Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino’s deputy minister says Mendicino was “misunderstood” when he repeatedly said law enforcement requested the government’s invocation of the Emergencies Act to clamp down on the Freedom Convoy.

“The advice we received was to invoke the Emergencies Act,” Mendicino told the  special Joint Committee on the Declaration of Emergency back in April.

Numerous policing leaders, from the Ottawa police chief to the RCMP commissioner, have denied this.

Public safety deputy minister Rob Stewart told the special Joint Committee on the Declaration of Emergency, the parliamentary committee digging into Trudeau’s use of the Emergencies Act, that he believed what Mendicino “was trying to express was that law enforcement asked for the tools that were contained in the Emergencies Act.” ” 

Mendicino referenced supposed law enforcement requests for the Emergencies Act in several statements to the media and in the House of Commons going back to February.

Blacklock’s Reporter publisher Holly Doan identified 11 occasions on which Mendicino claimed cabinet was acting on police advice.

“We saw borders shut, we saw Canadians laid off, and we saw our communities and our neighbourhoods in danger. That is the reason why we had to invoke the Emergencies Act, and we did so on the basis of non-partisan, professional advice from law enforcement,” said Mendicino in February.

Mendicino also stated in April that the Emergencies Act was “put forward after police officials told us they needed this special power.”

In May, Mendicino said that “at the recommendation of police, we invoked the Emergencies Act to protect Canadians because keeping Canadians safe will always be this government’s priority.”

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki told the special joint committee that while law enforcement had been consulted by the government about invoking the Act, the RCMP did not request it.

“There was never a question of requesting the Emergencies Act,” said Lucki, adding that she was unaware of any police authority that had made the request for the Act.

Ottawa’s interim Police Chief Steve Bell told a parliamentary committee that his department had not made a direct request to the Trudeau government for the Emergencies Act to be invoked. 

“We were involved in conversations with our partners and with the political ministries,” said Bell, adding, “we didn’t make a direct request for the Emergencies Act.”

Former Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly also stated that he never requested the invocation of the Emergencies Act.

The special Joint Committee on the Declaration of Emergency was formed on Mar. 3 to investigate Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s decision to invoke the Emergencies Act on Feb. 14 to crack down on weeks-long Freedom Convoy demonstrations against government COVID-19 mandates and restrictions. 

Mendicino’s office did not respond to a request for comment by time of publication.

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