During the ongoing public hearings into the use of the Emergencies Act, it was revealed that the Freedom Convoy organizers, the federal government, and police were on the verge of reaching a deal to end the protests before the government invoked the authoritarian act anyway.
The Emergencies Act allowed the government to freeze the bank accounts of the civil liberties protesters.
Freedom Convoy’s counsel Brendan Miller asked Ontario Provincial Police Inspector Marcel Beaudin what happened to the deal to end the protest peacefully that was proposed on February 11. Beaudin said that he felt the proposal was “dead in the water,” and it was probably not presented to the federal government before the EA was invoked.
Miller said the deal was presented to the federal government, they just ignored it.
Miller asked: “Did you know that meeting was at 3:30 pm and that it was with cabinet and that it was the incident response group of the political executive meeting and that your proposal was provided to them?”
Beaudin said, “No.”
“It was. I can tell you that. And then they invoked the Emergencies Act,” Miller responded.
A memo outlining the deal read: “The deal would be: Leave the protest and denounce unlawful activity and you will be heard.”
Freedom Convoy organizers would have honored their end of the deal by removing over 100 trucks from residential streets and would remove more as negotiations went on.
“The recommendation was essentially, the political branch of the Government of Canada would agree to a meeting with the protesters but there would be certain conditions to that and they would have to denounce anything unlawful and get out of downtown Ottawa,” said Miller.
The invocation of the EA before attempting to reach a deal is a potential violation of the EA, which states that it should only be used when there is a situation “that cannot be effectively dealt with under any other law of Canada.”
The EA was revoked a few days after it was invoked. However, within those few days, the police had forcefully removed peaceful protesters from the streets and the bank accounts of supporters of the protest frozen.