The effects of last winter’s protests and blockades, tied to their intention to “overthrow” the government, led Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino to judge it was necessary to invoke the Emergencies Act, according to his testimony before the Public Order Emergency Commission on Nov. 22.
“The fact that all of this was tied to a politically stated objective, to overthrow the government if it refused to reverse course on pandemic policy—and the challenges that were presented to the security and intelligence community and the broader law enforcement community and understanding what the nature of this protest was, and why it was so difficult and challenging to restore public safety—all drew me to the conclusion that we met the threshold,” said Mendicino.
Mendicino linked that political objective to what he called the “original manifesto” of the Freedom Convoy, a probable reference to James Bauder’s Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) posted on his Canada Unity website at the time.
The minister said that in his opinion, this was the “spark for the so-called Freedom Convoy” which had “stated political and ideological objectives” to “force the government to reverse course on pandemic policies, or else to see the government overthrown or resigned.”
Bauder testified at the inquiry earlier this month and said he had written the MOU with a fellow trucker.
“We had a lot of groups that we could have facilitated establishing the Canadian citizens committee so that we could then sit down in partnership with the Senate and the Governor General and address the unlawful mandates that are happening across this country and come to a resolution,” said Bauder on Nov. 3.
Freedom Corp lawyer Brendan Miller put to Bauder in cross-examination that his solution to enter into an agreement with two unelected entities was “somewhat undemocratic.”
“Yeah, well, democratic I guess. I mean, if you’re asking to come together at a table and communicate, and if they don’t respond, you have nothing, right?” Bauder said.
He was also asked whether he had ever called for violence or for violently overthrowing the government.
“We’re calling for love and unity and peace and give bear hugs. Violence is the last thing in our minds,” said Bauder.
Freedom Convoy initiator Chris Barber testified he had never read Bauder’s MOU.
“It wasn’t something on our agenda. It wasn’t something we were pushing for. It had nothing to do with the reason why we actually came to Ottawa,” Barber told the inquiry on Nov. 1.
Convoy organizers pressed for the MOU to be taken offline and this occurred on Feb. 8.