Dominic LeBlanc

Dominic LeBlanc spoke 210 times across 1 day of testimony.

  1. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    J’aimerais jurer sur un document religieux, s’il vous plait.


  2. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Good evening.


  3. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Je vais répondre surtout en anglais, mais il y aura peut-être des moments où je préférerais répondre en français.


  4. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Yes, I do. In Vancouver.


  5. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Yes, I did.


  6. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    It is.


  7. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Understood. It’s better for your record.


  8. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    So I would probably be the Prime Minister’s representative, principal representative, in terms of his ongoing relationships with provinces and territories. So it can cover a number of different federal/provincial issues. I would normally be present when the Prime Minister meets other First Ministers. I’m supported by the Privy Council Office, which is the Prime Minister’s department. And we would attempt to coordinate across the Government of Canada as best as is possible, the Federal Government’s relationship with provinces and territories, many of the federal legislative measures or policy measures necessarily involve relationships with provinces. So that would be the principle function I would assume for the government.


  9. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    That’s right. So there’s a Deputy Minister, Michael Vandergrift, who supports me in the Intergovernmental Affairs role at Privy Council. He has a small group of people that support him, and me as well. And they would have ongoing relationships at the senior officials’ level with their counterparts in different provinces and territories. And perhaps the unique role of an Intergovernmental Affairs Minister is, I think with the exception of the Province of Quebec, many Premiers have kept, for themselves, the role of being Intergovernmental Affairs Minister in their province or territory. So my counterparts in many cases are the Premiers, as I say, with the exception of the Province of Quebec.


  10. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Right. In his or her capacity as Intergovernmental Affairs Minister.


  11. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    I was invited by the Privy Council Office to I think what was one of, if not the first meetings. It was originally as sort of an ad hoc or informal briefing of a small group of Ministers on the preparations for the arrival of the convoy. It was before the first weekend of the convoy arrival in Ottawa and Privy Council Office decided to bring a small group of Ministers together to bring us up to date on the preparations, including relationships with the House of Commons or the Parliamentary Protective Service. I also sit on the Board on Internal Economy of the House of Commissions as one of two Ministers that has a role in terms of the security of the parliamentary precinct as well, which was obviously the initial target that people identified on that first weekend. And then I was included in most of, if not all of the subsequent meetings of the Security & Safety & Emergencies Committee of Cabinet, and then ultimately it became the Incident Response Group chaired by the Prime Minister. So I was included in most, if not all of those briefings for Ministers. And during that period I would have ongoing discussions, both with my Cabinet colleagues that had line responsibilities for a number of these elements. Mr. Mendicino, who you saw earlier today, about the Transport Minister, for example, in some cases the Justice Minister. So I would talk to my own Cabinet Colleagues principally to ensure that they were engaging with their provincial or territorial counterparts as much as was appropriate in the particular context of whatever issue was before the Cabinet, and in some cases I spoke to Premiers directly as well.


  12. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    I wouldn’t have described it as a sort of coordination within the Government more generally, other than perhaps in terms of the relationship between our Government and provinces and territories. The Privy Council Office, the Prime Minister’s National Security & Intelligence Advisor were participating in those meetings. They have sort of horizontally across the Government because of their role at the Privy Council Office, some of that responsibility with respect to other departments. But I would often encourage my Cabinet colleagues to ensure that they’re maintaining active and open conversations with their provincial or territorial counterparts as the circumstances evolved into various parts of the country in the days that followed that initial weekend.


  13. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    That’s right. I would not have been engaged in a very active way with First Ministers before that date you see on February 10th.


  14. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Oh, absolutely. I have been asked to talk to Mr. Goodale and I think prepared that email after my conversation with him.


  15. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Following my conversation with him.


  16. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Sure. So Mr. Goodale has been a friend of mine and somebody that I have worked with obviously for a long time. He was a Public Safety Minister himself for the first four years of our Government. He’s from the Province of Saskatchewan which is unique in terms of his parliamentary experience in our Government. And he had a very broad perspective. He, himself, is a lawyer and it was suggested to me that it might be interesting to see how he, from his current position as Canada’s High Commissioner in the United Kingdom, but still very much following domestic events clearly, to see what he’s thinking and what are his views on the situation as it was evolving in that week of February 5th and 6th. So I had sent him an email and said “Can I speak to you at the end of the day?” and set up a phone conversation and had a lengthy conversation with him.


  17. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    No, his email to me, which you see, as I say, followed that telephone conversation and it largely summarizes what he had said to me in the telephone conversation.


  18. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Yes, that would have been –- that would have reflected my conversation on the phone with him and it’s certainly faithful to I think what he expressed in that email.


  19. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    As I said, I think one of the benefits for me in terms of having that conversation with him, was his four years of experience as our Public Safety Minister, and I thought he put in a very concise way that I may not have appreciated until that conversation with him, the sort of escalating orders of Government that have to respond to thee situations. So we had seen obviously a pretty significant failure of municipal authorities in Ottawa in those weeks that preceded this, and I thought his insights into the responsibility of different orders of Government and not –- perhaps because it was the nation’s capital, there was a great deal of confusion certainly in the public conversation about what’s the Government of Canada doing about Wellington street? But after my conversation with him and having read his subsequent email, I thought he put in a rather concise way his view, his opinion as to the roles of different orders of government.


  20. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    I’m not sure. I can’t speak for the Government of Ontario or what Premier Ford or his ministers were thinking. But as I said, in the initial arrival of the convoy in Ottawa, the focus was on the Nation’s Capital. As we know, it quickly spread to other cities and other parts of the country, not just in the Province of Ontario. But we did, as a national government -- and my colleagues, I know, the Transport Minister, Mr. Mendicino himself and senior officials of our government, deputy ministers, were engaging in active and ongoing discussions with their Ontario counterparts as the situation in Ottawa was becoming more entrenched to see if every possible provincial regulatory or legislative authority was being brought to bear to try and resolve, ultimately, not only Ottawa, of course, but Windsor and other places. So I think our government -- and I remember those conversations from the incident response group meetings or the Cabinet Security and Safety Committee. There was an ongoing and active effort, both at the level of ministers, but senior officials supporting them, to reach out to provincial jurisdictions where they were seeing some of the sort of sympathy or knock-on effects of the Ottawa occupation to make sure that every available authority was being brought to bear to bring these illegal events to a conclusion.


  21. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Yeah, I think that -- and obviously the inability across the country to use existing provincial and municipal authorities was one of the constant discussions before our government as we led up to the ultimate decision to invoke the Emergencies Act. But I remember, from the very beginning, an effort to educate ourselves as a government -- and Mr. Goodale’s email, to some extent, speaks to that -- in terms of the different jurisdictional roles of orders of government, but we quickly understood the importance of collaborating and ensuring that municipal and provincial authorities were very much working with federal agencies that could provide support -- and there are a number of federal agencies that were working with their counterparts, of course -- but to really use every available remedy to bring these very damaging illegal occupations or blockades to an end.


  22. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    So it was on the evening of February 10th. I remember, as you said, it was following that Incident Response Group meeting. I left Ottawa to fly home to Moncton, New Brunswick, and I had been asked to talk to Premier Ford specifically around what we thought were some authorities the province had in the transportation sector around trucking licences, permits, insurance certificates. I’m certainly not an expert on the precise regulatory authorities around provincial transportation sectors, but there was a belief that the Province of Ontario may have a series of instruments or authorities that perhaps hadn’t been brought to bear, whether it was in Windsor or in Ottawa, so it was suggested that I could perhaps reach out to Premier Ford. I have a very constructive and cordial relationship with the Premier of Ontario. I texted him to say I was leaving for News Brunswick and would like to chat to him that evening, if possible, and would be at home in two hours in Moncton, and he told me to call him when I landed. And I remember being at home; it was about 10:30 or 11:00 in the evening in New Brunswick. He was still at his office at Queen’s Park in Toronto. I said I was calling him to talk about what we thought were some additional authorities that the Government of Ontario may have that could be brought to bear over the circumstance in the Windsor and, obviously, in Ottawa, and he immediately went to the process that his government was going through, which ultimately led to their declaration of an emergency order the following day. So the conversation quickly evolved into what Premier Ford was planning to do the following day and, frankly, it went well beyond what we were hoping in terms of some trucking or transportation regulatory authorities. He was very much focused on the economic damage to the Province of Ontario and to the country. He talked to me about conversations he’d had with the Governor of Michigan, the chief executives of some of the big auto companies, representatives of some of the big unions. He was extremely focused on the severe economic damage to Ontario and to the country. He was focused on the reputational damage that this means in terms of foreign investment into our country. And he was very focused on the public safety concerns and the threats of real violence that people were still continuing to advance in Ottawa and in Windsor. So the conversation -- he was quite candid with me about his desire to have the Ontario Provincial Police take a greater role in the Windsor context, and also in Ottawa. He talked about his frustration that the situation in Ottawa had not been resolved and his government was very involved and committed to stepping out, including with the Government of Canada, to do what we needed to bring this to a conclusion across the Province of Ontario. And I offered, obviously, as had my cabinet colleagues, to provide any federal resources, policing resources, regulatory authorities that the Government of Canada may have to support the plan that he outlined to me in that conversation. And then the next day, he had a news conference which laid out most of what he’d told me in that -- on that evening conversation.


  23. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    So, in terms of what happened afterwards, I probably wouldn’t have precise information, but whether it was the Canadian Border Services Agency or the National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister who had been having conversations with her counterparts in the Whitehouse -- Jody Thomas had been briefing the Incident Response Group and a number of ministers around the real concerns the Americans had. I know my colleague, the Transport Minister, who I think you’ll see tomorrow, had spoken to his counterpart, the Secretary of Transportation in the United States. So in those meetings, those Americans, we were told by our colleagues or senior officials who had conversations with senior American authorities including, as I say, our Transport Minister who spoke to his American counterpart, that they were prepared to do whatever they could to support our efforts to bring this illegal activity, these border blockades, to an end. And my understanding -- and if I said that to the Premier, it’s because somebody would have told us that the American authorities were prepared to help us. If there were convictions of some of these truck drivers, for example, they would look at what authorities they had in the United States to bar them from entering the United States.


  24. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)



  25. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Oh, very much so. And that, I think, probably was a message that I would have sent to the Prime Minister's Office following that conversation that evening on the 10th of February, and it's certainly faithful to my recollection of that conversation. What I would do is, as I would talk to or exchange messages with the premiers, I would often ensure that Michael Vandergrift, the senior official at Privy Council Office, had a readout of the substance of those calls that he could then circulate as well, but that would have been a message I would have sent to the Prime Minister's Office. And I certainly agree with your characterisation. That evening, I finished the conversation with Premier Ford very reassured that the governments were going to work together to bring this to a conclusion, not just in Windsor, but obviously in Ottawa, and I would think the 10 or 12 days that followed were a proof point that that was the case.


  26. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Hot to hammer at a presser, I think -- the context was very much a frustration that what we had seen in Ottawa was now dragging into the third weekend. The border blockages, as I said in -- at the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, were having huge economic and reputational damage to our country, and there was an enormous sense of frustration, I think in both governments, that we needed to bring these illegal blockades and occupations to a safe and proper conclusion, and that two weeks prior to this conversation weren't giving any of us a great deal of assurance that that was the outcome that we were going to quickly achieve.


  27. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    And that was absolutely the case.


  28. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Yes, it is.


  29. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    I didn't ask him. I didn't reply and ask him exactly which guy he was referring, so I don't think I could speak for Premier Kenney when he sent that message.


  30. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    I had developed as a Member of Parliament a cordial, a rather amicable relationship with Premier Kenney, we had kept in touch on a whole range of issues, so we had a sort of an ongoing conversation on a whole bunch of issues. When I was in Alberta I would see him from time to time. I knew, and I think we saw Mr. Mendicino talk about that today, that the Government of Alberta had considerable concerns around the ability to get tow trucks with respect to the blockage at the border crossing in Coutts, Alberta, and I knew, again from probably Bill Blair or Marco at Incident Response Group meetings, that the Government of Alberta was seeking potentially some military assets to help -- heavy military tow trucks to move some of these trucks from the border blockage in Coutts. So this text message was the premier emphatically expressing his frustration, which I think he had shared with other colleagues, including Marco Mendicino.


  31. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Sure. So you'll see, I think it was the Saturday, February 12th, that was the weekend we were having I think daily, almost daily Incident Response Group meetings that the Prime Minister was chairing in which I was participating. The situation from our perspective was becoming more and more alarming. There were a lot of public discussions of potential pop up blockades or demonstrations, and I'm going by memory, but a number of provincial legislatures saw demonstrations. There were some in Toronto, some in Quebec City, a number of provincial capitals. There was public discussion of a number of potential border crossings being targeted as well. There was some discussion about a border crossing in Woodstock, New Brunswick with the State of Maine in my home province. There were concerns around the Pacific Gateway border crossing in British Columbia. I know one of the discussions, again that was reported in the media or certainly in social media, was a potential sort of sympathy protest at the ferry terminal in North Sydney, which is the main supply route for the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador for the Island of Newfoundland. So on that Saturday, I wanted to reach out principally to a group of premiers in Atlantic Canada and Premier Horgan in British Columbia, who were seeing some of this activity and sympathy to the occupation that was taking place in Ottawa. I wanted to offer those premiers again, as they knew from their conversations between their senior officials but I wanted them to hear from me that the Government of Canada was absolutely ready inasmuch as we could to provide any support that they thought would be useful. The RCMP in many of those provinces are also the contract police authority and some of the premiers had said to me that they were receiving updates from the Divisional commanders of the RCMP in their capacity as the contract police of jurisdiction in those provinces. I remember Premier Furey telling me of his real concern around a potential blockage at the ferry terminal in North Sydney. He’s a doctor by profession and told me that on that ferry many medical supplies, drugs, medical equipment, is essentially transmitted to Port aux Basques in Newfoundland and then distributed around the province. And if ever there was a blockage of access to that ferry terminal, it’s much more than fresh fruits and vegetables in grocery stores in Newfoundland. But it represented a real threat to public safety and security in his province. So I wanted them to know that we were monitoring those situations. We were receiving updates from senior federal officials in the law enforcement community and in the intelligence community, and that if they had any concerns they could reach out to me. That was the nature of those conversations and on the Sunday, on February 13th, Premier Horgan, I'm assuming -- I would have sent those messages and followed up on the Saturday the 12th, but if it shows up on the 13th, it’s because Premier Horgan probably replied to me on the Sunday the 13th to talk to me about some of the concerns we were seeing in the media around the Pacific Gateway border crossing.


  32. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    No, not in those conversations. It was the conversation with Premier Ford on the 10th where he spoke about the provincial emergency orders. But in those subsequent conversations on that weekend, no, I did not discuss with them the issue of a Federal Emergencies Act invocation.


  33. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    That’s right. And it was discussed in the public space, if it was Atlantic media, Nova Scotia media is what, in many cases is followed in the neighbouring province of new Brunswick. So I was seeing in public discussions the risk or the threat or the discussion of potential attempts to block access to the North Sydney ferry terminal, the Marine Atlantic Ferry. And it reminded me of the vulnerability of half a million Canadians on the island of Newfoundland and Labrador in terms of what is their main supply route for things as important as medicines, medical equipment, and so on. And that was the concern the Premier had expressed to me. And sort of saying that he wanted to be reassured that the Government of Canada was ready, should that materialize, to do everything we had to do to ensure that his province wouldn’t be held hostage in some kind of circumstance there.


  34. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Of course. And my conversations with his Atlantic First Ministers counterparts was exactly in that sense. I remember Premier Higgs, as I said, there’s a border crossing that was the subject of some discussion in Woodstock, New Brunswick. There were protests, I think, in the city -- I’m going by memory -- in Halifax. And of course, Premier King, that Confederation Bridge to Prince Edward Island is obviously a critical supply route for that province as well. That’s not far from where I live, that bridge. It’s a two-lane bridge and it wouldn’t theoretically take much to create a lot of confusion in accessing that bridge. So there was a heightened concern that I was hearing both publicly -- but from First Ministers, from premiers, about what -- I think they were seeing what was happening in Windsor principally, but other points as well. And they were sharing their concerns with us.


  35. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)



  36. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Yes. That Cabinet meeting, both at the IRG, the Incident Response Group meeting, the prime minister chaired earlier in that day on the 13th and the Cabinet meeting which was quite late in that Sunday evening, the prime minister made it very clear to ministers that he had not come to a decision. He was very clear that he had not come to a conclusion around invoking the Emergencies Act, that he was going to hear from premiers the following day. But the discussion was amongst ministers in terms of what are the steps that we -- what are the steps that are necessary to bring these illegal occupations and blockades to an end, and to restore some sense of public confidence because even if particular activities or blockades were perhaps being resolved -- Ottawa certainly wasn’t -- but there was a concern, as I said about a spreading effect or what would be the knock-on effect. So he listened to ministers. We were briefed by the senior officials responsible for a number of federal law enforcement agencies, the National Security Advisor, for example, the Commissioner of the RCMP, the Canadian Border Services, some of the officials I’m sure you've interviewed would have described to ministers their sense of the evolving situation. And then the prime minister would have heard from ministers in terms of their views on what was necessary to resolve this.


  37. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    That’s right. And I remember discussing with him that evening after -- he sent that after the Cabinet meeting had concluded at 10:30 or 10:45 that evening.


  38. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    So we obviously had a significant concern about potential leaks in the public domain about the subject of that First Ministers meeting. I had no doubt that had we said we’re convening this First Minister’s conversation on the Emergencies Act everybody on their morning radio shows would have heard that the prime minister has a meeting with the premiers to discuss the Emergencies Act. And we’ve heard from law enforcement officials in our own government, and I've taken note of a number of witnesses before your Commission, about the potential of an incendiary reaction to the invocation. So we thought that it would have been irresponsible to risk that going out into the public space before the First Ministers had had an opportunity, absent from everybody’s early morning radio shows to talk to the prime minister about that issue. So there were two reasons probably why Mr. Vandergrift didn’t put a subject line. One was to minimize the inevitable leak to a media or in the public space. We had a lot of experience with First Ministers' meetings in the COVID context and very rarely were those discussions not, in some extent, reflected in public comments, so that was a concern. But also, I think there was a desire from the Privy Council Office to as much as was possible, to as much as was possible, to allow first ministers to have that conversation with the prime minister at 10:15 on the 14th, absent, as I said, the public discourse that would have inevitably followed about should we, will we, did the government decide that as much as possible, would have been counterproductive to an open and frank discussion amongst first ministers.


  39. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    That was very much a concern the government had. She reflected, I think, what was a concern of some of the advice we were getting from senior officials in the law enforcement and intelligence apparatus of the Government of Canada. But we've seen subsequently, we've seen subsequently premiers who had expressed in that meeting concerns around the public effect of a discussion of a potential invocation, so the shortest period of time between the public discussion around should the government or will the government proceed to an invocation of the Emergencies Act, the shorter period of time would perhaps be conducive with the public safety imperative of making that decision in a way that was responsible.


  40. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Yeah. And obviously, some people would have said that we should have had an open and extensive public conversation around these issues. In the particular context of the illegal activities that were taking place and the real threat to the safety of Canadians, we as a government concluded that a prolonged and public conversation of this would not be conducive to a safe and efficient and effective ending of these illegal blockades and occupations.


  41. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    So obviously, in the context of the pandemic, federal-provincial cooperation on public health measures, on things as important as vaccine procurements, vaccine distributions, border measures, the Government of Canada has responsibility obviously for international borders. So there was a very effective, I would argue, and extensive federal-provincial collaboration around the fight against COVID. That was one of, I think, our country's successes in terms of managing our federation. That required, in some cases, weekly or bi-weekly calls the prime minister would convene with first ministers. I would participate in most if not all of those calls, usually as an observer. But the prime minister wanted to coordinate as much as possible the various public health measures. Dr. Tam would provide updates. So that was an ongoing discussion. At one point, there was a discussion -- I don't remember, but I think it was in 2020 in the first months potentially of the pandemic around could the Emergencies Act be an instrument that would be helpful in our collective fight against COVID? And I think my colleague, David Lametti, consulted some of his provincial and territorial counterparts -- or not some of -- consulted provincial and territorial counterparts. There was a process and the government concluded that at that moment -- there was never a conclusion that we would never or could never perhaps have recourse to the Emergencies Act around the COVID measures, but certainly we concluded, having had that conversation with premiers and public health experts, that it wouldn't have been a particularly advisable tool at that particular moment.


  42. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    But that was not an active part of the first ministers' conversations around the COVID measures. It probably came up once or twice, but to say it was a source of significant discussion at the first ministers' level I think might not be an accurate representation, but it certainly had come up.


  43. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)



  44. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    That’s accurate.


  45. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    No, it had not been decided at all. I don't know why the commissioner would have said that. The prime minister began the meeting with the premiers 15 minutes after she said that by saying he had not come to a decision whatsoever. The clerk had not moved the decision memo to him, so that is not an accurate representation whatsoever from my perspective of when the government made the decision.


  46. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    That right, and I'm seeing this for the first time here.


  47. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    No, that does not reflect at all my understanding and my personal involvement with those decisions on that day on the 14th.


  48. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    So I obviously have familiarized myself with this summary of that conversation, and I participated, of course, in that meeting. I made a brief intervention at the front end of that conversation. The prime minister began by stressing that he had not come to a decision on whether we should invoke the federal Emergencies Act. He spoke at length in terms of these measures would not supplant existing provincial authorities. I think later in the conversation there was some discussion about whether command structures of provincial police authorities would change. The Prime Minister wanted to, at the front end of the meeting, make it very clear that these were designed to be complimentary measures that provincial and municipal law enforcement authorities could use when they thought they were needed. He was very clear that it should be a proportionate series of measures, proportionate to the real public order emergency that the government was seeing to the threat to the safety and security of Canadians. And he also made it clear to the Premiers at the front end that nothing in the invocation of the Emergencies Act would take away the Charter protections that Canadians enjoyed, and that this could be done in a way that was compliant with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.


  49. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    My recollection of his intervention, the Prime Minister started on the west coast and went across the country. Those -- sometimes he started in Newfoundland and Labrador. This time he started in British Columbia. And Premier Horgan reflected or offered a concern that was shared by a number of Premiers during that conversation, around the potential risk of inflaming or emboldening some of the actors that were already entrenched at various blockades or in the City of Ottawa. He talked about the importance of the proportionality of it, that the measures have to be targeted to the specific threat, but the measures would need to be tailored to bring it to a successful and safe conclusion as quickly as possible. A number of premiers, I think Premier Horgan, it’s not reflected in these notes, but a number of premiers expressed their concern for what they saw was happening in the City of Ottawa. That clearly was a source of a lot of national attention. But Premier Horgan -- we took Premier Horgan’s support to be very important because his province had not been immune from some activity, including some threats to the Pacific Border crossing with Washington State.


  50. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    No, it wasn’t discussed, by my recollection, until she raised it. One of the confusions that I worried about, and is reflected in the interview summaries of our conversation in Vancouver, because this was the first time the Emergencies Act was potentially going to be invoked, many people went back to the 1970’s context, where the legislation had a different name, and some of the enforcement was not done by civilian police officers, or some of the physical security presence, I think is a better way to say it, was not only done by civilian police officers. So Premier Cochrane raised it and the Prime Minister, I think later on in the meeting, made it very clear that having military personnel deployed in an enforcement or security context on the streets in Canada was an absolute last resort and it was not being contemplated whatsoever in any of the conversations we had in terms of what might be the measures in a potential declaration. So he very quickly, I think, tried to clear up Premier Cochrane’s misunderstanding about the role of the military. It was not being considered and it wasn’t a context that the government was looking at.


  51. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    I think so, because this was a unique moment heretofore in Canada where the successor legislation was potentially going to be invoked for a public order emergency. The criteria were different, the protection of the Charter, of course, wasn’t present in 1970. So the juridical and constitutional context was different. That’s why a previous Parliament passed the Emergencies Act some, I guess, four decades ago. But yeah, we worried about that public misunderstanding. Il n’y a pas de doute qu’au Québec, les commentaires du Premier Ministre Legault, lors de son intervention plus tard dans les notes que vous avez, était, je crois... et ça c’est mon impression, et je l’ai partagée avec la Ministre Lebel du Québec suite à la discussion des premiers ministres, que c’était pas du tout le même contexte. Il y avait aucune autorité fédérale qui allait remplacer une autorité municipale ou provinciale, surtout en ce qui a trait aux corps policiers. Il demeurait encore une confusion, moi je dirais, profonde quant à l’application de la loi et moi je pensais que c’était important de rassurer le Premier ministre du Québec, mais les autres premiers ministres, comme la Première ministre des Territoires du Nord-Ouest que c’était pas du tout le cas.


  52. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Ça c’était... ça c’est fidèle aux commentaires que je me rappelle que le Premier ministre Legault avait faits à l’époque...


  53. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    ...lors de cette discussion. Je pense que le Premier ministre lui a rassuré et j’ai fait la même chose avec son ministre des Relations canadiennes, Madame Lebel, suite à la rencontre des premiers ministres, qu’une proclamation potentielle allait pas remplacer les autorités existantes au Québec ou ailleurs au Canada, que la GRC allait pas prendre une autorité policière au Québec qui n’existait pas avant la proclamation. J’ai aussi discuté, dans mon cas, avec Madame Lebel suite à la rencontre, la situation à Gatineau et ultimement, il y a eu l’aide, je crois des corps policiers de Gatineau et la Sûreté du Québec dans les ententes qui existaient entre les provinces pour partager des ressources policières dans le besoin. Le Premier ministre a soulevé l’importance du poste frontalier à Lacolle et l’importance pour le commerce international. Il y avait possiblement des discussions d’un blocus dans ce sens-là. Mais nous étions d’accord, d’ailleurs, avec le Premier ministre Legault que la situation au Québec, que ce soit dans la Ville de Québec ou à Montréal, a été très bien maitrisée par les autorités locales et provinciales. Ils n’ont pas eu la situation difficile qui s’est implantée à Ottawa. Alors c’était pour rassurer le Premier ministre du Québec que c’était pas une question de prendre juridiction dans sa province. Au contraire, c’était d’offrir des outils potentiels dans le cas où les outils seront nécessaires aux autorités provinciales au Québec. On a aussi expliqué que les mesures économiques, qui étaient une des raisons, je crois, importantes dans la décision d’utiliser la Loi sur les mesures d’urgence parce que sans la Loi sur les mesures d’urgence, ces mesures économiques et financières n’auraient pas été possibles, que le Québec pourra se trouver dans une situation où les autorités policières auraient identifié un compte bancaire ou une autre transaction financière dans la Province du Québec, qu’il fallait peut-être geler ou qu’il fallait enquêter. Alors c’était surtout les aspects économiques qui auraient pu avoir une présence dans la Province du Québec mais c’était, à ce moment-là, hypothétique, mais je l’ai partagé avec Madame LeBel pour essayer d’aider la compréhension de tout le monde de qu’est-ce qui était une situation tout à fait nouvelle devant tous les ordres de gouvernement.


  54. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Sure. The government considered one option under the Act and I don’t have a complete juridico sense of the different interoperability of different sections of the Emergencies Act, but there is a possibility to invoke it in a geographically specific context. That was determined not to be the appropriate course of action. I think for two reasons. First of all, the concern about the financial measures, which we believed and which law enforcement senior officials of the finance department believed might be one of the most effective ways to bring this illegal occupation or these blockades to an end, is to choke off the very real supply of money that they were generating in ways that hadn’t been contemplated perhaps when some of this legislation was drafted. So that instrument was seen as one of the effective, and in my view it turned out to be quite effective, in dissuading other protest activities and bringing to a conclusion, particularly the context in Ottawa. So there was the requirement for a national application of the Act to ensure that those economic and financial measures if you’re a trucker from New Brunswick that’s parked on Wellington Street and your bank account is at the Caisse Populaire UNI in Caraquet, New Brunswick, you shouldn’t be able to evade the financial measures that were necessary, in our view, to bring this to a conclusion. And the other very compelling reason from our perspective to have a national application, was because the situation was very dynamic and it was very fluid, and it wasn’t clear that if the Ambassador Bridge had been, and was in the process of being cleared, it wasn’t clear that these people wouldn’t come back; it wasn’t clear that they wouldn’t show up in another jurisdiction. There were still threats identified in other provinces so we thought that the national application in the event that there was a sympathy or pop-up blockade that was illegal, it would give the law enforcement authorities in those jurisdictions those instruments, but it also had a dissuasive effect. It would have allowed enforcement authorities to designate critical infrastructure to prevent people from bringing children into an illegal protest or illegal occupation, so we think that it had a dissuasive effect in terms of spreading the serious and illegal occupation in Ottawa to other jurisdictions across the country.


  55. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    That’s right. Maybe the second one might be sort of 2(a) and 2(b). There was a dissuasive element but there was also the preventative element of giving those jurisdictions those tools should they suddenly arise that the Ferry Terminal to Newfoundland was blocked, that we wouldn’t have to reinvoke some special measure to allow the authorities in the Province of Nova Scotia to have the measures to designate a critical piece of infrastructure and to render illegal an activity that was designed to disrupt the peace in one of those contexts.


  56. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    We believe that hat meeting was an essential part, as you noted in terms of the decision to invoke the Act. The Prime Minister had not made up his mind whatsoever before that conversation. But a number of discussions between my Cabinet colleagues and their counterparts in the provinces and territories between senior officials of our Government, in multi-lateral fora, and some cases bilaterally with provincial and territorial officials, informed our Government’s conclusion that existing provincial municipal authorities were going to be inadequate to bring this to a safe and expeditious conclusion. So this one meeting was the moment where the Prime Minister shared his views on the potential invocation of the Emergencies Act, but as I said, there were ongoing and active bilateral and multi-lateral conversations at almost every level of our Government that were necessary inputs into the Government’s decision to proceed to the Emergencies Act as the source of final authority or the last resort in terms concluding this serious threat to Canadian safety and security.


  57. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Exactly. There was a very deep and a pervasive effort on our Government’s part to engage with provincial officials and Ministers, in some cases municipal authorities, particularly to canvas that very issue of our we missing some provincial regulatory authority, some municipal authority that may assist in concluding some of the illegal blockades or occupations, but also get ahead of some of the discussion of other potential flareups. So we viewed the consultation as much more than one particular meeting. If you will, that was the conclusion of the consultative effort. But as I said, many ministers and senior officials of our government had been engaged for many weeks with provincial and territorial officials on what collectively we needed to do to manage a situation that was becoming increasingly alarming, was spreading geographically. The risk of violence or public disorder was growing, not diminishing in some cases. So the trend lines were all worrisome and that was part of the ongoing discussions. The First Ministers meeting was the formal moment where the prime minister heard from all the premiers. And I think it might be instructive -- as I said, he started on the west coast and went to the east coast with a trip across the north to hear from the territorial premiers. He did not cut anyone off. There were -- unlike your questioning and the Commissioner’s rules on time limits, there were no time limits on that conversation. He would have stayed on that call for as long as any premier wanted to talk. He cut nobody off. He answered some questions as premiers would ask them. Sometimes ministers -- David Lametti, in particular -- so every premier on that call had an unlimited opportunity to share his or her views with the prime minister and some ministers and at the end he asked if anybody had anything else to add before he concluded by saying he had not made a decision and that he would reflect on what he had heard, and the Governor-in-Council process was engaged later that day.


  58. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    No, thank you. It’s been a privilege to answer your questions. And it’s an opportunity for me that I've never had as a lawyer to participate in something like this. So thank you very much.


  59. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Mr. Commissioner, you've been at this longer today than I have, so if you're prepared to go on, I am too. But it’s entirely up to you.


  60. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Good evening.


  61. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Happy to do so. My mother was an Anglophone and my father a Francophone.


  62. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    So I’m happy to have our exchange in English.


  63. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    That’s right.


  64. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Yes, that’s right.


  65. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Yes, it is.


  66. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    There is. He has an ongoing dialogue with his counterparts in provinces and territories as well.


  67. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    That’s fair. That group was very busy, as I mentioned earlier, in our necessary and, I would think, quite effective federal-provincial dialogue around the COVID measures. But there were also, in the COVID context Dr. Tam had her counterparts, the chief public health officers. There were groups of health ministers. So the COVID context was much more than Intergovernmental Affairs. But they would have played, to your point, an active role in assisting the Privy Council group that works with me and Mr. Vandergrift in particular would have played an active role in supporting other federal agencies and officials in their relationships with provincial and territorial counterparts.


  68. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    That’s right and there has -- for the reasons I shared with your colleague, Commission counsel, we thought that if the government was ultimately going to conclude that that was the last resort to bring these illegal occupations and protests and blockades to an end, it was not conducive to have that conversation in a public context. And the fewer meetings where that issue was raised, increased the likelihood that we would be able to have that conversation in an appropriate way at the appropriate moment and not have it in the public space for days and weeks ahead of time.


  69. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Absolutely. Yes, that’s correct.


  70. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    From my participation at that meeting, none of the First Ministers appeared unprepared. And frankly, when the prime minister explained the reason for his convening the meeting, none of them expressed surprise. So I didn’t detect a level of unpreparedness or surprise in that meeting at all.


  71. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Yes. I shared that view and I think that view was widely shared in our government. As I said, a protracted public discussion would not have been conducive to an effective use of the Act, and effective invocation. And a number of people offered the view that there was a risk of an inflammatory effect including the government you represent, so long protracted public conversation perhaps wouldn’t have been effective there either.


  72. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    That’s right. And the government considered that view absolutely.


  73. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    I remember those interviews that Sunday. It was -- the journalists were asking, you know, is the government considering every possible option? I’ll remind you, it was the third weekend that the City of Ottawa was paralyzed in a way that was, in our view, of significant and serious risk to public safety and security. And Mr. Blair was saying that any responsible government would at this point in that emergency look at every available option to bring this to a successful and safe conclusion.


  74. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Some of those things are prepared regularly for various meetings. I don’t remember seeing this document certainly before the meeting. I looked at it and some of the documents that might have been sent by the Commission, but I certainly didn’t see this document before the First Ministers’ Meeting.


  75. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    No, but I can’t speak to which documents were prepared by which officials. I don’t have a full recollection of what documents were circulated, but if you tell me that that was a Privy Council or federal government document that was circulated, I’m prepared to take your word for it, but I can’t speak to it personally.


  76. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    No, that -- that -- I can tell you without hesitation that the decision had not been made. If some communications official is preparing documents for other officials, or for political offices -- as I say, I don’t know who prepared these documents or where there were circulated but there are a series of documents that are prepared for various hypothetical scenarios in the government as part of the routine course of the business, so I would not agree with the characterization that that speaks to a decision made.


  77. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    No, maybe they were. I hadn’t -- I wouldn’t have said it that way until you did. Maybe they were. But, as I say, this is a normal course of business for communications officials in the Government of Canada. That decision was clearly before the cabinet. The cabinet had been -- the Incident Response Group and the cabinet had been considering this second track process for a few days. I don’t know when this document was produced, even. But as that decision was being considered, it would have been normal for communications officials to compare documents in contemplation of a decision, but it does not confirm a decision. That would not be accurate.


  78. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    That was a discussion that I remember at a number of Incident Response Group meetings or ---


  79. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    I don’t remember the First Ministers getting into operational policing details in the City of Ottawa, no, I don’t.


  80. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Again, that -- the Prime Minister convened that meeting to hear from premiers. We didn’t provide them with detailed briefings on what police authorities had told our cabinet.


  81. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    I’d want to see the document again that was -- that your colleague, the Commission counsel, brought out. In terms of the First Ministers’ Meeting. I do know, at the very front end of it, my colleague, David Lametti, explained six areas where the government was considering as potential sources of emergency authorities in the declaration -- in a potential declaration, but I don’t remember the detail that he would have given on particular financial measures. I do know that that was shared with premiers as one of the potential sources of authorities in this declaration.


  82. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Again, I don’t remember the specifics of which financial institutions would or would not be affected, but I do know we shared with First Ministers the very clear option that, should there be an invocation of the Emergencies Act, one of the authorities that we would purport to invoke would be a way to immobilize some of the very real financing, which was fueling -- and no pun intended because a lot of it was spent on fuel, I think -- was fueling the illegal occupation in the City of Ottawa and some of the blockades at critical border infrastructures, as examples.


  83. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    I’m not trying to be difficult, but the Commission counsel put a number of government document before me. If you’re talking about the on at the end where your colleague went through various premiers’ comments at the ---


  84. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    --- at the First Ministers’ Meeting, that was an accurate description, as I remember that particular conversation at 10:15 of the 14th with the premiers.


  85. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Yes, that’s accurate.


  86. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    That’s also correct, yes.


  87. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    That’s fair. Several also indicated concerns in their own jurisdictions, and the Premier of Ontario, as I’m sure you’ve noted, identified very real gaps. I also thought it was interesting, the number of premiers that spoke of the challenge of getting tow trucks to clear, if it was in Coutts, Alberta, or if it was in Windsor, I -- the inability to get heavy-lift tow trucks was something that a number of jurisdictions had shared, and that, as you would know, is obviously one of the powers that the Emergencies Act may have provided.


  88. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    My recollection, I think it was a half-an-hour or 45-minute call earlier in that morning, as I’m -- I’ve thought about this. I didn’t keep notes. I listened to that meeting. I -- by memory, it would have been maybe nine o’clock on the morning of the 14th.


  89. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Again, subject to somebody correcting me, that would be my best recollection, yes.


  90. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    The way -- the prime minister did not convene another cabinet meeting after the one on the Sunday evening. A number of ministers with operational responsibilities, of course, would have been involved in some of the drafting necessary for the Governor-in-Council process, which was engaged after the First Ministers’ Meeting and after the prime minister received the Decision Memo forwarded to him by the Clerk of the Privy Council. But there was no formal cabinet notification that took place once the prime minister had come to his decision after the First Ministers’ Meeting and the Governor-in-Council process was engaged, which led to the Order- in-Council being issued.


  91. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    I was probably consulted during that afternoon, whether it was around the media -- the news conference the prime minister had at the end of the day, and the Governor-in-Council process had been engaged, so I was probably notified by somebody in his office that this was a decision as we moved towards of the afternoon and we were getting ready for what would have been the public announcement.


  92. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Thank you.


  93. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Good evening.


  94. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    That's right.


  95. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    The policing plan ---


  96. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    --- you're referring to the City of Ottawa policing plan?


  97. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Well, I -- but I -- again, I -- I'd want to see the... One of the major concerns that the Government had is the lack of effective policing plan, particularly in Ottawa, to some extent in Windsor. These things had dragged on now for two and three weeks, and the policing authorities were not advancing a plan, or more importantly, implementing a plan that would bring these to a conclusion. But the First Ministers Meeting didn't discuss operational details of policing plans.


  98. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)



  99. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Yes, and we concluded there was.


  100. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Again, in terms of documentary evidence, I -- or documentary exchanges, I wasn't privy to those. I do know that Deputy Ministers and Public Safety were sharing information, the Commissioner of the RCMP, obviously, with various police leaders in other jurisdictions. So there was an ongoing and active exchange of information, as is entirely appropriate, between federal and provincial law enforcement officials, but in terms of whether that particular policing information was shared at the First Ministers table, it was not.


  101. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Why we were considering taking the exceptional ---


  102. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    --- step. And as I explained to your colleague, the Commission Counsel, those reflections, those considerations were informed by more than three weeks of active exchanges between the Government of Canada and provincial and territorial counterparts. So to say that they were not in possession of the intelligence information, the policing information I don't think is an accurate description. And I know may of the premiers, because they told me, were also being briefed on an active and ongoing basis, in some cases by RCMP commanders in their particular provinces, because the divisional commanders of the RCMP are of course contract police in that jurisdiction, and they were having ongoing and active discussions with Public Safety ministers in those provinces. And in the case of Premier Kenney, he was clearly being updated in considerable detail by the police commanders in the Province of Alberta.


  103. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    And that's a very significant -- yes ---


  104. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    --- for the purposes of the CSIS Act, and I think it's important that there not be confusion around which particular section of what Act he was referring to.


  105. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)



  106. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Well, I don't share your view that the consultation was providing them with notice. The National Security Advisor wasn't briefing the First Ministers on that call, she would regularly update the Cabinet and the Incident Response Group. We benefitted from her analysis and that of Director Vigneault as well. But I'm not quibbling with you. The purpose of that consultation was not to have a legal discussion with First Ministers on the test that the Governor in Council was going to apply when and if we made the decision. My colleague, David Lametti, will be here tomorrow. He'll be able, I'm sure, to speak directly to the legal test that the government was using and concluded when the Governor in Council made the decision. We consulted carefully and listened very carefully to what First Ministers said at that meeting, and in a series of previous discussions in the preceding weeks as well.


  107. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Again, that -- first of all, that would not have been a secure forum. A telephone conference call is not normally where senior intelligence officials would share detailed threat assessments. So that particular venue would not have been possible or appropriate. But the way that information was shared with provinces and territories is through the ongoing and secure communications between law enforcement officials of the Government of Canada, and those premiers, many of them would talk to us about it, were being updated by their own Deputy Ministers of Public Safety or Deputy Solicitors General in some provinces, or senior police leadership in their province that had the benefit of an open exchange in a secure context with the Canadian intelligence and law enforcement officials that were briefing the Government of Canada.


  108. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Oui, moi, j’ai offert à la Ministre LeBel, suite à la discussion avec les premiers ministres, que pour que les mesures économiques soient efficaces, il fallait y avoir une application nationale, parce que si quelqu’un avait un compte de banque, par exemple, à la Caisse populaire au Québec ou à la Banque Nationale, ce ne sera pas à l’abri des mesures économiques nécessaires, dans notre jugement, pour amener ces actes illégaux à une conclusion.


  109. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Well, it does in the sense that they were preventative. We thought it was important. As I said to your colleague earlier, it wasn't clear that this problem was going to go away or that the people occupying the bridge in Windsor, Ontario weren't going to displace themselves somewhere else. There was an active discussion about risks to other critical infrastructure. So we thought that the national application of those measures, in the case it ultimately was necessary, would have given the local law enforcement authorities the tools, for example, that the City of Ottawa and the Ontario Provincial Police and the RCMP used so effectively to bring the occupation in Ottawa to a conclusion.


  110. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    That wasn’t considered as a responsible or realistic option because by enabling all of the local enforcement, law enforcement, and provincial police authorities to have recourse to those powers should they, in their judgement, determine they were necessary, was a more effective and comprehensive way to provide the deterrent effect to not have a particular group of illegal occupiers in one spot displace themselves somewhere else. So we didn’t think we should be having Governor in Council processes every day following that decision. The more effective and responsible way was to enable those authorities in the other jurisdictions to have recourse to that should they, in their judgement, decide it was necessary.


  111. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Thank you.


  112. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Good evening.


  113. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)



  114. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Yes, I do.


  115. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Yes, I see that.


  116. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Yes. As I said, this is, in my view, an accurate summary of that meeting.


  117. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Yeah, that’s what it says.


  118. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    That was their view during that meeting, yes.


  119. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)



  120. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Yes, that’s a summary that my Deputy Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Michael Vandergrift, would have circulated to colleagues across the government that you see noted at the top of that email.


  121. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)



  122. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)



  123. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    To be honest, I don’t want to mislead, I don’t -- I would not be able to say which jurisdiction he was referring to. He may have been talking, obviously, to other provincial premiers, and his officials would have been. They speak actively amongst themselves, as would Dr. Moore, who was his Chief Public Health Officer with their counterpart. So I can’t purport to remember the sequence of which jurisdiction was enacting or altering which particular measures.


  124. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Again, I’m taking your word for it. I don’t remember the sequence of which province changed what public health posture within their own jurisdiction. But I take your word for it if you have a sequence of provincial public health measures.


  125. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    I would think that certainly in the initial days of the convoy, that attracted a great deal of that sentiment, and our government has acknowledged the difficulty that covid represented for millions of Canadians. We, the Prime Minister, Ministers, have acknowledged that this has been extremely difficult on many Canadians, on sectors of the economy. We all know the list of very difficult circumstances that the pandemic brought. So we acknowledge that. And certainly, as the convoy was taking form, and the first day that we saw on Parliament Hill, there were probably a number of lawful protestors that came to express that sentiment. That wasn’t the case as the thing dragged on and as it evolved. But in the initial steps, I think that might be a fair characterization, that some of the people participating in some of the convoy activities fit in that category. Clearly some didn’t.


  126. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    I’m not sure I’d generalize that across protest movements around the world or across the country. I can’t speak to why particular protest movements are formed. One protests because one wants to bring public attention to a particular issue or bring a certain public policy or governmental policy to public attention. But I wouldn’t purport to speak for why people show up at protests or organize protests.


  127. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Absolutely. Lawful and peaceful protest is an essential part of any democracy, and as you said, it's protected constitutionally in Canada.


  128. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    No, I wouldn't speak for why provincial health authorities made those decisions. I have noted on a number of occasions that Premier Ford in the case of Ontario referred to following the medical advice from Dr. Moore, his chief public health officer, and other scientists. So no, I wouldn't purport to say, and I certainly don’t purport to speak for premiers or their health ministers or their chief public health officers. They can explain why they made particular decisions with respect to their public health measures. But to say that it is in response to a protest, I think is a pretty simplistic analysis that may not be borne out by what a number of them have said publicly.


  129. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    No. He -- no, because in that same conversation, he talked about his extreme frustration with the protests and the illegal blockades and the serious multi-billion-dollar damage it was doing to the economy of Ontario. He shared with me the conversations he had with the governor of Michigan. He shared with me the conversations with union leaders, business leaders about the investment climate that this was sending for Ontario. He spoke to me about the very real risk of violence in Ottawa, the illegal occupation of Ottawa. He was not crediting the illegal occupation or blockades with his decision to adjust public health measures, and in fact, he referred to his chief public health officer in that context as well.


  130. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Well, Premier Ford is quite an articulate political leader. I can't speak for why he made particular decisions within the sovereign jurisdiction of the Government of Ontario, but my frequent conversations with him would lead me to believe that the decisions that he made on the appropriate public health measures -- and Ontario was one of the jurisdictions in the country that had, at various times, amongst the most severe measures. So his government had taken very difficult and very real steps in the fight against the Corona Virus, which we thought were very conducive to trying to protect as many citizens of his province as possible. So his leadership with respect to public health measures, from my conversations with him, was not motivated by the illegal blockade that was causing such harm to the economy of Ontario in Windsor or the completely unacceptable illegal occupation of the City of Ottawa.


  131. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    I do.


  132. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Yeah, this is a -- I had sort of copy pasted a text message that I had received, I'm guessing if it was 7:47 in the morning. I might have received it overnight from Premier Kenney and I was forwarding it, I think, to my colleagues.


  133. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Those were his words in his message to me.


  134. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    I was updating my Cabinet colleagues at the Incident Response Group on various discussions with premiers. I would have forwarded that to, I think -- I can't see the top of it but I remember it was Minister Alghabra, I think, Omar, and probably Marco Mendicino. But I was updating my Cabinet colleagues on those interactions. But so too was Dr. Tam, who was talking to her chief public health officer counterparts. So the sharing of information around the views of provincial governments was much broader than my summarizing for Cabinet colleagues various conversations that I may have had with premiers.


  135. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    No. The decisions that we made on public health measures were informed by public health advice from doctors and from scientists. That was always the focal point of our decision making as a government with respect to these public health measures.


  136. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    It won't surprise you that I don’t share that view, and I would also remind you that the United States had a vaccine mandate with respect to truckers that the Government of Canada was not able to lift. So there was also a lot of confusion around whether if ultimately based on medical and scientific advice we determined that that particular mandate was no longer necessary, if the United States government hadn't lifted that particular measure, it wouldn't have changed much for truckers trying to cross that particular international border, as an example.


  137. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Again, I don’t share that view. I didn’t agree with the characterization of Premier Kenney. I shared his message with colleagues of mine.


  138. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Good evening.


  139. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    My understanding is that the economic and social disruption in Windsor was enormous, and it had gone on for many days and was a source of international concern at the highest levels in the American administration. We were obviously glad that it was resolved in the way it was resolved, but to have an international border crossing that cost billions of dollars to the Canadian economy, and led to considerable reputational damage for Canada as an investment opportunity, we wouldn’t have described as a very successful effort, but we -- I certainly share your view that when it was resolved peacefully, it was a very important moment for the country.


  140. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Yes, and he was very clear in the First Ministers’ meeting and in various discussions across our government that that was the case.


  141. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)



  142. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Yes, I know that people who work in my office were speaking with officials at the City of Windsor and in the Government of Ontario. And I know that my colleague and he, I’m sure, spoke about it today, but Marco Mendicino spoke, I believe, with the Mayor of the City of Windsor, as well, on a number of occasions.


  143. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)



  144. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    I can’t speak to the number of specific times, or the dates when they would have spoken, but I know that she had told me that she had an ongoing discussion with some officials in Windsor, and I know she was sharing that with colleagues in other offices as well; I assume Mr. Mendicino’s office and others.


  145. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    That would be a normal part of her responsibilities in my office, yes.


  146. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    The report that was tabled per the legislation? Yes.


  147. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Yes, I had read that as part of what was tabled in Parliament.


  148. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Yes, I believe that to be accurate of the various communications that were taking place.


  149. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    It was, and I -- my colleagues with operational responsibilities -- my own role in the intergovernmental space is not, obviously, operational the way it would be the Public Safety Minister or the Transport Minister. But provincial and municipal partners were obviously critical in managing this circumstance. We’re always conscious that municipalities operate constitutionally as creatures of provincial legislation; it’s not a constitutional order of government. But they have such an important responsibility in managing these Public Order Emergencies, that necessarily their officials, their law enforcement officials and so on, have open and active conversations, I think, with provincial, and certainly federal officials. And that’s in everybody’s interest in trying to bring the maximum amount of pressure to bear on ending these illegal circumstances in the most efficient and safest way possible.


  150. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Yes, because it was part of our government’s conclusion that existing provincial and municipal authorities and resources were not going to be adequate to bring these illegal events to a conclusion. And that’s why the Emergencies Act, which is necessarily the last resort in this decision-making process, in our view, became necessary. So to inform ourselves, we had active and ongoing conversations, as a national government, with these municipal and provincial authorities because everybody was trying to use every existing tool, authority, resource to bring these to a safe and appropriate conclusion. So for us to conclude that it wasn’t likely going to work, and that it was necessary, ultimately, for the Governor-in-Council to proceed to invocation. This had to be one of the very critical inputs to that process.


  151. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)



  152. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Again, I want to be careful, as the Intergovernmental Affairs Minister, I’m conscious of the Constitutional Orders of Government; you’re a lawyer, you’ll understand that as well. Some provinces are very jealous of the Government of Canada having, in some contexts, direct relationships with their municipalities; that’s not the case in every jurisdiction. And happily, that was not the case with respect to this joint effort -- this collective effort, not joint effort, from the different orders or government, as you noted, to try and manage this national public safety emergency.


  153. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Yes, and that was one of the challenges with respect to those international border crossings which clearly are critical economic infrastructure for the country, the fact that this international border crossing could so effectively be blockaded, largely in the municipal streets of the City of Windsor. One of the challenges was, the bridge itself may have a different jurisdictional scope but access to an international border crossing in this case is properly in the municipal streets of the City you represent, so that is exactly why it was important for us to have the appropriate situational awareness as we contemplated what would be the appropriate tools that might assist municipal and provincial authorities in bringing this to a conclusion.


  154. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    So I, as the Infrastructure Minister, another portfolio that I have responsibility for, have ongoing and active discussions with provinces and municipalities in terms of infrastructure programs. So across the Government of Canada there are active discussions with municipalities in many different areas of public policy. And in something as important as the effective enforcement of measures necessary to bring illegal, very dangerous and damaging illegal activities to an end, we’ll continue to work with all the partners necessary to do this. And as I said, from our perspective, the provincial governments understood that the three orders of government had to be involved for this to be effective, and the vast majority of cases, that was the cooperation that was successfully being used. Thank you, Commissioner, thank you, Minister LeBlanc, those are all my questions.


  155. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Thank you.


  156. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Again, I can’t speak for Mr. Goodale, but that was how I would have interpreted that as well. He was our Federal Public Safety Minister and his counterpart would have properly been the Solicitor-General of Ontario. So I assumed like you, that that’s what he was referring to.


  157. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    So I can’t speak, I’m not an expert on the statutory application of provincial legislation in Ontario and what those authorities might be under the Ontario Polices Services Act, so I have no ability; I received this email from the now High Commissioner of Canada to the United Kingdom and -- but a former Public Safety Minister as I said to your colleague, the Commission counsel, so what was –- it was not as a result of Mr. Goodale’s email to me, but I think it's accurate to say that there was an ongoing and active discussion between many senior officials of our government, many of my cabinet colleagues, the Transport Minister, the Public Safety Minister whom you heard from today, with their Ontario counter parts, to explore every necessary and possible option to bring these illegal occupations and blockades to a safe and successful conclusion. But what are the precise mechanics in the policing context I don’t –- I can’t speak to that. Perhaps Mr. Mendicino did earlier today or maybe David Lametti can tomorrow.


  158. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    So, yes, I know there was, as I say, a very active and ongoing discussion at many levels of our government. One conversation that we discussed earlier with your colleagues that I had with Premier Ford on the night of February 10th. He spoke to me about his concern around some of the challenges in municipal policing in the City of Ottawa. He spoke to me about the role that he thought the OPP was increasingly going to be playing in support of the necessary public safety measures to clear the City of Ottawa and obviously on that evening the circumstance in Windsor had not been resolved. So Premier Ford spoke to me about his strong belief that the Ontario Provincial Police could and would be a very important source of support, but in terms of what’s the right command structure, I can’t speak to that, but I do know that there was very real desire from the Premier, and that view was shared by some of my Cabinet colleagues in the updates they would give to the incident response group meetings because, as I say, these discussions, if it was Commissioner Lucki, if it was the National Security Advisor, Intelligence Advisor, the Prime Minister, there were many and multiple discussions, particularly with the Province of Ontario, but not exclusively, around all of these measures, including the appropriate sharing of police resources to try and bring these to a conclusion.


  159. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Thank you very much.


  160. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Yes. And him having held the Public Safety portfolio in our Government, I thought might have given him an insight that other colleagues would not have had.


  161. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    He was talking about Toronto and other cities and I am thinking, off the top of my head, of Quebec City; I’m thinking of Fredericton, New Brunswick or perhaps Toronto, where –- and, again, I’m going not by some operational experience I have or briefings on how this worked, but if I go on the coverage of the events of the New Brunswick legislature, the Fredericton Police appeared to have handled that successfully. Certainly the Quebec City Police with the Sûreté du Québec were seen to have handled it very effectively. And I also remember the City of Toronto, the very real concerns around some potential blockages at the legislature at Queen's Park in Toronto, but as we know that University Avenue is a critical access to many of the country's best hospitals. So those kind of conversations or potential protest attracted certainly our attention as a national government, and again, without having been briefed on the operational command of which police force did what, to the observer, and Mr. Goodale was observing this from London in the United Kingdom, I would agree with his assessment that in Toronto it looked like the Toronto Police had effectively handled that situation. But what was the role of other police forces, I can't speak to that.


  162. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Well, clearly you can't because the experience in Toronto was effectively resolved and didn't lead to a three-week illegal occupation. So yeah, I would agree with you.


  163. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    I -- yes, I would agree the volume, but it wasn't a surprise that that convoy arrived in the City of Ottawa. There was considerable notice. In fact, people were filming across the country the trucks rolling towards the city.


  164. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)



  165. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Not at all. That's not my evidence. That's what Mr. Goodale's email would purport to identify.


  166. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    It certainly became a national problem when the Capital City was paralysed and occupied illegally for three weeks. There was an element in the City of Ottawa, of course around Parliament Hill and the role of the Parliamentary Protective Service. As I said to your colleague, I have sat for a number of years on the Board of Internal Economy of the House of Commons. The statute requires two ministers to be members. I'm -- I sit there where we talk about parliamentary security. But I wouldn't purport to say that the Public Order Emergency in the City of Ottawa was a municipal problem. If you're asking me to agree with that, I think it was a national problem, and the -- all three orders of government had to play an effective role in bringing it to a conclusion.


  167. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    I don't have any experience in police operations. So what is the appropriate police response in a particular Public Order Emergency is not something that I feel comfortable saying.


  168. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    If you're asking if the Ottawa Police Service was overwhelmed and was unable in the front end of this occupation to take control and resolve the situation, that to an observer across the country I think might be a conclusion. But I do agree with your analysis that as the thing became more entrenched, as it attracted perhaps different actors from the initial weekend as it became a flashpoint and a rallying point for different participants, the level of the Public Order Emergency became much greater than in those initial days that people may have estimated, perhaps with the advantage of hindsight, incorrectly.


  169. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    That's the one that I remembered and I discussed in my interview with the Commission Counsel because he was referring to the potential use of military heavy lift tow trucks. It's possible that Premier Kenney, as we saw earlier in a text message that I had shared with my Cabinet colleagues, he had expressed some frustration in terms of the response of some of the RCMP officers with respect to the situation in Coutts.


  170. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Yes, it would have been an exchange of text messages, and yes, I do recall that. Mr. Kenney, of course, himself a Minster of National Defence, so he would have had, more than other premiers perhaps, an insight into that whole request for assistance process.


  171. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    I was not until Premier Kenney indicated to me that they had submitted it. No, I was not. That was being dealt with by my colleagues, Bill Blair, and obviously the Minister of National Defence herself was involved. But I was not -- I would not normally be involved unless I was briefed in a meeting, a Incident Response Group meeting, in terms of that RFA process.


  172. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    That's correct. As I say, I would have been in meetings where my colleagues would have said, "We've received or we're expecting to receive"... These things are rarely surprises. They're worked on between officials. When the formal request for assistance arrives, there has, in the vast majority of cases... In most of things, you'll appreciate, there has been a massive increase in those requests for assistance in the COVID context, in ---


  173. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Yeah. So the process is well worn and well known to provincial emergency measures organisations. There's nothing mysterious about this to provincial authorities.


  174. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Yeah, I would have. As you saw, I had forwarded a text message to the Transport Minister and the Public Safety Minister, but I would have said to, certainly to Bill Blair, when he was at the Incident Response Group meetings I was at, that Premier Kenney had reached out to me with the respect to the potential use of military heavy lift tow trucks.


  175. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Yes, that's correct.


  176. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    I have no recollection whatsoever of having raised that with any of them before we had that First Ministers call that we discussed earlier this evening.


  177. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Thank you.


  178. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Yes, and that would have been 10:52 p.m. in Ottawa, which was almost midnight in New Brunswick, where I was when that call had taken place.


  179. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    And I would have -- my practice was to, after a call, certainly of that significance, to immediately provide my Deputy Minister at Privy Council for Intergovernmental Affairs, Mr. Vandergrift, with a summary of the call, and he would circulate that to his counterparts as appropriate in the Government of Canada.


  180. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Yes. The Premier had told me that they were finalizing those measures and he was announcing them the next day.


  181. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Yes. The initial part of the conversation, and the purported reason why I texted Premier Ford to ask if I could speak with him when I got home in New Brunswick was to explore what we thought were, particularly in the transportation sector, but not exclusively, options that perhaps -- non-Emergency Act options obviously, that might be brought to bear in the context of Windsor and in Ottawa. So this was part of an ongoing effort at every level of our government, not only with Ontario, but the example you’re using was with Ontario, to ensure that we have used every available and possible authority, municipal, federal, provincial, that may assist in resolving these various illegal activities.


  182. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    That’s absolutely correct. And as I say, I know there had been, that day, a discussion around some what we thought were provincial Transportation Department authorities that may be helpful in the trucking context, and that was the original reason why I reached out to Premier Ford. And as I say, the conversation was quickly overwhelmed by his explaining to me the decisions that his government was in the process of implementing, which led to their invocation of their own measures the next morning.


  183. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    That is absolutely accurate. One of the things that struck me at the various Incident Response Group meetings, and in briefings from particularly Commissioner Lucki, but not exclusively the Commissioner, because other federal law enforcement officials were providing updates, the Head of the Canadian Border Services Agency, the Director of CSIS, and others. But police authorities, particularly in our case, the RCMP, the Commissioner of the RCMP, were very concerned about their counterparts in municipal or provincial police organizations having the appropriate operational plan in place that would enable the RCMP to then affect additional resources in a safe and effective way. So that was a subject that Commissioner Lucki brought up often with the Incident Response Group and in various other briefings that I was a party to before the Incident Response Group was stood up by the Prime Minister.


  184. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    That’s right. And I did not discuss with the Premier at all the potential invocation federally. We were still canvassing. And you would have seen that in some of the Incident Response Group minutes. The first track, track one, was still very much, on that evening, the focus of our efforts because we recognized that the Emergencies Act, ultimately if that was the decision, was a decision of last resort. So we were very much actively in pursuit of existing provincial and municipal authorities, and federal support that would help them execute those authorities in the most safe and effective way.


  185. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    The first time I remember a discussion about the potential invocation or the necessary analysis that might lead the government to conclude that that was the necessary step of last resort was at a meeting earlier in the evening on the 10th of February in Ottawa, an Incident Response Group meeting. And as I say, the briefing by officials was framed in the context of track one, which we had been pursuing since the very beginning of this public order emergency. And track two then became an option or a source of discussion for the government as an option if track one, which was the existing authorities, municipal, federal, provincial, continued to prove ineffective in resolving these illegal blockades and occupations.


  186. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Yes. And I want to be careful. Considered, I’m not sure that is -- would be the way - - that’s the first time Cabinet was briefed by senior officials that they were beginning to look at, and subsequently over the meetings the next day and on the weekend, that became part of the conversation. But the first time it was raised as an option before the government, the invocation, was as the second and last resort track, if you will, was on that evening of the 10th of February. At the Incident Response Group meeting. You’re correct.


  187. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Yes. And I would recall that conversation at that meeting as well. I think that was the Saturday. I was physically in Ottawa during those days and I remember that Saturday meeting.


  188. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Yes. The Cabinet was being briefed by officials and I assume the Minister of Justice. I’m going by memory. I don’t have the minutes in front of me. But Cabinet colleagues and senior officials were explaining to the government, to the Incident Response Group meeting in that case, what might be the steps necessary and the potential authorities that could be contained, should the government decide to proceed to an invocation of the Emergencies Act.


  189. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)



  190. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Yes, I was.


  191. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Yes, I do.


  192. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    The measure is referred to, and again, going by memory, my colleague, David Lametti, would have explained that one of the concerns we have is the financial support which was very considerable to these illegal blockades and occupations, and these economic measures were only available, should the government decide to invoke the Emergencies Act. And that’s -- that was -- and I think it was your colleague representing one of the provincial governments -- that was exactly -- I'm going by memory -- it's getting late, but it's not as late for some of you who've been here all day -- but that was exactly what I was referring to. It is accurate to say that Mr. Lametti told first ministers that there were these economic measures that financial institutions could take to effectively cut off funding of these illegal activities.


  193. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)



  194. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)



  195. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    So the prime minister, in the course of that conversation with first ministers, acknowledged that the Government of Canada recognized this risk, but that was also part of the discussions we had at the Incident Response Group, meetings when we would have received updates from the various federal intelligence and law enforcement officials that were updating those groups of -- the group of ministers constituted at these various moments. So it is accurate, I think, Mr. MacKinnon, to say that the Government of Canada and certainly the Cabinet considered carefully the risk of further inflaming or the incendiary effect of a potential decision to invoke the Emergencies Act. That was part of the deliberative process that the government considered when we came to the decision that the circumstances were such that it warranted this measure of last resort.


  196. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    That was a reference - - and I remember listening carefully to that conference call, to that first minsters' meeting. I do remember the premier of Alberta, then Premier Kenney saying that he didn’t quibble with using the Emergencies Act, but his focus had been on some of the risks, the public safety risks that were very real in Coutts. He had shared with me his concern about the very high potential for violence in Coutts. But I do remember being surprised that the premier of Alberta did use the phrase that’s accurately reflected in that read out of the conversation.


  197. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    I do.


  198. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    It very much was. That view was shared, as we've heard previously, by Premier Kenney. Premier Ford had talked to me about that. I think we were all surprised at the extent to which commercial tow truck drivers were reluctant or intimidated -- what the circumstance was, I don't know, I can't speak to that -- but the lawful authorities in this case in Ontario were not able to procure a sufficient access to these heavy lift tow trucks to remove some of these large trucks that would have been blocking either the city streets of Ottawa or the bridge in Windsor or in the case of Alberta, the Coutts, Alberta border crossing. And one of the reasons why ultimately the governor in council, the cabinet concluded that the Emergencies Act was a necessary and proportionate use of last resort was because it enabled in the Emergencies Act authorities to give local enforcement authorities the ability to compel tow truck operators or tow trucks -- and I may not be using the precise words -- but this was seen as part of the solution to bring these blockades to a conclusion. It was not tenable to say, "We can't enforce municipal bylaws, Criminal Code bylaws because we can't find somebody to tow a truck away from a critical piece of infrastructure as important as the Ambassador Bridge." That seemed untenable, but Premier Ford correctly identified that as a real operational problem which we viewed the Emergencies Act as being ultimately able to provide some relief.


  199. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Absolutely. This discussion was at the first ministers' call on the 14th.


  200. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    It is. The prime minister, when we began to consider the potential invocation of the Emergencies Act at the Incident Response Group meetings was very insistent that it be time limited and that it not be used longer than was minimally necessary.


  201. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    I do.


  202. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    That, I’m taking your word for, Mr. MacKinnon. That decision of the Government of Alberta was on the 8th of February?


  203. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    No, the Coutts illegal blockade continued for a number of days after that. And in fact, there were sites, I remember, on the route, on the access to the particular Coutts border crossing that were increasingly becoming the source -- a magnet for other activities. So to pretend that the vaccine passports to go to a restaurant in Alberta resolved the Coutts border crossing would not be an accurate view, in my opinion, of the chronology of those events.


  204. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    I was aware at our Incident Response Group meetings officials were briefing us and it was very much in the public domain and in public media about the injunctive relief that was being sought by authorities in Windsor.


  205. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    I -- in my view, yes, and I think I tried to express to one of your colleagues that if a particular -- in the case of the Windsor blockade, it was, as I’ve said before, extremely damaging economically. It was high- risk of public safety concerns. All of that, in our view, was true. But once it was dispersed, it wasn’t clear where those people had gone or where they may show up next. So in order to keep that particular border crossing open, there was a level of very significant and sustained police presence required. The injunctive relief, as you noted, continued. There was an issue of potentially spreading too thin police resources. So, in our view, the Emergencies Act had a dissuasive and deterrent affect that may make it possible for other particular pieces of critical infrastructure or other municipal streets not to be affected in this way once people understood the financial measures and the local law enforcement authorities had these additional tools to designate areas -- and your colleague’s spoken about this earlier -- as a way to manage potential pop-up or sympathy protests. So simply because the bridge had been reopened did not remove, in our view, the risk of a recurrence, and the heavy police presence that remained, I think, was perhaps conformation of that concern.


  206. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Mybe my answer needs to be briefer.


  207. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Yes, we -- we took note of the certain irony that the Province of Manitoba said over and over again that this wasn’t necessary and need not apply on the territory of Manitoba, but the Winnipeg Police Force thought that those measures that would have been available to them had they been needed were of sufficient importance that they should use them in a pamphlet that they were giving to demonstrators who I think were in front of them Manitoba Legislature. I think it’s on Broadway Avenue. But that was a source of real concern and the Winnipeg Police thought that those additional authorities were significant enough that they may be used to perhaps dissuade some of those protesters from entrenching in front of the Manitoba Legislature like we saw in the City of Ottawa.


  208. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    J’ai pas l’air de quelqu’un qui a manqué beaucoup de repas.


  209. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    Ah, je vais peut-être aller même prendre un cigare avec mon collègue Mendicino. Je vous remercie beaucoup, Monsieur le commissaire.


  210. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister (GC-IGA)

    J’apprécie l’occasion beaucoup et votre travail aussi.