The Mayor of Windsor told an Emergency Act inquiry on Monday that the closure of the Ambassador Bridge for several days last winter represented a “national security concern”.
Mayor Drew Dilkens said, “This is in my heart and will be with me until I die. It’s a national economic emergency.”
“There is a direct correlation with national economic emergencies and I submit to national security issues. This was exactly this.”
Freedom Convoy truck driver-led protests demanding the lifting of COVID-19 mandates began in January, sparking many actions across the country reflecting solidarity and similar grievances.
Protesters began blocking the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor on February 7, closing part of the most important cross-border trade corridor between Canada and the United States.
Dilkens said the bridge handles between $300 million and $450 million in trade daily.
Windsor police, assisted by other forces such as the Ontario Police Department (OPP) and the RCMP, cleared protesters on the night of February 13.
The Liberal government invoked the state of emergency law hours later on February 14.
Before the law was invoked, Dilkens texted Federal Public Security Minister Marco Mendicino to ask if his government was considering using the measure.
“As long as we can help additional authorities in Windsor with the resources they need to keep the bridges up and keep people safe, that would be great,” Mendicino replied.
Dilkens was asked by the Commission’s attorney what this meant.
“I think he’s saying…if we can express what’s going on on the ground that helps justify this, that would be helpful for us,” Dilkens said.
Interim Deputy Commissioner of Windsor Police Jason Crowley, who testified on November 7, said emergency law powers were not used to enforce Windsor.
He said there was concern the protesters would return and the act acted as a deterrent.
Dilkens’ position that the blockade constitutes a national security situation was challenged by Freedom Corps adviser Brendan Miller, who represented some of the organizers of the Freedom Convoy.
Dilkens is an attorney, and Miller asked him if he had worked on national security law or had any background on what constitutes a national security emergency.
“I’ve never practiced national security laws, but I think it’s clear to anyone at first glance that they could be national security related,” Dilkens said. says.
Dilkens was asked if he was familiar with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and its activities.
Miller has read Section 2. CSIS Law With several previous witnesses trying to determine whether last winter’s events met the definition of a threat to national security under that law.
Dilkens saw it coming and said “we can get it done” if Miller brought up the act.
Miller didn’t go there, instead presenting a CSIS document on Feb. 3 that said the organization had “assessed there were no metrics to know about IMVE.” [Ideologically Motivated Violent Extremism] In connection with the protests, the actors had planned to engage in violence.
Superintendent Pat Morris, director of the OPP’s State Operations Intelligence Service (POIB), testified on October 19 that the CSIS and RCMP did not view the protests as a threat to national security.
The POIB itself had assessed on February 7 that the incident could pose a “national security threat,” but Morris said it was offensive given the position of CSIS and the RCMP. rice field.