A public inquiry into Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's declaration of martial law in February has revealed that liberal ministers discussed the possibility of using war machines against the peaceful protesters who gathered inside the national's capital to protest medical tyranny and vaccination mandates.
What are the details?
The Public Order Emergency Commission, established on April 25, is presently conducting an inquiry to determine whether the Trudeau government's use of wartime measures to crush the trucker-led "Freedom Convoy" protests was justified.
Politico reported that the federal government has partially waived Cabinet confidence for the purposes of the inquiry, providing Canadians with a glimpse into the machinations of the state and the thinking behind Trudeau's unprecedented use of the Emergencies Act on Feb. 14.
On Wednesday, select Cabinet ministers and federal staff were questioned, including liberal Justice Minister David Lametti.
Lametti reportedly wrote to liberal Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino on Feb. 2, "You need to get the police to move. And the [Canadian Armed Forces] if necessary. Too many people are being seriously adversely impacted by what is an occupation."
Mendicino responded, "How many tanks are you asking for. I just wanna ask [Defense Minister] Anita [Anand] how many we’ve got on hand?"
Lametti answered, "I reckon one will do!"
Canada's go-to tank is the German-made Leopard 2, which was designed to engage Russian heavy armor in battle, reported the National Post.
Its 44-caliber 120-millimeter main gun produced by Rheinmetall may have been too much for the thousands of unarmed citizens protesting the vaccine mandates and COVID restrictions that one of the authors of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms has said were unconstitutional.
Lametti claimed the exchange was "meant to be a joke between two friends," however, when Trudeau declared martial law, he found it necessary to clarify that his government was "not using the Emergencies Act to call in the military."
Former Ottawa police Chief Peter Sloly's lawyer suggested this was more than mere playful banter, saying, "You can understand how when such a thing is made public that ... Canadians through the media take the words to be the weight of your office."
The National Post reported that the use of heavy armor to crush a protest unfavorable to the incumbent political leader would have been unprecedented in Canada.
In the 1919 Winnipeg general strike, protesters were put down with gunfire and calvary charges, but not heavy armor.
In addition to joking about using weapons of war on Canadian citizens with whom he disagreed, the liberal justice minister noted that police had "all the legal authority they need[ed] to enforce the law" but had failed to do so.
Lametti went so far as to call the former chief of police Peter Sloly "incompetent" for his measured application of the law.
On Friday, Trudeau testified that the provincial and local police's ability "to keep it under control was not exactly there."
Although street crime actually fell while the protesters exercised their mobility and speech rights downtown Ottawa, the Trudeau government nevertheless suggested that the abstract threat of violence was, along with other so-called factors, sufficient to confiscate protester funds, freeze bank accounts, tow vehicles, and arrest protesters.
The Toronto Star reported that the Trudeau government retroactively cited "the volatile and potentially violent situations that were occurring in various places at the time" as cause to use the emergency powers.
An internal Department of Public Safety report confirmed, however, that there was no evidence of violence committed by Freedom Convoy protesters in Ottawa; that "the majority of the events have been peaceful"; and that the "disruption to government activities is so far minor."
Trudeau's government also defended the action saying that Canada's "social cohesion, national unity and ... international reputation" were at risk of "irremediable harms" as a result of the protests.
While the "Freedom Convoy" allegedly posed a threat to Canada's international reputation, it was for Trudeau's invocation of the wartimes measures that the Canadian government drew the ire, not just of members of the Conservative Party, but of civil rights organizations and foreign dignitaries the world over.
Romanian MEP Cristian Terhes compared Trudeau to the communist dictator Ceausescu, suggesting, "He's exactly like a tyrant, like a dictator."
The Croatian MEP Mislav Kolakusic addressed Trudeau, saying, "Canada, once a symbol of the modern world, has become a symbol of civil rights violations under your quasi-liberal boot in recent months. We watched how you trample women with horses, how you block the bank accounts of single parents so that they can't even pay their children's education and medicine, that they can't pay utilities ..."
The German MEP Christine Anderson criticized the prime minister for trampling "on fundamental rights by persecuting and criminalizing his own citizens as terrorists, just because they dared to stand up to his own perverted concept of democracy."
Republican Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) said that Trudeau's declaration of martial law to bring an end to the protests was "very, very dangerous," suggesting that overnight, "Canada became Egypt ... ruled by emergency edict that allows prohibition of public assembly, travel, and the commandeering of private companies without your day in court."
Not a 'usual political protest'
Trudeau told the commission via his witness statement that the Freedom Convoy was not a "usual political protest."
Trudeau had not intervened in previous political protests — such as those staged by BLM or Idle No More activists — and had not taken similar action in 2020 when anti-pipeline activists blockaded Canadian rail lines, paralyzing the country.
According to the prime minister, what allegedly made the Freedom Convoy unusual was that the protesters expressed a "certain level of frustration" that was "very concerning." Worse yet, they allegedly harassed people for wearing masks.
Months prior to using the power of the state to shut down critics of state power, Trudeau made his views known about those antipathetic to his COVID-19 policies. On Sept. 16, 2021, Trudeau said on the French-language program "La semaine des 4 Julie" that those who are "fiercely against vaccination ... are extremists."
Trudeau added that they "don't believe in science, they're often misogynists, also often racists," and then posed the question "Do we tolerate these people?"
It would appear that armored war machines quickly came to mind when elements of Trudeau's government were mulling over what to do with those people the prime minister branded as extremists and questioned tolerating.