Transcript reveals Trudeau’s call with former Tory interim leader
OTTAWA — A newly released document shows former interim Conservative leader Candice Bergen acknowledging that the premier must « be careful » and not « set a bad precedent » when it comes to demanding that he meets the demonstrators of the convoy.
As the prime minister testified on Friday, a rough transcript of a Feb. 3 call was shown during a public inquiry into Justin Trudeau’s use of the Emergencies Act.
Prime Minister’s Office officials previously told investigating lawyers that Bergen had agreed there were « significant concerns » to address when meeting with convoy participants, the state said Thursday. investigation.
That statement contradicts Bergen’s recollection of a call with Trudeau, she later said in a statement sent to The Star.
On Friday, the transcript posted during the hearing provided more context to the conversation between Trudeau and Bergen when he called her to congratulate her on being elected interim leader.
It shows that Bergen and Trudeau each acknowledged that they didn’t always agree, and Bergen said: « I would agree with you, the goal is to (…) find a way for people go home and clear things up in Ottawa », and said « extending an olive branch » would be an option, and said « we would even like to be able to work together to make that happen ».
Trudeau, according to the transcript, replied, « We all need to focus on bringing the temperature down and getting back to normal life, » but he said « some of their demands are not valid. »
Trudeau went on to say, “We have our democracy and our institutions worth fighting for. There are ways to go beyond that. I’m afraid to set a precedent where if someone wants something they can put up a blockade” on Wellington Street. « People need to be heard and that’s part of our democracy and finding the right balance. »
The transcript records that Bergen then said, “Agree with everything you said. I think you have to be careful and as prime minister you don’t want to set a bad precedent. I’m sure you’re talking and have ideas. If there’s anyway (sic) we can help, that’s really what we want and we want to see the temperature go down.
When their call first surfaced on Thursday, Bergen said the PMO’s characterization of the conversation didn’t match his recollection.
Bergen stuck to her stance on Friday, saying the transcript supported her recollections; however, she says her mistake was believing Trudeau meant it when he said he wanted people to feel heard and wanted a peaceful resolution.
Bergen said Trudeau had « a long habit of twisting the conversations and interactions he has with people. »
« It can be seen from reading our discussion that I agreed with the Prime Minister that he could not necessarily acquiesce to protesters’ demands, that people needed to be heard and that involved dialogue. I also agreed with him and that he shouldn’t set a bad precedent.
« Ironically, this bad precedent was actually set when he chose not to engage in discussion, not to lower the temperature and to invoke the Emergencies Act unnecessarily. »
After the Tories dumped Erin O’Toole as leader and Bergen replaced him, she hammered Trudeau for weeks for not meeting with protesters to defuse tensions and for invoking the Security Measures Act. ’emergency.
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