The city had tow trucks lined up before the emergency law went into effect, Ottawa police say.chief

The liberal government has repeatedly argued that emergency legislation must be invoked to force tow companies to remove heavy trucks from downtown Ottawa during the Freedom Convoy protests, but the city’s police deputy The commissioner said on Thursday that tow trucks were moving their way before the call.

“You mentioned earlier that tow trucks were lined up and on their way to Ottawa before the Emergency Act went into effect. Isn’t that right?” asked Rob Kittredge, attorney at the Center for Constitutional Freedom and Justice.

“Yes,” said Patricia Ferguson, deputy deputy chief of the Ottawa Police Service (OPS).

Ferguson was testifying before the Public Order Emergency Committee on Feb. 14, which is considering the government’s invocation of the law.

Kittredge based his question on a statement made by Ferguson minutes earlier about the tow truck procurement issue.

“I think when I made my statement, I was under the impression that it was the only way I could get something like a tow truck,” Ferguson said, referring to her. interview The August 11th committee touched on the issue of using the law to force wrecker companies.

“I may be corrected by the superintendent [Robert] Vernier, I think they had some lining up and were heading towards right before we started the action,” Ferguson said. Vernier plans to testify before the commission at a later date.

A summary of Ferguson’s interview with the Commission said she “felt difficult to say whether the Freedom Convoy situation could have been managed or resolved without the Emergency Act.

She said the act made the resolution of the situation more effective, especially by securing a tow truck.

“OPS knew that many protesters would leave if they arrived in a tow truck.

“Single Biggest Problem”

The emergency law’s ability to compel tow truck companies to cooperate with police has been cited as a key step by government officials at the city and federal levels.

Ottawa city manager Steve Kanelakos told the commission on Oct. 17 that the towing companies did not want to damage their reputation with the truck drivers and in solidarity with the protesters. He said he would not cooperate for fear of safety.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Waston said in committee testimony on Oct. 18 that the city had no towing capacity, so having a tow truck would solve the “biggest problem” associated with the removal of protests. said I need to.

However, he told the commission he did not know how the tow truck was ultimately procured.

“I’m guessing the police and the city worked together to procure it,” Watson said.

“We were told by none of the tow truck companies that we were going to participate, but when the emergency law was introduced, all of a sudden there were tow trucks. So cause and effect was yes and the emergency law forced them to I think.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said this summer that securing tow trucks was the main reason he declared a public order emergency.

“We got a lot of different advice from Justice. It was that they weren’t willing to send the rig in at the cost of being kicked out or harassed by protesters.” Said Trudeau.

“We have found that one of the only tools that can be effective in the required time frame is the introduction of emergency legislation.”

Public Security Minister Marco Mendicino has raised the same issue many times.

The committee is one body that considers declaring a state of emergency, but so does a special joint committee of parliamentarians.

“One of the problems was the unavailability of tow trucks,” says Mendicino. Said Commission in April. “We couldn’t secure a tow truck. There was a threat. Then there was an interruption. That’s one of his pieces of advice we were getting at the time.”

Conservative Senator Claude Carignan, a member of the committee, replied that he had found a tow truck for sale in a classified ad.

“We could have bought some and removed the trucks without invoking the emergency law,” he said.

At a subsequent committee meeting in May, Carignan said the towing company may have been coerced under Article 129 of the Penal Code.

Carignan asked RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki if anyone has been prosecuted under that clause.

“I don’t know much about people who have been prosecuted under that section of the Penal Code,” Lucky said.

Noe Chartier


Noé Chartier is a reporter for the Epoch Times based in Montreal. Twitter: @NChartierET Gettr: @nchartieret