Mandy England

Mandy England spoke 91 times across 9 days of testimony.

  1. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)



  2. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Good morning. My name is Mandy England and I’m here with my co-lead counsel, Stephanie Bowes. We are lawyers from the Legal Services Division of Alberta Justice and Solicitor General and we represent the Government of Alberta, together with our colleagues, Hana Laura Yamamoto, Peter Buijs, and Shaheer Meenai, who will also be attending as counsel during these hearings. The Government of Alberta applied for standing as a party before this Inquiry for two main reasons. First, Alberta believes it is important to share with Canadians the facts about how Alberta was able to effectively deal with the international border blockade in Coutts, Alberta, prior to the invocation of the Federal Emergencies Act. Alberta’s evidence will show that the existing law enforcement tools that were already in place were completely sufficient and they were successfully used to peacefully restore the flow of traffic at the Coutts Border Crossing and to disperse the protest to a legal protest site. None of the powers that were created under the Federal Emergencies Act were necessary, nor were any of them used in Alberta to resolve the Coutts blockade. Alberta is also here to participate in the process of holding the Federal Government accountable for its decision to invoke the Emergencies Act. Alberta has many questions about how and when that decision was reached, a decision that was made despite the objections that Alberta and other provinces expressed during a phone call placed to the First Ministers on the morning of February 14th, 2022, just hours prior to the announcement that the Federal Emergencies Act would be invoked. Since the Federal Government proclaimed that a public order emergency existed throughout Canada, the Act requires that all of the provinces must be consulted before it can be invoked in that manner, yet Alberta’s views were only asked for after the decision was apparently made, and they were basically ignored. The impact of these measures on the rights of Albertans is of great concern to the Government of Alberta. Alberta is here to find answers for its citizens and for all Canadians. We thank the Commissioner for this opportunity to appear as a party and we look forward to working with the Commission in the weeks to come.


  3. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Good afternoon. My name is Mandy England, and I’m asking some questions today on behalf of the Government of Alberta. Sir, you mentioned in your response to counsel for the Government of Canada that some tow truck operators were reluctant due to liability issues to engage in the towing, and so the Emergencies Act was helpful in that respect. Was that correct?


  4. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    And so would it be fair to say that there were tow truck drivers who were willing to do it? They would not have needed to be compelled to do it, but they just wanted that additional reassurance about liability?


  5. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Okay. Isn’t it true that there are also provisions under the Ontario Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act that protect individuals who are acting in good faith in performing an order under that Act from an action against them for a liability in performing that duty?


  6. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    And is it true that there’s provisions under that Act that provide a way for anyone who’s property is damaged where an order under the Act is being carried out to seek compensation from the province itself rather than from an individual like a tow truck operator who’s carrying out the order?


  7. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Fair enough.


  8. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    If what I had just said was true, that there was a mechanism for that individual to have sought compensation, would you agree that between those two items, that if there was an order under the Ontario Act authorizing the tow truck drivers to provide those towing services, that those operators would be protected in the same way by the Ontario Act?


  9. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)



  10. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    That’s fair. If the provisions were the same or substantially similar, though, would you agree that the Ontario legislation would have been equally helpful then in providing the assurances to tow truck operators?


  11. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Thank you very much. Those are my questions for you today. Thank you.


  12. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Good afternoon.


  13. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    It’s Mandy England for the Government of Alberta. The questions that we were going to cover off this afternoon have already been addressed by counsel, so we have no questions. Thank you very much, sir.


  14. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Good afternoon. It's Manday England for the Government of Alberta. We similarly have no questions this afternoon. Thank you very much.


  15. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Thank you very much. I have just a few brief questions this afternoon aimed at possibly clarifying just one aspect of the timeline. Mr. Clerk, if you could please pull up Document SSM.NSC.CAN.00002052_REL? Thank you very much. And so Mr. Sloly, you'll recall my friend Mr. Choudhry for CCF took you to this document earlier. It's minutes that somebody recorded of a February the 8th tripartite meeting that you had been on?


  16. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    And in that discussion, you had mentioned that it was your recollection that you had had a subsequent call, you believed it was the weekend of February 12th or 13th, with Ministers Blair and Mendicino, in which Minister Blair had asked you about two issues; first of all, whether you had considered law enforcement, bylaw enforcement, sorry; and the second issue on the status of towing efforts. Do you recall that conversation?


  17. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Could I just take you to page 3 of this document, please, about halfway down the page? And I'll let you read this, Mr. Sloly, just starting at the part that says, "BB", which is Minister Blair. Then there's a brief response from the mayor, and then there's a paragraph indicating your response to Minister Blair.


  18. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    This is my only area of questioning, and I have five minutes, so I'm content if the Commissioner's content to give you the time to look at that.


  19. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)



  20. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    So Mr. Clerk, if we could return to that portion on page 3, please, with the exchange with Minister Blair and Mr. Sloly. Would this, then, just for the transcript, briefly. Minister Blair asks whether you'd look at traffic laws, et cetera, and expands on that. And you response is, "rest assured", you talk about a number of ticketing efforts: "We are looking at insurance and licensing.... We are looking to create an IMPOUND ZONE, simply put, we can create this zone, IMPOUND these vehicles where they are, until we are able to remove them with the trucks we have, or get more trucks." A very, very brief summary of what the exchange is. Would this be the exchange that you thought had occurred perhaps on February 12th or 13th?


  21. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Okay. Thank you very much. I just wanted to clarify that. Those are my questions.


  22. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Thank you.


  23. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Good afternoon. Sorry, I’m having an issue; I’m unable to start my video.


  24. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Thank you.


  25. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Good afternoon, Minister Mendicino. My name is Mandy England; I’m counsel for the Government of Alberta.


  26. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    I’d like to just take you back to something that you said earlier in response to a question from Commission Counsel. I believe you said that Premier Kenney expressed to you that he had neither the resources nor the tools to deal with the blockades in Alberta. And I just wanted to clarify what you meant by tools. Often in this Inquiry that term has been used to refer to legislative tools or authorities such as, you know, being able to use the Criminal Code. And so I was hoping you could clarify what you meant by using that word.


  27. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Okay, thank you. So you meant physical tools, as opposed to legislative authority?


  28. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Okay, thank you. If I could, could I please take you to document SSM.NSC.CAN00003069? And this is a text, the portion that I will be reading will be a text between Zita Astravas, Minister Blair’s Chief of Staff, with Mike Jones, your Chief of Staff. And you can see the date, as we’re scrolling, is February the 6th at 8:49 p.m. And in this text, Ms. Astravas says: “Your DM Mike said the following: Head’s up. I have spoken to my [Alberta] counterpart and flagged that we are likely to decline the RFA...” So request for assistance, as you were just mentioning: “...for CAF equipment + optics + precedent + [provincial] authorities not fully explored reasons,. She was not surprised but said Minister McIvor would want to call Minister Blair.” And Mr. Jones says, “Thanks”. And so I’d just like to break down this text. The reference to “Your DM” would have been a reference to Deputy Minister Stewart; is that correct?


  29. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    It makes sense, and actually I should have clarified the email chain myself. I believe it’s a group chat in which all three of them were present. And so the indication with the document is that this is taken from Ms. Astravas’s phone, and then it indicates at the top of her screen the other two individuals that she’s texting with.


  30. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Does that help clarify?


  31. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Okay, thank you. And so would you understand the reference here to Deputy Minister Stewart -- what do understand here, in terms of what that means, that the reference to Deputy Minister Stewart having said that your Ministry was likely to decline the request for assistance because of optics?


  32. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    And just so that we are clear on the dates here, though, this text does predate that conversation with Premier Kenney; would that be correct? This is Sunday, February 6th, the day after the request for assistance was sent.


  33. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    I see. And so you don’t have any insight, then, is what you’re saying, into why Deputy Minister Stewart would have communicated to Alberta that a reason for declining the request was optics?


  34. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    And did you have a concern about optics?


  35. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Okay, thank you. And in terms of the next reason that’s given for declining the request, do you have any insight into why Deputy Minister Stewart might have said it was due to precedent?


  36. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Okay, thank you. And as noted previously, the text is sent, the follow-up request was February 5th, this text is sent on February the 6th, indicating that there was a conversation at some point between the 5th and the 6th between Deputy Minister Stewart and someone from Alberta. Would it be fair -- I also note that nowhere on the list of reasons does it say that the request for assistance would be denied because CAF equipment wasn’t suitable, or they didn’t have suitable equipment. Would it be fair to say that the communication by Deputy Minister Stewart was made before the possible CAF equipment options were fully explored?


  37. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Okay. Thank you. Had you discussed the suitability of CAF equipment with Minister Anand before the evening of February the 6th?


  38. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Okay. Thank you very much.


  39. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Okay. Certainly. I just wanted to confirm very quickly on two quick -- on one quick point. You’re familiar with the report of the houses of Parliament, the Emergencies Act consultations tabled February 16th? Is that right?


  40. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    So I’d like to pull up SSM.CAN.00000124 and take you to page 3, please. And if we could scroll down to the bottom of that page? Yeah, right there. So we can see that there’s a discussion of engagement, and the first sub-bullet point: “The Minister of Public Safety engaged with the Premier of Alberta on February 2[nd] and 9[th] […] and [then] with the Premier and the Acting Minister of Justice and Solicitor General […] on February [the] 7[th] […]. [You] also engaged [with] the Acting Minister of Justice and Solicitor General […] on February 1[st], 5[th], and 9[th]…” Can I confirm with you that in none of those conversations did you discuss the potential invocation of the Federal Emergencies Act with either Premier Kenney or Acting Minister Savage?


  41. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    So Minister Savage’s evidence is summarized in our Institutional Report is that you did not discuss the Federal Emergencies Act. Would that be something that you would agree with, or would you dispute that?


  42. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Okay. Thank you. And I know I’m out of time, and so perhaps I don’t have time to take you to this, but there are emails and text exchanges confirming that it was the conversation on February the 7th. There’s a read out and text exchanges with yourself and Minister Blair that it was on that date that you had had the conversation with Premier Kenney about the tow trucks, with the agreement to relay it to Minister Blair and Minister Anand. Would that, you know, jog, perhaps, your recollection on the chronology of when that conversation might have taken place?


  43. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Okay. Thank you very much. Those are my questions.


  44. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Good afternoon, my name is Mandy England; I am a lawyer for the Government of Alberta. I have just a few questions for you this afternoon, Minister. First, I’d like to ask, just in terms of next steps after your assessment of Alberta’s request for assistance, could you tell us who did you tell about that assessment? For example, did you tell Minister Blair?


  45. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    That’s right. Sorry for being unclear. You mentioned that you had a conversation with your Chief of Defence staff. There may have been other individuals present. I understand that. In terms of the usual process of an RFA, that was more of an informal assessment because you hadn’t formally received the RFA but you had notice of it and then had a discussion about it.


  46. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    And then following that discussion where you had considered the use of equipment from the Canadian Armed Forces, did you tell Minister Blair about your assessment?


  47. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Thank you. And no doubt those PPE efforts were greatly appreciated. In terms of who you did tell after the assessment, did you –- I think you indicated that you did speak to Minister Blair?


  48. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Okay. Would you be able to tell us when that phone call was?


  49. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Okay, thank you. And did you go into some detail about the analysis that you described or did you sort of simply communicate, you know, no, we don’t see it to be fit?


  50. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Okay, thank you. And did you communicate it with any other ministers or with the Prime Minister?


  51. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Okay, thank you. You outlined to us your considerations in going through Alberta’s RFA and I’d like to go through those in a little bit more detail. One of the concerns that you indicated played into the decision was the concern that using the trucks might cause some damage to roads. Would you agree that generally speaking the roads in question would have been within Alberta’s jurisdiction?


  52. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    And I will circle back to some of those points. In respect of the transportation on the roads, did you consider that you might communicate to Alberta that this was a concern or a potential issue and have a discussion with them about the possible scope of the damage, if there’s anything that could mitigate it and allow Alberta to consider whether it was willing to incur some risks in exchange for being able to allow the RCMP to carry out its enforcement action early in the Coutts blockade?


  53. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    That’s fair. Did you suggest to Minister Blair that that might be something that he could consider doing?


  54. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Okay. Thank you. And when you say they were a small number, and I respect and understand that there may be restrictions on elaborating on that, so I’m not trying to go there and so obviously, you know, feel free to stop me if that’s a concern. Was the concern that the number wouldn’t be enough to in your view effectively assist Alberta or was the concern that you felt it was necessary to keep all of the equipment available on the base at CAF Edmonton, for purposes there?


  55. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    In terms of sufficiency for the task at hand, would you agree that again that would be an option that Minister Blair perhaps could have discussed with Alberta, whether they were willing to accept just one piece of equipment and whether that might be of some assistance to them in meeting the goal for, you know, accumulating equipment to achieve the enforcement action?


  56. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    And did you maintain the view that perhaps the number and sufficiency of CAF equipment to respond and assist Alberta, even as the threat grew to –- or as the event grew to what has been characterized by your Government as a threat to national security, sufficient to justify the invocation of the Emergencies Act or did you at any point consider when it had reached that point, that you might reconsider that assessment?


  57. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Did you maintain your view that the quantity of equipment was a concern that would prevent the use of Canadian Armed Forces equipment, even as the event grew to what your Government has characterized as one that necessitated invoking the Emergencies Act?


  58. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Okay, taking perhaps –- and I anticipate that you may give the same answer based on what you said, but taking it a step back and out of simply that factor, did you at any time re-evaluate your assessment of the totality of factors during the course of the event prior to invoking the Emergencies Act.


  59. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    On to the next factor that you indicated that you considered. I understand that you had a concern about deploying members of the Canadian Armed Forces to assist, and in that RFA from Alberta, there was an inquiry about both equipment and personnel. Do those pieces of the RFA -- or were those pieces of the RFA may be a better way to put it, were they looked at separately and communicated separately, in your opinion, to Minister Blair, for example, you know, the equipment might be one piece and the resources might be a second piece in terms of the suitability of responding?


  60. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Okay. I’ll rephrase the question, because I’m not sure if I stated it clearly. Was it your view that perhaps a request for personnel might be extractable, or a request for equipment? So for example, “Yes, I might loan you equipment, but I have concerns about using personnel.” Was that ever something that was considered, or was it always treated as both items together?


  61. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Okay. and if you had the knowledge that -- if, operationally, individuals had been cleared from the blockade, so that only trucks remained to be cleared, would you agree that there might not have been the same concerns that were raised in your assessment about escalation and optics about engaging the Canadian Armed Forces in an enforcement action?


  62. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Sorry, I’ll explain the relevance of it. Evidence was given earlier that the operational plan was anticipating that the civilians would be removed from the blockade with the equipment to be cleared at a secondary time. And I had understood from what you said, and perhaps I had a misunderstanding, that one of the concerns would be interactions between the Canadian Armed Forces and civilians and a concern that that might not be appropriate or something that they were trained to do. My question is whether your assessment of that might change with the information that an operation to clear equipment would be varied out at a time after individuals had been arrested or otherwise dispersed from the scene?


  63. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Okay. Thank you, Minister. Thank you, Commissioner. Those are my questions this afternoon.


  64. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    It was appreciated.


  65. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Good afternoon. It's Mandy England for the Government of Alberta. We do have some questions, and I'm wondering if we might be able to take the time for the Windsor Police Service that they weren't able to use this afternoon.


  66. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Fair enough. Thank you very much, Commissioner.


  67. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Minister, you will agree with me that in your communications with Minister Sawhney before February the 13th that you did not raise or discuss the Federal Emergencies Act; is that right?


  68. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Okay, thank you. I'd like to take you to some comments that were made in your witness statement, and I would ask if that could please be pulled up just so you can see it. It's at WTS, I believe it's six zeros 75, at page 4. And as it's being pulled up, the first comment that I'd like to draw your attention to is, "Nonetheless, his", being your: "...assessment was that some provincial governments, for example, Ontario and Alberta viewed the issue as an issue falling under federal jurisdiction requiring federal intervention." And so if could paraphrase colloquially the request that the Government of Alberta did make for assistance to the Federal Government, it was, you know, "It's our information that you own some heavy lift tow trucks that are sitting in our province, and we would like to borrow them." So would you agree with that that request was not the same thing as saying, "Responding to this event doesn't fall under Alberta's jurisdiction, this falls under federal jurisdiction"?


  69. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Okay, thank you. And so in terms of, you know, the issue that there was a port of entry, I understand you were saying that there was a role, but not that it was a matter solely of federal jurisdiction. Alberta did not in any way imply that and viewed this as not being anything to do with it; right? You were aware that Alberta was actively responding to it as a matter within its jurisdiction.


  70. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Okay, well, if I could ask if the Clerk could please pull up SSM.CAN00002302, which is a readout of your colleague Minister Sawhney. I did not read her comments in the same way that you did and so I’ll pull those up for context. And so here is the readout of your meeting with Minister Sawhney. And if we could scroll down, please, right there -- sorry, the fourth point. We see “Minister asks if we could do joint statement”. And Minister Sawhney’s response was: “Maybe, however, this would seem as if she’s endorsing the vaccine mandate. And that was her issue with your joint statement, not that she thought that the matter was federal jurisdiction to deal with. Is that a fair summary of what the comment was?


  71. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Okay. And then you mentioned that it was your impression in your witness statement; you mentioned it was your impression from this conversation that existing tools in Alberta were not being used or were not sufficient. Were you aware that the RCMP were not able to carry out their enforcement action without having on hand the heavy towing equipment that Alberta -- we were just discussing that Alberta was looking for?


  72. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Were you aware that the enforcement action could not be taken out without the heavy towing equipment that Alberta was looking for?


  73. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    And with the knowledge that the enforcement action could not be taken out without the towing equipment, wouldn’t you agree with me that there was a connection between existing authorities not yet being enforced as of the time of your conversation with Minister Sawhney on February 9th and the fact that the RCMP hadn’t yet secured the equipment that they needed? Those two ideas were very inextricably linked?


  74. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    And the readout that we’re looking at right now from Minister Sawhney’s call with you on February the 9th, indicates that she reiterated to you more than once that the RCMP were working on it, but that Alberta could not and would not insert itself to tell them exactly what to do. Do you recall that and see that before you?


  75. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Okay, thank you. There are also documents on the record that show that your Deputy Minister Michael Keenan knew by the afternoon of February the 12th that Alberta had purchased towing equipment. To be clear in respect of a prior answer that you gave this afternoon, is it your evidence that no one had made you aware that by February 13th Alberta had acted itself to purchase the equipment that the RCMP needed?


  76. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    And you are aware by the 13th of February that they had made that purchase; correct?


  77. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Do you recall whether it was before the Emergencies Act was invoked?


  78. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Okay. If you had known that, would your assessment of the necessity of the Emergencies Act have changed at all?


  79. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Okay, thank you; those are my questions this afternoon. And thank you for your indulgence, Commissioner.


  80. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Thank you very much, and good afternoon. Minister Freeland, I have just two questions for you this afternoon. As has been discussed today -- oh, sorry. I apologize, for the transcript, my name is Mandy England and I'm one of the lawyers for the Government of Alberta. As has been discussed today, you had consultations with the CEOs of several banks on February the 13th about potential economic measures, and you said in your testimony today how important it was for you to hear from the leaders of the financial institutions, what their views were on the situation with the blockades. And as you're also aware, consultation with the first ministers of the provinces and territories was held on the morning of February 14th, and that was after the Cabinet meetings and the IRG meetings had been held. Now, consulting with the CEOs of financial institutions for their views on the situation is not required by the Emergencies Act before the government can invoke the Act for a Public Order Emergency, but consulting with the provinces and territories for their input is required. As deputy prime minister, don’t you think that the input of the first ministers of the provinces and territories on the potential invocation of the Emergencies Act and the proposed measures would have been relevant information to have before you at the IRG meetings and the Cabinet meetings where the invocation of the Emergencies Act was discussed and debated?


  81. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    And with your knowledge that they weren't consulted or -- about the Emergencies Act or told until the morning of February the 14th that the Emergencies Act might be invoked, wouldn't you agree that the information on their views on the potential invocation of the Emergencies Act wasn't before the Cabinet or the IRG, it wasn't one of the items because it wasn't available until March or February the 14th?


  82. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    And so the evidence that has been given before this Inquiry is that the Emergencies Act had not been raised with any of the First Ministers of the provinces or territories or any of the Cabinet members of the provinces or territories. So wouldn't you agree with me that whatever information it was that Minister LeBlanc was bringing to the table, it did not involve discussions about the Federal Emergencies Act?


  83. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    I'll move on to my second question. We spoke about the call that you had with the banks on February the 13th. There was another call with the banks on February the 21st, and I'd like to just pull up the readout from the call if I may. It's SSM.CAN00001828. And the section that I'd like to draw your attention to is close to the top. It's the portion that reads from "DPM" which I take it to be indicating what you said on the call as Deputy Prime Minister would be DPM; is that correct?


  84. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Okay, thank you. And then the -- there's a paragraph that begins "First", and then the next little paragraph says: "The RCMP has told [us] they have heard from protesters as they were leaving the blockades that they did so because their families said their accounts were frozen, so get the hell out of there. This is a much better and peaceful way to end things." Now, freezing someone's bank account without due process engages their personal rights, and it also engages the personal rights of the families that shared many of those bank accounts, individuals who weren't even at the protest. You stated here in this document that your view was that this is better and more peaceful, presumably than using the existing legal authorities, which multiple branches of law enforcement have testified at this Inquiry were adequate to bring a peaceful end to the protests, and indeed they did so using those authorities. So do you still hold that view today, that freezing the accounts was a better solution than law enforcement carrying out its legal authorities in the responsible manner that they do?


  85. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    And so I would just remind you in that regard that the call that we're looking at, this readout from in front of us, was held on February the 21st. And so at that time, the Coutts blockade... We can scroll up to the top of the document. We have Monday, February the 21st, and you say, it's: "Hard to believe that it was only a week ago that we were on a call...last Sunday..." Which was February the 13th, "talking about this." So this is a call that was held on February the 21st after the enforcement actions had been taken out at Coutts, which were done before the Emergencies Act was invoked, after the Ambassador Bridge was cleared, which was before the Emergencies Act was invoked, and while the enforcement efforts in Ottawa were well underway, and you would have had the knowledge at that time that there was peaceful resolution by law enforcement at both of those border blockades, and that there was no violence against children and it was a peaceful resolution by law enforcement in Ottawa. And so with respect to those comments about the fear of the prospect of violence, I don't know that on the timeline of February 21st are you saying you still had them then and you would still have those today?


  86. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    And so you expressed this view ---


  87. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    --- after you were of the knowledge that there was ---


  88. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Absolutely. I didn't realise you were talking. I apologise.


  89. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    And with respect to the due warning, there were, as you acknowledge in your earlier testimony, accounts of families, individuals who weren't present at the protests, that were also frozen. Would your view be the same with respect to those individuals?


  90. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Thank you, Minister, those are my questions today.


  91. Mandy England, Counsel (AB)

    Good afternoon. Mandy England for the Government of Alberta. Reflecting back on the past six weeks of evidence, there's obviously much for you to consider, Commissioner. The many aspects of your mandate include making recommendations, to provide guidance for potential refinements to the Emergencies Act and guidance for future invocations of the Act. The Government of Alberta would highlight two main points related to this aspect of your mandate. First, consultation with the provinces is required by the Emergencies Act. This is extremely important to our constitutional system. It is not a suggestion to which the federal government can just pay lip service. One aspect of this is timing. We've heard extraordinary evidence that the Government of Canada did not want to raise the potential invocation of the Act with the provincial governments until more than a few hours before it would be invoked on February the 14th because they were afraid that the information would be leaked to the public. And yet, the Federal Minister of Emergency Preparedness himself spoke to more than one national media outlet the day before on February the 13th. Being suspicious of the provinces, especially after a Federal Minister has already raised it with the media cannot be an acceptable reason for the Government of Canada not to have the required meaningful, good faith consultations with the provinces about a matter as serious as invoking the Emergencies Act. Another aspect of this is weight. Seven provinces advised the Government of Canada that they did not support the invocation of the Act in their province, that there was no need, and that they had the capability and authorities to deal with the situation. And in fact, provinces including Alberta did deal with it before the Emergencies Act was invoked, with existing capability and authorities. The Incident Response Group was told on the afternoon of February the 13th, the day before the Prime Minister says he decided to invoke the Emergencies Act that an enforcement action was being undertaken at Coutts, and the Prime Minister has acknowledged today that he was advised at the time of the First Minister's Meeting that the enforcement action was well underway, that arrests had been made, and that Coutts was secured. The relevant test under the Emergencies Act requires that in order for it to be invoked for a Public Order Emergency, the situation must exceed the capacity or authority of the province to deal with it. If the Government of Canada has been advised by the provinces prior to invoking the Emergencies Act that it does not exceed their capacity or authority can that simply be ignored? We have heard evidence about worries that protests might return, and we have heard of the convenience of freezing accounts at financial institutions across the country to convince people to leave. But can worries and simplicity trump the wording of the legislation and the constitutional deference that must be afforded to the provinces? As Counsel for the Commission put it to one Minister during the examination, if what the Government of Canada did in this case qualifies as sufficient consultation, is there anything that wouldn't? Next, appropriateness of the measures included in the Order and Regulation issued under the Emergencies Act is another area of review. Freezing the bank accounts of Canadians engaged in political protest without due process is extraordinary. We have heard evidence that it was not only accounts of those protesters, but joint accounts, meaning Canadians who weren't at the protest at all had their accounts frozen. The question is whether the fact that it might have been a quick way or an easy way to bring a protest to an end can be accepted as sufficient justification for such a serious and broad infringement on the rights of Canadian citizens, particularly when there were clearly other adequate tools to enforce the law and bring the protest to an end. Among the many issues raised in these proceedings, these are just two that we are hopeful the Commission will carefully consider. And we would like to thank you again, Commissioner, for the opportunity to participate in this important inquiry and for the work done by you and Commission Counsel.