Anti-mandate demonstrators gather as a truck convoy blocks the highway the busy U.S. border crossing in Coutts, Alta., Monday, Jan. 31, 2022.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Kenney opposed Emergencies Act but didn’t ‘quibble’ with its use if necessary

Newly released documents suggest former Alberta premier Jason Kenney told the prime minister he would not “quibble” with the use of the Emergencies Act if needed.

But the notes taken by political staffers and submitted to a public inquiry examining the Liberal government’s use of the Emergencies Act also suggest Kenney stressed there were other ways to reduce tensions over protests against COVID-19 restrictions.

Notes taken by aides in the Prime Minister’s Office and Saskatchewan government during a Feb. 14 meeting with Trudeau and the premiers say Kenney worried that triggering the emergency legislation would be a “very serious provocation” and a “net negative.”

But the handwritten notes also appear to show Kenney would not “quibble” over the use of the Emergencies Act, which had never been used since it came to be in 1988, if it was necessary.

Trudeau made that move later that same day, temporarily giving police extraordinary powers to secure the areas around Parliament Hill that had been occupied by “Freedom Convoy” protesters, under heavy public criticism from Kenney.

The inquiry heard earlier today that Alberta received no help from the federal government to clear the blockade at the Coutts border crossing, and another document shows a provincial minister accused his federal counterpart of lying about the role the state of emergency played in ending it.

 

Alberta civil servant Marlin Degrand removes his glasses as he listens to a lawyer's question during his testimony at the Public Order Emergency Commission, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

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