Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino’s office has come out with an explanation for why the minister said that the government was acting on the advice of law enforcement when the Trudeau Liberals invoked the Emergencies Act on February 14.
According to public safety senior official Rob Stewart, Mendicino was "misunderstood" when he told a committee in April that the government was in contact with law enforcement, and that the advice received by the Liberals was to invoke the Emergencies Act.
Stewart said that Mendicino didn’t mean police directly asked for the law to be used.
"I believe that the intention that he was trying to express was that law enforcement asked for the tools that were contained in the Emergencies Act," Stewart said, according to the National Post.
Exactly who requested for the Emergencies Act to be invoked has now become a type of whodunit, as various police officials all claim to have never requested it in the first place.
Earlier this week, former Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly testified that, it his knowledge, a request for the act to be used was not made by himself or anyone in the Ottawa Police Service.
"I did not make that request and I'm not aware of anyone else in the Ottawa Police Service who did," said Sloly on Thursday.
Two weeks earlier, Interim Police Chief Steve Bell appeared at a Tuesday committee hearing, where he told MP Andrew Scheer that police were involved in conversations with federal ministries, but said that "We didn’t make a direct request for the Emergencies Act."
Bell himself was echoing statements made by RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki, who said in early May that no such request was made to the Trudeau Liberals.
Liberal minister Marco Mendicino had said on February 28 that the Trudeau government was "acting on the advice of law enforcement members."
"Mr. Speaker, the Emergencies Act was essential to law enforcement success in ending blockades and protests across the country," said Mendicino.
"We always said we would not keep the act in force for any longer than was necessary, and we made good on that commitment. As we have said since the beginning, we are acting on the advice of law enforcement members and giving them the tools they need. We will continue to provide all of the enforcement tools that are required to maintain public safety."
Mendicino continued to say this throughout April, when he told committee that the protests were a "massive illegal occupation" and that the Trudeau government was engaged with law enforcement to ensure that the correct measures were taken.
"However, when efforts using existing authorities proved ineffective, the advice we received was to invoke the Emergencies Act," he said, according to the Globe and Mail.
Mendicino has claimed that there was a strong consensus among law enforcement that the act was necessary, saying again that the government sought the advice of law enforcement before invoking the act.
"The government in good faith sought the advice of law enforcement prior to its invocation on very specific powers, which were then subsequently used by law enforcement to restore public safety at a time of unprecedented civil disobedience in the opinion of professional, non-partisan police," he said.
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