Banks, the auto industry and the United States pressured the Trudeau government to end the “freedom convoy” that branded Canada as “a banana republic.”
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Two days before the Emergencies Act was invoked, the big bosses of two of Canada’s biggest banks, TD and the Bank of Montreal, personally called Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland in the midst of of the week, to shake up the government.
In two separate calls, they told Mr.me Freeland “that there had been immediate economic repercussions and that they had heard from international investors that confidence in Canada was diminishing hour by hour,” the minister told the Rouleau Commission.
“I spent a lot of time in the United States last week and we were talked about as a joke. An investor told me, ‘I won’t invest a penny more in your banana republic,’” reads a summary of those conversations filed in evidence with the commission.
At the same time, Prime Minister Trudeau exchanged calls with US President Joe Biden, who was worried that the convoy would face children on his side of the border, particularly in Washington and on the sidelines of the Super Bowl.
Fear of relocation
In addition to the bankers, the big bosses of the auto factories heavily dependent on the flow of goods on the Ambassador Bridge, in Windsor, have multiplied their calls for help from Minister Freeland. Many had to reduce their production rate during the blockade of this border bridge.
“This is really hitting us hard now like many others, and I’m afraid of the worst, the long term consequences of shutting down production lines because you’re running out of parts is just going to convince car companies to pull back again. more and to relocate their supply elsewhere”, writes a business manager to him by text message on February 11.
A few hours after the start of the blockade, the Democratic representative of Michigan, Elissa Slotkin, indeed declared that this event demonstrated that the United States could not depend on other countries for its manufacturing industry.
Brian Deese, the director of the National Economic Council of the United States, an influential actor for Canada-United States exchanges, also personally called Mr.me Freeland to let him know of his concern.
The minister inferred from this call “that the United States expected Canada to quickly regain control of the situation, and a failure could have a devastating effect on the commercial relationship between Canada and the United States” , says the interview summary of Mme Freeland with the Commission.
“An attack on a country’s economy can fundamentally undermine a country’s national security,” Mr.me Freeland.