Justin Trudeau testifies Emergency Act inquiry

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau testifies at the Emergency Act inquiry on Nov. 25,2022. Courtesy Public Order Emergency Commission
There was one critical thing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the premiers apparently neglected to discuss during a teleconference hours before the Liberals hammered Canadians with martial law.

That would be the right Canadians have to exercise their democratic freedom to protest and assemble on Parliament Hill.

It appears that none of these premiers stood up to Trudeau on behalf of the Freedom Convoy protesters in any significant way, according to minutes of the confidential meeting obtained by Blacklock's Reporter.
police Ottawa
© Alex Kent/Getty Images
Police face off with protesters on February 19, 2022, in Ottawa, Ontario.
Most did object, for other reasons, to him invoking the War Measures Act, now referred to as the Emergencies Act. Same menacing thing.

But all Canadians — pro-Freedom Convoy or not — needed, deserved, to have at least one premier howling and beating his/her chest in outraged objection to this extreme measure inflicted on Canadians. That doesn't seem to have happened.

Politicians federally and provincially — of all party stripes — failed Canadians that day.

Did no one think to chat about why the Freedom Convoy, supported by millions of Canadians, went to Parliament Hill? Where was the empathy for the bodily autonomy and economic survival they were peacefully fighting for?

In that conference call, the premiers were simply busy focusing on the best way to make the unarmed protesters — no weapons were ever found — pack up their bouncy castles, disperse and just go away.

In the absence of meaningful resistance from the premiers, no wonder Trudeau was emboldened to declare martial law.

But obviously his mind was made up, despite telling the premiers he wanted to consult them about a collective response. He trampled on the rights and freedoms of Canadians with impunity mere hours after that useless chat last February 14.

The plan was already in motion, and he was going for it no matter what they said!

Was he simply humoring the premiers by gracing them with his presence on a call?

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe at least pointed to the federal government's failings. But he still supported law enforcement removing the protesters, many of them there with their children. "Virtually all provinces announced a path forward to reduce or eliminate many public health orders," said Moe.

"I haven't seen them yet from the federal government. This would be the most effective tool to reduce the temperature and allow law enforcement to remove protesters, notably in Ottawa. It would provide another way to unite people across the country. Enacting the Emergencies Act is not going to do that."

All but three provinces — British Columbia, Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador — spoke against the use of the Emergencies [War Measures] Act.

Some premiers worried that invoking martial law would inflame the situation, and unnecessarily cause provocation. Well, battalions of heavily armed police descending on protesters is certainly one path to violence.

Northwest Territories Premier Caroline Cochrane said she didn't want to see people hurt and she didn't want "blood on my hands."

Canadian Police Horse

Toronto Police mounted unit stand on Wellington Street as police work to clear the streets in front of Parliament Hill to end to a protest, which started in opposition to mandatory COVID-19 vaccine mandates and grew into a broader anti-government demonstration and occupation, on its 23rd day, in Ottawa, Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang)
Unlike Premier Cochrane mentioned above, who at least made that not having "bloody on my hands" comment, the other Premiers remained near silent among their people, while pretending to not know what would usually happen when peaceful people were met with riot gear and 1,800 lbs. of horse and hooves. The war horse, poor things, were aligned with the real weapons on their backs. In this case, the horses were used to push aside or trampled down, as was the case, upon a human being like she was nothing more than a blade of grass in a cavalry charge. The horses mounts had a job to do and despots to serve after all, while perhaps even a little overtime to collect. None on the streets might possibly have been their next door neighbors or even their kin, no, they were simply threats to deal with in modern-day democratic language.

But premiers objecting to imposing martial law seemed to worry less about rights than the 'danger' of triggering more support for the Freedom Convoy. They didn't want to generate more sympathy for the great unwashed truckers and other supporters fighting tyranny.

Former premier Jason Kenney and Ontario Premier Doug Ford puffed up like angry little badgers, barely able to hide their contempt for the common man. Or were they trying to impress Trudeau?

No surprise that Kenney insulted and dismissed the truckers. He fretted that people worried about feeding their kids and keeping a roof over their heads were a "magnet for every crazy in the province."

Crazies? Such nasty arrogance.

"Folks at the core of this movement are not rational. They are prone to conspiracy theories. Invoking what they will see as martial law will be seen as a serious provocation, said Kenney.

What conspiracy theories was Kenney talking about? The masks and vaccine mandates? People getting thrown in jail on trumped-up charges? Bank accounts frozen? People denied the right to work? That was reality. No conspiracies there.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he had "zero tolerance" for protesters, which means he has zero tolerance for democracy. It's long past time Ontario voters had zero tolerance for him.

Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson, who imposed some of the harshest, most prolonged pandemic mandates, advocated for local remedies. But at least she opposed bringing in the Emergencies [War Measures] Act.

Québec Premier François Legault and New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs told the federal government to stay in its lane and stay out of their provinces.

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey said the protests outside Parliament were really, very upsetting. "Ottawa represents us on the world stage. We are taking a reputational hit internationally," said a fretting Furey.

So out of touch.

Canada did take a reputational hit. But it wasn't the Convoy protesters that drew scorn or shamed the nation. They were cheered on and applauded globally, viewed as a beacon of hope in dark times.

The stain was on Trudeau and his government that generated shocked gasps and earned international condemnation for invoking martial law on peaceful Canadians. All but three premiers in this thing we call confederation opposed the Emergencies Act. That's a big majority.

Trudeau didn't care. He got away with it.

Think about that.
Linda Slobodian
Senior Columnist (Manitoba)

Linda Slobodian is the Senior Manitoba Columnist for the Western Standard based out of Winnipeg. She has been an investigative columnist for the Calgary Herald, Calgary Sun, Edmonton Sun, and Alberta Report.