and Writing Sacred Poetry (2005). Since 1999, Ray has taught journal writing workshops for people dealing with grief and loss, to first responders and in health care facilities. He has also taught poetry writing and memoir workshops across North America. Ray is interested in the stories we tell, the narratives we trust, and how this shapes our world. This includes not just personal stories, but news headline like the Narrative about September 11, and other headlines that saturate citizens with slanted media messages. Earlier in his career, Ray was a program staff in education for the United Church of Canada, serving in several congregations, as well as at the denominations national office (1986-95). He lives in Vancouver, Canada.

    View all posts