John Brodhead

John Brodhead spoke 45 times across 1 day of testimony.

  1. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)

    Affirm, please.


  2. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)

    John Brodhead, J-o-h-n B-r-o- d-h-e-a-d.


  3. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)



  4. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)

    Sure. So as Director of Policy, one of the key pieces of my role is to kind of work with the Privy Council Office very closely to coordinate the Cabinet agenda. So as you've heard through these proceedings, there's - - we have many Cabinet committees, and -- so we work with PCO to make sure items are ready to go forward on those agendas, any kind of remaining issues to be sorted out between ministers or departments, so that's one. We have a team of 14 policy advisors. So they cover the -- all the departments. So they each have policy files, so they become, you know, the links to the ministers' offices as well as to the content experts at PCO and other departments. And I think in that role, we provide advice to the Prime Minister on policy items, so whether it's items going to Cabinet, other items such as the budget, our team will often prepare memos along those lines and advise the Prime Minister on the policy side of these things.


  5. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)

    So what specifically -- what -- is of interest? Just the general relationship?


  6. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)

    Sure. So I'll speak to my experience because I obviously cover one part of that dynamic. And I interact with primarily two parts of the Privy Council Office. One is the kind of Priorities and Planning Group, which is Michael Vandergrift's group, and then the other one is the Operations Team, which is now run by Kaili Levesque. Plans and Priorities is really the Cabinet side, and Operations is more of the execution and -- of that. So there is, I would say, a constant flow of information back and forth. They provide us advice, they convene meetings of departments across the government, they really kind of hold the institutional knowledge on many of these files, and so we kind of work very closely together to ensure we're aligned on the policy agenda, that things are rolling out. They also have great experience in terms of execution of policy, so it's are things getting done, are things happening that we brought into play, are they still going, is it still moving? So it's a very constant and a very important relationship for us.


  7. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)

    Sure, I can start and then folks can add it. So I would say there was lots of conversations happening at this point with various governments, at the officials’ level, at the political level, across the country, as we tried to make sure we were hearing from them on what was happening on the ground and making sure we had those -- that intelligence. I think -- with respect to Ontario, specifically, I think there was, at the outset, a different approach to this -- to the strategy, and I think, as we get to - - we were quite keen on this idea of a tripartite table that Minister Blair had been working on and we thought that was a good way of getting everybody at the table and making sure resources were aligned, making sure everyone, you know, looked each other in the eyes and worked together. And at that time, Ontario was not as keen on that approach. I don’t really want to, you know, speculate for why the Solicitor General or Deputy Minister Solicitor General at this point wasn’t, but from my conversations with them, they did want to have Ottawa -- the City of Ottawa and the Ottawa Police Service kind of play the lead role and were not as interested at that time in the collaborative tripartite approach that were interested in.


  8. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)

    It’s February 8th.


  9. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)

    Yes. As they were getting kind of push back and -- or just not support from their counterparts, the solicitor general in particular, they had asked me to connect with my contact in the premier's office and to just check and see if -- was this something that the Ontario government or this minister or just to kind of ascertain some of those kind of contextual details. So I did. I chatted with Jamie Wallace, and it was clear that they were kind of -- they had a different approach and strategy and the tripartite table was not a priority for them at that time.


  10. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)

    Sorry. Jamie Wallace is the chief of staff to Premier Ford.


  11. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)



  12. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)

    Was that this was not a strategy they wanted to pursue at this time.


  13. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)

    It was -- you know, I think - - you know, my recollection of that conversation was it was really they wanted Ottawa to be the main driver of this and did not want a kind of multi-governmental approach to this at that time. That was the impression I got from that phone call.


  14. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)

    Yeah. So previous to being Director of Policy, which I started in January, I was Senior Advisor with a focus on intergovernmental affairs. And so through that, I got to work closely with a number of the provinces. The three I was having most contact with, one was British Columbia because they were chair of the Council of Federation at the time, so that was an ongoing active discussion generally, and I want to be clear, not just about this. For example, Mr. Wallace and I were working on child care very actively at this time as well, and other issues were very -- would come up. So -- and then other provinces as well, but the other part of our PMO which is important in this is the regional desks who don’t report to me, they're part of the operations team. They have geographical areas of responsibility, so they are often in touch with provinces and cities and we have kind of a information sharing between us, so I'm in touch with them a lot. They let me know when things are happening. I do as well, so I know that from -- in those times, there was a lot of informal contact as well as obviously from ministers and officials.


  15. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)

    I might start. I don’t -- I'm not putting too much weight into this as I read it, and I wasn’t there, but this strikes me as frustration and a bit of a back and forth and that frustration happening and both sides kind of articulating some of that frustration. I think we were trying to look for ways to work together. There were three levels of government and it was a challenge to get these machines working in the right direction. And I think this is a -- this back and forth is a -- would be my guess, would be this is an outcrop of just a frustration around those levels of government and the two different approaches that I've outlined before.


  16. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)

    And I’ll preface my answer by saying this is me not in the Government of Ontario, which I did spend a long time in the Government of Ontario, but I was not there at this point. I think in a sense it started to become absolutely clear that we had to work together. So it was almost the increase of things happening to add the Ambassador Bridge to the Ottawa situation, other things starting to happen around the province; Windsor, Sarnia, Cornwall, and all -- I think it became clear -- and I’m hypothesizing here -- that -- but we did see an evolution of their strategy at that time. In terms of at the political level collaboration, I think there’s lots going on in other places that I don’t want to comment to, but just that’s what I would -- I can specifically comment to.


  17. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)

    Pam Livingston at the time was Chief of Staff to the Premier -- to Premier Kenney.


  18. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)

    Maybe if I can just add, I think, you know, we also looked at can we reimburse? If they find them privately, can/should we reimburse that? So it was -- and I kind of push back a little bit on that this rarely happens. Like, in a case where the process comes through and it goes to the Minister and it’s a -- I’ve known of other cases where it was like, “No, we can’t assist.” The Minister’s office will often flag it to us, and we’ll ask questions about while we explored this. And I can remember other instances where that was the case, where we just pushed more to find other solutions that in the kind of narrow band of the RFA process, they may not bother.


  19. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)

    Sure, I’ll start and then my colleagues can add. I -- you know, I think it was quite consistent with what we had heard before, but I think it was a very robust conversation. You know, we had the ministers, Minister Lametti and, I believe, Minister Mendicino or LeBlanc, and the Prime Minister speak. Then, the Prime Minister went across the country in terms of making sure he heard from each of the provinces and territorial premiers. I think -- you know, we had known on where -- not specifically on the Emergencies Act, but we had known from conversations with Ontario what they were kind of feeling generally. We had heard from a lot of the provinces. So I think it was -- it was quite an interesting conversation. I think we did learn a lot. And just to use, you know, a couple of quick examples, you know, some of the issues around supply chain that Newfoundland and Nunavut brought up, and concern from the Premier in the Northwest Territories about a blockade, concerns from Premier Horgan about RCMP being stretched too thin as they were -- a contingent to support another part of the country. And it really kind of showed the national nature of it and the kind of variety of issues folks were facing. And even the folks who were, I would say, more concerned, such as the Premier of Alberta or the Premier of Saskatchewan, you know, even they had said things like, “Well, I won’t quibble with the use of the Emergencies Act but I’m worried about enflaming folks,” which was something we were concerned about, had talked about at IRGs, was a real cause of discussion. And same with Premier Mo who said, you know, “The six you’ve mentioned sounds reasonable, but I’m worried about enflaming.” So, you know -- and even, you know, Premier Legault talking about, your know, the Sûreté du Québec and -- you know, and the dynamic between the Sûreté and the RCMP and us having to kind of, you know, discuss where those boundaries were them in calls, Mr. Leblanc mentioned, after with Minister Labelle, I believe it was, really showed -- like it was a very meaty conversation, I found, and -- but not a -- not a -- not one where I think we were shocked by what we were hearing because of the outreach that happened in advance.


  20. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)



  21. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)

    It was not me having those conversations, but that is my understanding, yes.


  22. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)

    I would say he was definitely clear that he did not believe it was needed in Alberta at that time.


  23. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)

    I don’t.


  24. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)

    I live in Toronto.


  25. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)

    It’s the other JB.


  26. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)



  27. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)

    I don't recall doing that, no.


  28. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)



  29. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)

    I think the Deputy Clerk and Clerk, like I think their testimony was ---


  30. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)

    --- on this day they led that process, so I would refer to their testimony.


  31. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)

    I don't recall anything more than that.


  32. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)

    I’d refer back to the Deputy Clerks at this point.


  33. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)

    Yeah, I’m not sure what we can say on that. I think there’s some Cabinet confidence issues there.


  34. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)

    I’ve never seen this.


  35. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)

    That’s clear.


  36. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)

    I believe he also said these -- the six items sounded reasonable.


  37. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)

    I think that’s fair, yes.


  38. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)

    I think that was clear from the premier, yes.


  39. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)

    I don’t actually -- it’s not a very common phrase -- like, I don’t totally know what she was referring to here.


  40. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)

    I don’t really want to speculate on what the Clerk of the Privy Council was thinking with that.


  41. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)

    My understanding is that there was a contingent sent from British Columbia to assist at Coutts.


  42. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)



  43. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)

    Can I add to that? Just the other one that I think struck me in his comments was this line at the bottom of the page: “[I] Don't quibble using the Emergencies Act...” Which is particularly interesting considering his previous roles with the federal government in that kind of national -- and I think, you know, I certainly interpreted that as an important distinction between what he felt was needed in Alberta versus what we knew we were looking at from a national perspective and having to take into consideration stretched resources, the movement, the differing situations across the country.


  44. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)

    I believe he was Minister of National Defence, in particular, so that was the one I was thinking of.


  45. John Brodhead, Director of Policy (GC-PMO)

    The only thing I would add to what I obviously agree with from my two colleagues, I think watching the Incident Response Group, and I say this as a policy wonk and somebody who spends a lot of time at Cabinet committees and these processes, it really helped facilitate the type of discussion, having the experts, the civil servants, the key folks at the table, all the Ministers there, that type of open discussion. It just meant we could move at a speed that the other institutions, the other parts of our apparatus don’t allow. And so I think the combination of that and all the external advice we were getting, I think it was -- agree that it was a very kind of methodical process, and I think the Prime Minister was very clear about how methodical it needed to be, both in the -- both before and after. So I’ll leave it there.