It’s becoming clearer that the Liberal government relied on biased legacy media reporting on the Freedom Convoy to justify its overreach to quash demonstrations.

The deputy minister of justice told the Special Joint Committee on the Declaration of Emergency that television news broadcasts helped lead to invoking the Emergencies Act. 

According to Blacklock’s Reporter, while testifying before the committee, deputy minister Francois Daigle said what he saw “by watching TV” made it clear that the government had to adopt emergency powers. 

“What I saw by watching TV is that police in Ottawa, for example, because I live in that area and I followed that closely, they had trouble enforcing even municipal bylaws or provincial laws,” said Daigle. 

“Which ones?” asked Senator Claude Carignan. 

“For example the Highway Traffic Act,” said Daigle. 

“And you know that because you saw it on TV?” replied Carignan. 

Daigle did not cite which particular laws the police had trouble enforcing during his entire testimony.

This is not the first instance where faulty and biased legacy media reporting influenced the conduct of the Liberal government towards the convoy. According to an explanatory document tabled in the House of Commons in February, Ottawa cited a misleading CBC News analysis as the rationale behind freezing the bank account of convoy supporters.

The Liberals referenced “the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s February 14, 2022 analysis of the data” of hacked GiveSendGo donors which falsely claimed that most of the donations to the convoy came from the US. Testimonies by other donation platforms and Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada officials have disputed this claim showing that a majority of funds donated to the cause originated in Canada.

Ottawa police chiefs and the RCMP commissioner have also all rebuked the Liberal government’s claim that law enforcement requested for the Act to be invoked. 

The most recent was former Ottawa police chief Peter Sloly – who was in charge during the Freedom Convoy protests before stepping down.

During a committee hearing in May, Conservative MP Kelly McCauley asked the former police chief if he or anyone else in the police force requested the government to invoke the never-before-used act.

“I did not make that request, and I’m not aware of anybody else in the Ottawa Police Service who did,” replied Sloly.

During the Tuesday committee meeting, Mendicino’s deputy minister Rob Stewart told members that the minister was “misunderstood” when he said the police asked him to invoke emergency powers. 

“The advice we received was to invoke the Emergencies Act,” claimed Mendicino in April. 

Both Mendicino and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau repeated the claim that law enforcement called for the Act on several occasions.