The RCMP wanted to keep the Emergency Measures Act in place for weeks and feared revoking the emergency powers ‘sends a powerful message to protesters’ as the inquiry examines the government’s decision to invoke the legislation ever previously used was heard on Thursday.
In speaking notes prepared for RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki for a Feb. 20 meeting with federal cabinet ministers and senior security officials, she opposed the revocation of the legislation, which had granted emergency powers officers.
“As far as Ottawa and Ontario are concerned, there is an operational need to maintain access to these powers to ensure that we can finish what we have started and prevent any retrenchment. Even for the next 2-3 weeks” , read Lucki’s notes.
“Revoking or withdrawing the act now will send a powerful message to protesters.”
Lucki’s notes indicate that the powers given to police by the Emergency Act – such as the ability to compel tow trucks to move vehicles, freeze certain bank accounts and ban bringing minors into areas of demonstration – were helpful.
According to the notes, Lucki feared the protesters would return.
“Some protesters are in the red zone at hotels and have told police they are not leaving,” the document said.
“It is simply too early to revoke the Emergencies Act.”
Brian Clow, one of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s deputy chiefs of staff, said Thursday that was the opinion of the RCMP until those emergency powers were revoked on February 23, nine days after that the government has triggered the Emergencies Act.
“The RCMP believed that powers were essential,” he testified.
“That point of view would have been taken into account and was taken into account, but at the end of the day the Prime Minister and the [Incident Response Group] decided to revoke when they decide to revoke…”
Katie Telford, Trudeau’s chief of staff, told the inquiry it was important for the prime minister to ensure the emergency powers did not remain active “one minute longer than absolutely necessary” .
The commission has already heard how, the day before the law was invoked, Lucki told the chief of staff to the Minister of Public Security, Marco Mendicino, that she did not believe that the police had yet exhausted all the tools available. .
Lucki has since publicly stated that she supports the government’s decision to invoke the Emergencies Act.