Trudeau's invoking Emergencies Act led to increase in 'anti-authority rhetoric': CSIS

CSIS Director David Vigneault told the inquiry that he advised Trudeau to use the Emergencies Act, even though it didn't meet the agency's strict definition of a threat to Canadian security.

The inquiry into the use of the Emergencies Act continued today with questions about whether its invocation galvanized anti-government narratives within the convoy, as the initial report suggested it might.

Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) Director, David Vigneault, testified on Monday alongside deputy director of operations, Michelle Tessier, and Integrated Terrorism Assessment Executive Director, Marie-Helene Chayer.

The inquiry commissioner, Justice Paul Rouleau, asked a question to Michelle Tessier regarding a comment she wrote in a report for the commission where she stated that there was less online anti-government rhetoric than they anticipated.

Rouleau pointed her to a paragraph in the section "Threat Assessment Concerning Invoking the Emergencies Act" that said, "Ms. Tessier explained that there was an initial increase in online rhetoric after the invocation, but because it was announced at the same time as public health measures being lowered, the increase petered out."

Asked by Rouleau if that was correct, she confirmed that that was their assessment.

"So it wasn't as aggravated as perhaps the assessment first foresaw," Rouleau asked.

"I would say that's very specific to the Emergencies Act itself," Tessier replied.

Following this implication that she was perhaps trying to justify the Emergencies Act by using false specifics, she confirmed that there was indeed an increase, as was predicted in the assessment.

"We have most certainly seen, as I explained earlier, an increase in anti-authority rhetoric," she stated. 

It was revealed last week that the CSIS warned the federal government that invoking the Emergencies Act could radicalize protesters in the Freedom Convoy and potentially push some toward violence.

Despite this, Director Vigneault told the inquiry that he advised Trudeau to use the Emergencies Act, even though it didn't meet the CSIS's strict definition of a threat to Canadian security.

This week will be the final week of public hearings into the use of the Emergencies Act.

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