It’s better to be sorry than sorry, they say. Ultimately, this is the maxim that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau followed when he decided to use emergency legislation to dismantle the Freedom Convoy.
In his testimony to the Rouleau Commission, Mr. Trudeau explained that after completing all the required consultations and finding himself in the “loneliness of power” that every head of government experiences one day, he is asked: “What if I not sign or decide to wait and the worst happens? »
The worst is never certain, and he himself acknowledges that the occupation of Parliament Hill could have ended peacefully without a state of emergency being declared, but he felt it was the right thing to do in the circumstances.
You cannot blame a man for acting according to his conscience. And there is no reason to doubt Mr. Trudeau’s sincerity. The calm assurance he displayed during his testimony reflected his certainty that he had acted well. The vast majority of Canadians, whose only concern was getting back to normal by any means, also believe he made the right decision.
However, the commission’s mandate is not to find out whether this decision was politically well-founded, but to determine whether the seriousness of the situation in February 2022 met the criteria for invoking a law that had never been used since its adoption in 1988. insofar as this precedent could be invoked by a future government.
We will be grateful to the Prime Minister for not trying to distort the spirit of the law by overdramatizing the economic consequences of the blocking of passages to the United States and the damage to Canada’s reputation abroad, as its Deputy Prime Minister did. Minister, Chrystia Freeland.
By Mr. Trudeau’s own admission, economic considerations were secondary to his decision, and he does not appear to have concluded from his conversation with President Biden that the latter was so concerned.
It is true that the images of the capital paralyzed by truckers who went so far as to sunbathe in a sauna in front of Parliament were not very flattering. From there to fears that American investors will leave this “banana republic”, however, there is a margin. Moreover, our neighbors have never noticed an aversion to regimes of this kind.
One can only doubt the objectivity of a politician, however sincere he appears, who defends his decisions. It would certainly have been preferable to know the Justice Department’s opinion on the broader definition of the term “threat to security” adopted by the government compared to that set out in the Canadian Security Intelligence Act.
However, Trudeau had good reason to believe that several elements posed a risk of violence and that the various police services were unable to resolve the crisis. Not to mention the indifference of Doug Ford’s government, which seemed to wash its hands of it.
All things considered, one is tempted to conclude that it was less the action of the truckers than the ineptitude of the authorities that made the use of emergency measures necessary. Had it not been for the incompetence of some and the procrastination of others, we could easily have avoided it.
On Thursday, the prime minister lamented the lack of space for French during the work of this commission led by a Franco-Ontarian judge, before which many francophones, including those responsible for the security services, testified only in English. “Of course I will try to use it as much as possible so that everyone can understand me in both official languages,” he said, stressing that an interpretation service was available.
Above all, we were treated to another demonstration of the farce of official bilingualism. You could almost count on the tips of your 10 fingers the sentences that Mr. Trudeau uttered in French.
Yes, he answered the questions in the language of the person asking them, but it was clear that he felt much more comfortable expressing the nuances of English that such a delicate subject required.