Doug Ford says he backed Justin Trudeau’s use of the Emergencies Act to end the ‘Freedom Convoy’
Oct. 18, 2022
Premier Doug Ford says he “stood shoulder to shoulder” with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s decision to use the Emergencies Act to end the so-called “Freedom Convoy” protest in Ottawa last winter.
Speaking to reporters at an event with Trudeau in Kanata, Ford said while he’s “not being asked” to testify at the ongoing public inquiry into the federal government’s use of the law, he backed the prime minister.
“These folks were camping out with everything from whirlpools, disrupting downtown, disrupting the lives of the people of Ottawa,” the premier said Monday as Trudeau beamed and nodded in agreement.
“We worked collaboratively with the mayor and the prime minister,” said Ford, who also noted the related blockade of the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor and Detroit “was holding $1 billion of trade every single day from getting across our borders.”
“We were getting phone calls from (U.S.) governors. It’s unacceptable,” he said.
Ford’s assertion that his government was there for Ottawa was contradicted Monday in testimony from city manager Steve Kanellakos.
Kanellakos said the municipality was told Feb. 9 by then-solicitor general Sylvia Jones that Ottawa could handle the protest with existing resources and that further requests for help should go to the Ontario Provincial Police.
An OPP lawyer testified last week that the force did not believe the powers created through the Emergencies Act were necessary.
Others have argued the federal, provincial and municipal governments did not move swiftly enough after the downtown area of the nation’s capital was effectively occupied by truck-driving protesters for three weeks.
While Ford praised the police for being “professional and polite,” he indicated that he did not share the OPP’s view that using the act was an overreach.
“Myself and I know the prime minister believes in free speech and if you want to protest, protest,” the premier said.
“If you want to come down to Queen’s Park and do cartwheels, but if you disrupt the lives of the people of Ottawa every single day, disrupt the … economic flow across our borders, I have zero tolerance for it,” he said.
Ford’s comments came as Finnish telecom giant Nokia Corporation announced it would invest in a new research and development in the Ottawa suburb of Kanata.
Queen’s Park is loaning the firm $30 million while the federal government is offering up to $40 million for the $770-million project.