Robert MacKinnon

Robert MacKinnon spoke 286 times across 8 days of testimony.

  1. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)



  2. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Good morning, Mr. Commissioner. My name is Robert MacKinnon, and I, along with Donnaree Nygard, who is sitting beside me, are the co-lead counsel for the Government of Canada. Also on our counsel team are Brendan van Niejenhuis, Andrea Gonsalves, and Andrew Gibbs. There will also be times during the hearing when other counsel from our team will be appearing before you. The Government of Canada looks forward to assisting the Commission in discharging its important mandate. As we have already heard, having a rigorous, thorough examination of the circumstances that led to the declaration of a Public Order Emergency under the Emergencies Act by an independent third party is very important to the accuracy of the historical record and to the public's understanding of these events. The Commission's recommendations will provide valuable guidance for the government on several current and complex issues, such as the impact on domestic and foreign funding, including crowdsourcing platforms; the role of misinformation, disinformation and social media in these events. It is evident that the Government of Canada considers the Commission's work of great significance, as it has allowed exceptional access to information that would normally be protected by Cabinet confidence in an almost unprecedented manner. As you have made reference, Mr. Commissioner, of the 371 federal Commissions of Inquiry, only three others since Confederation were provided access to documents provided by evidence. Factual and background information, options, and analyses brought to the attention of Ministers in the context of Cabinet and committee discussions have been exceptionally disclosed so that the Commission has access to the facts that were considered by decision-makers in declaring a public order emergency. It is important for Canadians to understand the unprecedented critical situation that the country was facing earlier this year. The evidence will show that the invocation of the Emergencies Act was a reasonable and necessary decision given the escalating volatile and urgent circumstances across the country. The evidence of the Government witnesses will detail the facts and events leading to the decision to declare a public order emergency. They will describe the country-wide threats to the security of Canada; the illegal blockades; the disruption and intimidation experienced by Ottawa residents; the threats at our borders and ports of entry; and the real impacts on Canada's trade, international reputation, and the economic well-being of Canadians. The Government witnesses will outline the deliberate, step-by-step process in which careful consideration was given to all the available options which led to the declaration of a public order emergency as a matter of last resort. The witnesses will also provide evidence on how the measures taken for dealing with the emergency were proportional, effective, and time-limited. In closing, I would like to note that given the statutory deadline imposed by the Act, the Commission and all the parties have had an incredible amount of work to do in a very limited amount of time. The Government appreciates the cooperation of everyone involved in working together to assist the Commission to fulfill its important mandate, and we look forward to continuing to assist the Commission in its work.


  3. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Good afternoon, Chief Bell. I am Robert MacKinnon, Counsel for the Government of Canada. You were the intelligence -- head of the Intelligence Director at the end of your position there, and you spent several years in that directorate; is that correct?


  4. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Okay. What I'm getting at is how many years of experience in the Intelligence area have you had; would you say?


  5. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Okay. So you would have reviewed -- apart from the Hendon reports up to January 27th, you would have reviewed intelligence reports coming concerning the convoy in mid to late January before it arrived?


  6. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Apart from the Hendon reports are you saying you received no other kind of intelligence reports before then?


  7. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Okay. And at the time you started receiving those reports plus the Hendon reports, there were conflicting reports on the number of vehicles and people coming to protest; correct?


  8. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And how long it would last as well.


  9. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And would you agree that the nature of intelligence generally is that it is seldom black and white? It's more -- mostly in the grey area, put it that way.


  10. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And that you have to assess the intelligence as best you can with others and other perspectives and sources, as many sources of information as you can; is that right?


  11. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And in the intelligence reports that you had received, the later incidents of horn blaring, criminal activity and hate-based incidents that occurred were not captured in these initial intelligence report?


  12. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And according to your summary interview, there was approximately 3,000 to 4,000 vehicles that the OPS was expecting to arrive in that first weekend; is that correct?


  13. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And as you have said in your interview summary, there was limited organization within the Freedom Convoy overall?


  14. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    You mentioned 8 to 10 different groups representing 50 to 100 different political agendas; correct?


  15. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And that the OPS found it hard to identify any one particular leader or group who could speak for them all.


  16. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And you were also aware that there were former police and military members as part of the convoy participants?


  17. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And that they had raised a significant amount of money through crowd funding platforms such as GoFundMe, later on GiveSendGo?


  18. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And you were aware of some warnings concerning participants in the protest, and in that respect, you were taken to a document earlier which I'll make quick reference to. It's by -- it's the intelligence assessment by Sergeant Chris Kiez on January 29th, the OPS 00004039. If we could pull that up for a second? And if you could go to page 5? And under "lone actor concerns," go down to the heading just below the middle.


  19. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Yeah. So you can see there it says, "As the event becomes larger and larger, OSCINT..." -- that's Open-Source Intelligence; correct?


  20. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    " revealing the occasional (and not unexpected) online instigators, lone actor-instigators, who advise others to use violence if encountering police barricades." Is that correct?


  21. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And on page 6 there's a warning at the top of the page, yeah. The third bullet point, "The open nature of this event, coupled with the high concentration of attendees may further add to [the] potential appeal among certain individuals who may embrace extremist ideologies." Do you see that?


  22. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    So there was some warning in advance as to some things to be worried about; is that correct?


  23. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And you have mentioned in your summary that as January 30th progressed into Monday, OPS was not prepared for what developed into an occupation. So it soon began from a protest to an occupation; is that correct?


  24. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And with elements demonstrating lawlessness; is that correct?


  25. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)



  26. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)



  27. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And threats to Ottawa residents and public officials?


  28. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    I just want to mention one thing that you said in -- with the convoy coming initially, that you did try to keep out large tractors, farm equipment that could have posed difficulty. Is that correct, you kept those -- tried to keep those out from the core?


  29. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    However, there was a huge crane that made it into the core that was sitting right next to the Prime Minister’s office. So do you know how that got there?


  30. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    I expect you’ll hear evidence, if it hasn’t already come out, if I remember, that it was right outside the top window of the Prime Minister’s office; do you accept that?


  31. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Now, you mentioned a few areas in questioning of powers under the Emergencies Act, the Federal Emergencies Act, through its Regulations that were instrumental in assisting the police to resolve the situation. Do you remember earlier in your testimony?


  32. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Okay. And those powers were instrumental to the OPS in ending this occupation.


  33. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Okay. You do mention -- you did mention four areas, I’ll just mention -- I think there may have been one that was missed, so I’ll just mention three quickly and -- that come from your interview summary, and you can just confirm or not. One very important power was the authorization to create an exclusionary zone, both the four zones that were used and the red zone; correct?


  34. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And which, to your mind, was the most important power because it allowed OPS to stop the movement of more people into the downtown core when it came time; is that create?


  35. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And it allowed OPS to create a stable atmosphere in advance of launching the operation to clear the downtown core.


  36. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And it allowed the OPS to execute this operation slowly, deliberately, and safely.


  37. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    It also provided the power to freeze financial accounts, which you made mention. This is also under the Emergencies Act Regulations; correct?


  38. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And that provided an incentive to convoy participants to leave voluntarily; correct?


  39. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    But it also deterred others who may have been thinking of coming downtown from coming downtown; would you agree with that?


  40. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And the PL teams used this power in advance of the enforcement action to try to shrink the footprint of these protesters, demonstrators, in the downtown core; correct?


  41. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    That’s right. So there’s -- I’ll take you to that in a second but that’s what I’m referring to. Both in a media release and in a leaflet, there were certain actions, and I’ll refer you to them in a second, but that’s exactly what I’m referring to. And you also learned of others whose accounts were frozen who left downtown, after which their accounts were unfrozen; is that correct?


  42. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Okay. And the other important -- one of the other important powers that you’ve touched on before, was to make it possible for the OPS to obtain the tow tucks that were absolutely essential in order to move these trucks; correct?


  43. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Right. And we’ve heard evidence, that you may not be privy to, to say that they had no trucks to convince other tow truck drivers to drive because of threats and because of damages that they might incur. And so the indemnity provisions of the Emergency Regulations also eased that aspect in convincing and compelling these tow-truckers -- tow truck drivers to come and assist; correct?


  44. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    I’d like you to refer to OPS00014438; it’s the February 18th iteration of the Integrated Plan. And at page 5, at the bottom of the page, yeah, so you see where it says, “As a result” -- and this is dated February 18th, but this is an iteration of an evolving plan: “As a result, delivery of information, education and enforcement response was lead [sic] by the Police Liaison Teams...” Do you see that?


  45. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And: “The subsequent response was based on a negotiation approach with the primary objective of voluntary dispersal from the participants who continue to protest and occupy a number of areas within the downtown core...” Do you see that?


  46. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And so that was to reduce the footprint to make it easier for the officers to enforce whoever was left; is that correct?


  47. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Okay. The last point there, it says: “On Wednesday, February 16th, 2022, a media release provided ‘a further notice to Demonstrators’...” And this is the one that’s also in the pamphlet. It has the same points, so if you go to the next page.


  48. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    This is the integrated response, February 18, “Concept of Action Plan Approval”; okay? So in here, there’s nine bullet points. We’ve made reference to some of them already, but these are the -- this is what was handed to the demonstrators; correct? These points, these bullet points in a pamphlet form. It’s also in this media release as well. So the first bullet points deals with the criminal charges; that’s provincial. The second point deals with, “Vehicle and property may be seized [and] removed.” That can be both provincial and the federal, that includes the tow trucks. “Your driver’s licence may be suspended” and the, “Certificates may be suspended”; that’s provincial. And then the next four encompass Federal Emergency Regulations. So your personal bank accounts: “...may be subject to examination and restriction. If you bring a minor...with you to an unlawful protest site, you may be charged...” That’s specifically in the Emergencies’ Regulation; do you agree?


  49. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Sorry; federal. Sorry; I’m thinking just of the regulations under the Emergencies -- the respective Emergencies Act here.


  50. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    So that’s what I’m -- I’m distinguishing that in this pamphlet there are a number of these warnings and facts given to the protesters that come directly from the Emergencies Act Regulations, is what I’m pointing out.


  51. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And that the OPS used because they were essential in dispersing these protesters.


  52. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    All right. And bringing fuel and other supplies, that also is encompassed by the essential provision of goods as well. That’s encompassed by Emergencies Act regulation as well?


  53. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Yeah. And again, persons travelling to an unlawful protest site to participate or support an unlawful demonstration, that also comes from Emergencies regulation. And the last one, that’s from the provincial regulations but it also is encompassed with the federal regulation, which added more sites. It added Parliament and government buildings to that.


  54. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    So there -- just see if you’d agree with this statement, that there was no realistic expectation that negotiation through the PLTs, as much as they are useful and helpful, would have led to the voluntary dispersal of all those demonstrators.


  55. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    After 20 days of occupation, correct?


  56. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And you agree that the illegal occupation in Ottawa was having not only a direct deleterious affect on the residence of Ottawa but was also acting as an example, an incentive, and an inspiration for other illegal protests and blockades that were popping up around the country, do you not?


  57. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Others have said a “more interconnectedness”. For instance, Supt. Abrams said one event had an immediate impact on another. Would you agree that areas of coverage, such as, you know, in Windsor, Fort Erie, Emerson, Coutts, Surrey, among others?


  58. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    But it was the prime location; it started in this -- would you agree?


  59. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    That’s right. And it acted, would you now agree, as an example to others?


  60. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    You agree that -- you said it. You said that this situation -- the volatility of the situation in reference to Ottawa, correct?


  61. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Would you also agree that these other pop-ups that had, in similar fashion to Ottawa, maybe not to the same extent, provided an escalating situation across the country concerning these type of protests?


  62. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Thank you.


  63. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Good morning. I’m Robert MacKinnon for the Government of Canada counsel.


  64. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Mr. Wilson, I just want to take you to a point that you made at the end of your testimony with Commission Counsel. I don't know that we have to turn up the document, but it was in reference to an email of February 12th that you had sent. And the line in there that I just want to clarify is where you say, "We are trying to block Trudeau from having the jurisdiction to cause police to use the new emergency powers against the truckers and to allow the truckers to stay here in Ottawa as long as it takes." (As read) Do you remember that line?


  65. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Oh, having the -- okay, sorry, justification. Good memory. So is that not a reference to the Declaration of Emergency that was made the day before by the Ontario Premiere?


  66. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    It does not speak into the future. It says to use the new emergency powers, which just came into effect the day before.


  67. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Okay. What I'm saying is that -- those words refer to the new emergency power in the present tense. The Declaration from the Federal Government came on the 14th. It was two days before.


  68. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Can you point me to one document which documents what you're just telling us now?


  69. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Right. But you've managed to paper ---


  70. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Oh, sorry, okay.


  71. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Who told you the Federal Government was considering using the Emergencies Act? Who told you that?


  72. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Do you have any document you can refer this Commission to today?


  73. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And you can't recall any offhand. You can't recall a description of the document or anything like that right now?


  74. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    All right. I'd like to continue with just confirming some statements from your witness summary. You'd agree that there was a broad array of groups that were part of this convoy?


  75. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And you subdivided them into three groups: those who came to support the movement, those who came to take it over ---


  76. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    --- and those who came to take a piece of the $10 million.


  77. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And you also have said that the convoy attracted a lot of strange people.


  78. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And in those people you mention the coven of witches?


  79. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And conspiracy groups like Diagolon ---


  80. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    --- QAnon? Yes?


  81. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Yeah. So it not only consisted of a broad array of groups but it attracted other strange groups that at least how you've described them; correct?


  82. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    So you'd agree that some of these individuals, we've heard a little bit already, may have tried to hijack the message or even try and control, perhaps, parts of the convoy group; is that correct?


  83. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Okay. And Mr. Barber testified yesterday that he could not control truckers generally. They're very independently minded, and certainly not the groups that were coming. Would you agree with that statement?


  84. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And there's a -- Mr. Ero's interview summary that you've been taken to a little bit, a reference to, or at least a quote that you supposedly mention concerning Taking Back our Freedoms group?


  85. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Did you refer to them as "bad actors"?


  86. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Okay. He says you did.


  87. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And bad actors and manipulators he says.


  88. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    So even within your group, the convoy group and the leadership that you've mentioned, there were, would you say, sort of divisions or factions I would say?


  89. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    All right. And you mentioned the negotiations with the City of Ottawa in the days leading up to February 14th?


  90. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    To move the trucks out of residential neighbourhoods to take at least a bit of a valve to some of the temperature that had been raised with all the complaints and issues that arose from that. That's correct?


  91. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)



  92. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    But that was never intended to rid the city core of the gridlock of 30-ton trucks or resolve the grievances of all the various protesting groups.


  93. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Well, let's just say, you're not saying that it was empty of 30-ton trucks sitting in front of Wellington?


  94. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    But your deal ---


  95. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    I’m just getting to the point that the deal was never intended to resolve all these grievances and protests and to get rid of the trucks from the city core; correct?


  96. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    How does -- well, would you be surprised that the mayor would say that the deal wasto release some of the tension from the neighbourhoods. It did nothing to deal with the core issue of getting rid of the trucks in front of Wellington.


  97. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    No, I don’t need -- I don’t need that, but I’ve got your answer. So you don’t agree that this was -- this deal was intended to resolve all these issues and gridlock on Wellington?


  98. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    So you had faith?


  99. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Do we have an agreement, a written agreement that said they would move?


  100. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Who were you representing at the negotiations? Were you representing the leadership that you mentioned, the directors of that company, the non-profit company, the Freedom 2022, the President, Tamara Lich, and the Vice President, Chris Barber, and the treasurer, Chad Eros? Beyond those people, who were your clients?


  101. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    So you were not acting on behalf of all the truckers?


  102. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    So you had faith?


  103. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    But the objective of that agreement was to move 25 percent more trucks into the Wellington Street area, so it doesn’t do anything to relieve that congestion.


  104. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    You have heard or you’re evidence given at this inquiry of the racial slurs, the intimidation ---


  105. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    --- the threats against Ottawa residents and public officials, and the blaring high- decibel horns at all times of day and night during these demonstrations in Ottawa; you’re aware of that evidence, correct?


  106. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)



  107. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    I’m just talking about those particular allegations right now, okay?


  108. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    As a lawyer, you would agree that those are not protected as a form of free speech or action under the Charter?


  109. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    You agree, hate speech has been codified in the Criminal Code, right?


  110. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Right. So you don’t agree, then, that threats against the life of somebody is not a protected form of speech under the Charter?


  111. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Okay. So we agree that that’s not protected, right? Death ---


  112. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    --- threats are not protected?


  113. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Nor is speech that is linked to demean, to an extent, a particular group of people in a serious way? Hate speech ---


  114. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    I am just asking for his view as a lawyer. But I don’t have to continue. I have other questions, Your Honour.


  115. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Okay. So you’d agree, trucks do not have Charter rights?


  116. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Good. And you don’t have the right to park somewhere for three weeks wherever you want whenever you want?


  117. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Okay. You’d agree, it’s not a protected right under the Charter?


  118. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Okay. And neither is blaring high-decibel horns a protected form of free speech or action under the Charter?


  119. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Well, people weren’t dancing to these horns that were going all hours of the day and night. You’ve heard the evidence from the residents?


  120. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Yes, at one in the morning, three in the morning?


  121. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And -- okay. I won’t go in ---


  122. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    I’ve got your perspective. Do you recall a second press conference that you gave with others on February 6th? So this one, you were more organized. If I could up Document COM, I think it's five zeroes, 856. It's a transcript of that. There, you attended Ms. Lich, Mr. Bulford, Mr. Dichter, and Tom Quiggin -- is that how you pronounce his name?


  123. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Okay. Do you recall that?


  124. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    So these were people who are all part of your group; is that right, so Tom Quiggin, Mr. Dichter, Mr. Bulford, Ms. Lich, that they're all part of your convoy group leadership, would you say, or part of your working group?


  125. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Okay. And you worked together?


  126. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And Tom Quiggin is an ex- military intelligence officer, correct?


  127. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And he worked in the operation centre; is that right?


  128. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Now -- so he did write daily intelligence reports and special intelligence reports on certain events, correct?


  129. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And do you place credence in his assessments?


  130. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Are you -- okay. Well, we could take you to who he is first. Page 12 of this document where it has his -- Tom Quiggin's -- if you go down to line 12 - - so are we on the right -- page 12 -- I've got page 12 here. Yeah, that’s it. Yeah. So it says -- he describes himself: "I'm ex-military intelligence. I also worked for the RCMP for six years in national security, the Integrated National Security Enforcement Team. I'm one of the few court experts in the country on terrorism and I'm a declared court expert both in criminal court, which is to say Ontario Superior Court, as well as the federal court." Do you see that?


  131. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Okay. And he did put out reports every day, right?


  132. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Yeah. So ---


  133. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Oh, okay. My -- well, I'll take you to one of the threat assessments right now, all right, one of the daily assessments. It's Document HRF00000018. So you'll agree that there were people attracted to the convoy, not only strange, but who had violent tendencies, if you could look here. So this is on February 3rd. This is the day I think you arrive. Here, the assessment is: "Freedom Convoy 2022 assess that potentially violent protestors may arrive in Ottawa to vandalize property. Following that, they will then attempt to blame convoy members for the violent actions. The protestors are likely to arrive in Ottawa either late Wednesday or Thursday. The violent actions are likely intended for Thursday and Friday. The actions from the protestors are likely to consist of harassment of citizens and damage to vehicles and properties." And then they describe how they're going to be dressed. Do you see that?


  134. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    So if I might ask one more question, Mr. Commissioner, just on -- it's on a document that the transcript, if you could pull up the transcript again, it's page 14. It has to do with tow trucks, an issue that everybody seems to have an opinion on. So this is Tom Quiggin again in the interview. That’s right. So he says concerning tow trucks: "The short answer is tow truck companies right across the country, in Alberta, Ontario, whatever have either politely refused requests from the government to assist, or not so politely refused requests for assistance." And if you turn over the paqe -- or sorry, go down to the bottom of that page first: "But what it shows is, the federal government in Ottawa is reaching all the way down to Buffalo, New York, trying to find a tow truck, and they can't get one because the --- " Turn over the page. "--- trucking industry is somewhat of a brotherhood, much like the military, much like the police, and we do kind of all know each other, and no tow truck company that wants to be in business for more than a week after this is going to help out." And it goes down a couple more paragraphs. "So what's actually happening now, we have a network of tow truck operators who are talking to each other to see who's being called and who's not. Short answer is they're having a hard time getting tow trucks." So was the convoy actively trying to prevent the use of tow trucks?


  135. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    So that contradicts what Mr. Quiggin just said in his press conference on February 6th.


  136. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Thank you.


  137. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Good afternoon; I’m Robert MacKinnon, counsel for the Government of Canada. I wonder just on that last question you were asked, whether we could go to SSM.CAN00000121 of the Consultation Report; I understand on page 5 is relevant. Around the middle of the page of the consultation; so that’s the bottom; go up a little bit – no, go up a little bit; stop, stop. “The Government of Canada also engaged indigenous leaders regarding the blockades. For example, the Minister of Crown Indigenous Relations spoke with the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, the President of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the President of the Metis National Council, the Grand Chief of Akwesasne and the Grand Chief of the Manitoba Southern Chiefs Organization.” Do you see that?


  138. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    All right. And so do you see that there’s a reference to consultations there?


  139. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Okay. One of the last questioners also raised the Police Services Act as to why -- where the RCMP is mentioned perhaps in that Act, because it doesn’t say specifically that the process is, you go to the OPP, that’s stated, but it doesn’t say then you go to the RCMP; do you remember that question?


  140. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    We don’t have to pull up that Services Act because this is more of a legal question, but section 2 of the Police Services Act defines Police Force as: “OPP or municipal police does not include the RCMP.” Does that sound correct to you?


  141. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And would it be to your understanding that the Ontario Government cannot pass legislation to bind the RCMP as a federal body?


  142. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    You were also asked a question about the lack of consultation with law enforcement; do you remember that?


  143. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    If I could ask you to turn to the Institutional Report for Public Safety, which is DOJ.IR00000008. And if you could go to the appendix, II, that’s page 27. And if you scroll down to page 29 -- well, first, this is the list of meetings attended by yourself, Deputy Minister, just so -- that’s what the Appendix says.


  144. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And on page 29 at the top can you see February 5, it includes meetings with the Ottawa Police; February 6th, 7th, 8th, 10th, and 11th. It includes meetings with the OPP. Do you see that?


  145. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    So did you have some meetings and consultations with the OPP and Ottawa Police?


  146. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Mr. Rochon, you mentioned that there were unknowns, and you talked about intelligence, I believe, in some of your answers. And I just wanted to ask you, concerning the convoy protest, were there intelligence gaps?


  147. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Because you're looking ahead at threats and you want to protect them from materializing; is that correct?


  148. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Mr. Stewart, do you have anything to add to the unknowns at the point where the Cabinet made a recommendation to invoke the Act, any kind of unknowns that were in mind, to your knowledge?


  149. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    You -- for Mr. Stewart -- you mentioned the engagement proposal that was considered by Cabinet on February 12th, and you were taken to a comment that was made. Was the fact that the Windsor proposed engagement failed earlier that day and news later that day that the Ottawa proposed agreement appeared to fail form any part of the consideration by Cabinet, in its decision, to not pursue the engagement -- your engagement proposal at that time? And I'm talking February 12th, the day before.


  150. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    You also, in response to a question, you mentioned a concern that the invocation of the Emergencies Act might incite rather than calm the protest. Do you recall that?


  151. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    In hindsight now, having seen the evolution of it, would you agree that concern did not materialize?


  152. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    You have been taken to page 21 of your interview summary two or three times now, so I'd like to take you to that same page again for a different paragraph, WTS66, at page 21. It would be that middle paragraph, "DM Stewart also stated". That’s right. Yeah, go up, that’s right. So where it says: "DM Stewart also stated that they underestimated the deterrent effect of the Act. ADM Dakalbab emphasized this point, adding that prior to its invocation, provinces including New Brunswick and Quebec were calling him to express concerns about border blockades and protests at legislatures. After the Act was invoked, those calls stopped. And within a week of the Act being invoked, the protests and blockades were gone." So in your view of that, you're saying that the Act had a deterrent effect, from your inference; is that correct?


  153. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    One last document I'd like to take you to is this -- the actual section 58 explanation for the invocation, which that’s PB.CAN.00001160. Oh, just to make sure -- PB.CAN yeah, 1160. That’s it. So if you go to page -- bottom of page 5? Yeah, that’s it. So where it says, "Violent Incidents". So it says: "Violent incidents and threats of violence and protests -- and arrests, sorry -- related to the protest have been reported across Canada. The RCMP's recent seizure of a cache of firearms with a large quantity of ammunition in Coutts, Alberta indicated that there are elements within the protest that have intentions to engage in violence. Ideologically motivated violent extremism adherence may feel empowered by the level of disorder resulting from the protests, violent online rhetoric, increased threats against public officials, and the physical presence of ideological extremists at protests also indicate that there is a risk of serious violence and the potential for lone actor attackers to conduct terrorism attacks." The question for both of you. Can you provide any comments on this as to whether these are accurate facts, to your knowledge?


  154. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And Mr. Rochon?


  155. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Okay. Could you turn to page -- the middle of page 7? Right, so where it starts, “In addition…” I’m not going to read this paragraph to you. I’ll just let you look at that and just go down the page. I’m just going to ask a general question. It talks about essentially 13 protests that are being referred to directly impacting port of operations at major ports of entry operations. And if you go -- yeah. So it mentions -- over the next page as well, it continues. So I just wanted you to confirm your understanding of these facts and any comments you might have that the report mentions 13 protests that directly impacted port of operations and disrupted them in the days leading up to this declaration. So there’s 12 in addition to the Ambassador Bridge. More specifically it mentions disruptions at ports of entry at the time of invocation that were still of concern. In addition to Ambassador Bridge at Windsor; Sarnia Bluewater Bridge; the Peace Bridge at Fort Erie; Emerson, Manitoba, Coots, Alberta; Surrey, B.C., on the way, you know, from the Pacific Highway. Do you agree with those facts as they have been laid out?


  156. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    But would that be part of the unknowns?


  157. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And at page 9 of the same report, in the lower half of the page where it starts, “The threats…” at page 9. Yes, stop right there, yeah. So that paragraph -- it was not just ports of entry or protests that we’ve identified so far. It mentions that there were threats also made to block railway lines that would result in significant disruptions to Canada’s freight rail industry -- in addition to service, I'm sure -- of substantial monetary loss. Can you see that there?


  158. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And what’s your comment on that?


  159. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And my last question is at page 11, the bottom paragraph. Sorry, the middle paragraph. It starts, “There is significant evidence…” That’s right. “There’s significant evidence of illegal activity to date and the situation across the country remains concerning, volatile, and unpredictable. The Freedom Convoy could also lead to an increase in the number of individuals who support ideologically motivated violent extremism and the prospect for serious violence. Proponents of IMVE are driven by a range of influences rather than a single belief system. IMVE radicalization is more often caused by a combination of ideas and grievances resulting in a personalized world view. The resulting world view often centres on the willingness to incite, enable, or mobilize violence.” Do you have any comment on -- for both of you -- that paragraph?


  160. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Those are my questions. Thank you.


  161. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Sorry. Objection, Mr. Commissioner. That question invites a question of legal advice, so ---


  162. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    --- obviously she cannot answer if it concerns legal advice.


  163. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Good morning. The document I would first like to take you to is one ---


  164. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Sorry. Robert MacKinnon, Government of Canada. If I take you to a document that counsel for Democracy Fund took you to, SSM.NSC.CAN, a number of zeros, 242. It was the NSIA remarks. So if you scroll down just a little bit. Yeah -- no. Yeah. So at that time, can you just confirm that Ottawa wasn't clear the enforcement hadn't even been taken at the time of the invocation; is that correct?


  165. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Okay. And you have also heard, concerning the Ambassador Bridge... If you go down a little bit further. That enforcement actions were still continuing on the 3rd, and that the airspace was still restricted on February 14th. So that was still in effect over the protest area, and you've just heard that the injunction in Windsor was continued because of the fear of returning. You heard that today?


  166. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Yeah. So in your mind, or those with whom you're consulting, was there a fear that the protesters would return to the Windsor site?


  167. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    If you keep scrolling down under page 5, or top of page 5. That's it, yeah. So it also mentions Policing Issues of Note. In the remarks: "RCMP is assisting in various impacted areas across the country and is focused on areas where enforcement or the risk of escalation is most acute." Do you see that?


  168. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    So is it true to say that by no means had the escalation events subsided to a calm?


  169. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    How would you describe, either of you, your perspective as of February 14th, when the invocation happened, concerning the events?


  170. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And Mr. Hutchinson, do you have any comment on...?


  171. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    So if you scroll down a little bit further where it has Ottawa on page 5. So you'll see on the last bullet point, the date -- well, on February 12th, it mentions: "Police say protesters overwhelmed officers on Friday night." So there were still lots of events, especially happening in Ottawa during that time; is that correct?


  172. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    I'd like to take you to one of the IRG reports that is after the invocation, on February 19th. So let's look at document SSM.NSC.CAN, a number of zeros, 404. So this is a day after enforcement action had begun in Ottawa, this is February 19th. And if you could go to page 5, just below the middle -- so -- yes. So the last line says: "There are indications of additional convoys en-route to Ottawa including from St-Jerome and Peterborough and checkpoints are being monitored, as are areas outside the city, such as Embrun and Arnprior where some protesters who are leaving are beginning to congregate." So does that suggest to you that the protests are calming?


  173. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And while we're on this one, just over the page to the next page at the top. On the usefulness of this -- of some of the measures, you'll see it's noted that: "The Minister reported that he has heard from local law enforcement agencies that the Emergencies Act has been a successful tool, particularly around the ability to have clarity on leveraging no-go zones as well seizing assets, rapidly deploying officers and financial control measures." Do you see that?


  174. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And that was as of February 19th.


  175. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And I'll just take you to one other influence here of the measures. It's the IRG meeting of February 23rd, page 5, and that's SSM.NSC.CAN, a number of zeros, 408. There you go. So it's about the middle paragraph, "Across the country". Yes. So, "Across the country, yesterday evening", and this is February 23rd, the day it's revoked: "...Winnipeg Police issued a notice to protesters gathered near the provincial legislature advising them that they had 24 hours to leave and providing a pamphlet outlining potential consequences of not doing so. The pamphlet mentioned enforcement under the federal Emergencies Act as one of the possible measures that police would use if protesters did not vacate the premise by..." A certain time there. Do you see that?


  176. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Okay. So ---


  177. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    --- I'll take you back to another document -- well -- that has been referred to concerning the engagement strategy, just to make sure we understand the evolution of it. So SSM.CAN [sic], a number of zeros, 8757. All right, and if you scroll just a little bit. Okay. So as I understand it, this is the second sort of cut on this draft; correct?


  178. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And it's just showing the evolution of -- you're trying to put everything together to get people to focus on some options under existing authorities; correct?


  179. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And you've got Plan A and Plan B, correct, in the third paragraph you refer to?


  180. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Plan A: "[P]roviding resources to local law enforcement to address the unlawful demonstrations." And Plan B: "[W]here we need to unpack our other options in terms of legal authorities and feasibility of executing these options or what would be needed to make them a reality." Correct?


  181. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And if you go to the attachment, which is the next number, which is 8758. So if you scroll down a little bit. Then you have Plan A and Plan B for different cities. And you'll see -- is it -- was your intention here to put as much before the ministers and officials for consideration as possible because this is an evolving situation and you're thinking ahead. Is that right?


  182. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And if you look at Plan A and Plan B here, you'll see a second option, "Could the government make use of the Emergencies Act?" Correct?


  183. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    So this was all putting together everything you could think of that would be useful for those who have to make a decision, make the right decision?


  184. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And this evolved into what's been referred to as Track 1 and Track 2 ---


  185. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    --- that is appended to the IRG minutes of February 12th?


  186. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    So just so I can make sure -- I'm not going to go over your testimony from before, but just to confirm that your role in your position is to ask the questions what if and figure out scenarios looking ahead; is that correct?


  187. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And you said that from early on, even before the convoy reached Ottawa, you were asking these questions; is that correct?


  188. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And is it your responsibility and others at PCO to make sure to convene the right committees or groups in order to deal with these situations?


  189. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And so you mention that you first started with these questions that you asked after the first weekend, and you got together with -- there were certain Ministers, you mentioned four ---


  190. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    --- right, Ministers to discuss on a daily basis; is that right?


  191. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And then that moved into another phase of the SSE meetings; is that right?


  192. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And it moved there because of what reason?


  193. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    All right. So it went from late January, from looking ahead with scenarios, to meetings with four Ministers, to February 3rd, to the 8th with SSE meetings?


  194. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And then what was the reason to move from the SSE meetings to the IRG meetings on the 10th, 12th and 13th?


  195. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Okay. I'll just take you to one last document and that's the IRG meeting of February 12th and your tracker is attached to that. So that's SSM.NSC.CAN a number 0s 214. So is it at this point on the 12th that the option 1 and option 2, Tracker 1 and Track 2 are being fully considered as an agenda on the -- on this committee or ---


  196. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Yeah, but does it continue on the 12th?


  197. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And if you -- it describes in these meetings on the first page, if you scroll down to the page 5, if you go down a little bit further? Yes. It talks about the situations that exist here with tactics being used to "take children to the site to..."


  198. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    "...prevent police activity, as well as schools walking out to join the protest..."


  199. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    It mentions a concern about some extremists within the group and the concern about lone wolf attacks?


  200. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Do you see all that?


  201. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And is that accurate?


  202. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And then if you go down close to the bottom of that one, it mentions the escalation in activity in Ottawa and the role of social media and that its role in the communication and organizes the protesters across the country. Was that very much of a concern at this point on the 12th?


  203. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    All right. And I won't go -- take you -- read them through all, but in the minutes, it mentions Windsor, Cornwall, Ottawa, Emerson, among other areas that were of concerns.


  204. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)



  205. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And there's also a reference on page 9 to, " update on [a] potential engagement with [the] leaders of the blockades..." Right? And there was consideration given to a potential engagement strategy at one point that was never pursued; right?


  206. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And do you know the kind of questions that were asked in order to, you know, decide that issue or not decide that issue? What -- are there any questions that weren't answered concerning whether to engage with the protesters or not?


  207. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Okay. All right. Those are all my questions. Thank you.


  208. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Robert MacKinnon, Government of Canada. My friend is looking to put in, it looks like, parts of an affidavit attachments or affidavit itself as part of this. If it’s just a document that has an ID number already on it, and that’s it, that’s fine. So as long as it’s not just an excerpt of an affidavit that’s been filed in this proceeding or the motion itself, not argument, and it’s just the document. As long as there’s no commentary.


  209. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    We have no objection to a document that’s been filed in Relativity, but as the Commission knows, this is still being in play for response to the motion, so it would be improper to have comments associated with that motion put as part of the document. As long as it’s just the document itself with nothing more, that’s fine.


  210. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Robert MacKinnon, Government of Canada. We just received what I think my friend is going to put up on the screen, and it is not what had been agreed to. It has commentary; it has statements, along with the document. If that’s what is going to be put up, at least -- it was just sent around by the Freedom Corp. just a few minutes ago.


  211. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Just -- Robert MacKinnon again. Sorry; last thing. Just as long as the documents that you’re referring to, you have I don’t know how many here ---


  212. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    So they’re all in relativity?


  213. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    No, no.


  214. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    If he’s going back to the same document...


  215. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Mr. Commissioner, we've already objected to this document being put up.


  216. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Well, just a second.


  217. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    But we have gone to page 16, with respect, and it's not just a picture.


  218. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    If it's just the picture that's fine.


  219. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Mr. Commissioner, my friend seems to be giving evidence now.


  220. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Okay, but there's a presupposition of a fact that's not in evidence.


  221. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Good afternoon. I am Robert MacKinnon for the Government of Canada. I just want to clarify first, the document that my friend put to you just a moment ago. It's actually an attachment to the Cabinet minutes in a different document ID. If you want to pull it up, you can see it. SSM.NSC.CAN 216 page 12. Is that the assessment that my friend just put to you?


  222. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And if you scroll up a little bit, you'll see it's part of the minutes of Cabinet meeting. So that would have been distributed as part of the Cabinet; is that right?


  223. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    All right. On another question that Mr. Miller put to you, put to you questions suggesting that it was only on or after January 25 that there were concerns about threats and extreme ideologies in connection with the convoy; do you recall that?


  224. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    You have also testified that CSIS was receiving the OPP's Project Hendon Reports and participated in the Joint Intelligence Group in relation to the convoy; is that correct?


  225. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Okay. I'd ask that you pull up the document OPP00001606. This is a Project Hendon Report dated January 23rd. And if you go to the second page -- okay. Stop. If you look at the paragraph that starts the third: "We assess the commercial truck drivers participating in the Freedom Convoy are likely to be generally supportive of holding a lawful protest; however, convoy supporters may include individuals representing ideological movements who may view the protest as an opportunity to advance their own causes or beliefs. Some of these individuals may engage in activities that are not --- "


  226. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)



  227. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Okay. Sure. "--- that are not sanctioned or supported by convoy organizers in order to achieve their own objectives. The post on the RISE UP DURHAM website referencing Ottawa being wild, which echoes the language used by former U.S. President Donald Trump prior the 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol tends to support this hypothesis. If accurate, then this assessment could indicate the possibility for conflict between a larger group comprising commercial truck drivers and a smaller group of ideologically-driven opportunists." Do you see that?


  228. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And you would have received or CSIS would have received in their regional offices and agencies these -- this Hendon Report of January 23rd; is that correct?


  229. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    I'd also ask you to pull up OPP0001608. It's another Hendon Report dated January 24th. And just the first bullet point, if you can go up a little bit? Yes. You'll see it says: "Diagolon content has been posted or pinned on some social media sites promoting the freedom convoy. Some Diagolon adherents are indicating an intent to attend the event in Ottawa. We have not yet identified any comments from convoy organizers disassociating the convoy from Diagolon. Diagolon flags were also observed at a pro- convoy rally in Sudbury on January 22nd." And then if you go over the page to just above "Tactical Considerations": "The range of anti-authority movements supporting the convoy, the presence of Diagolon insignia on convoy social media sites and at the Sudbury protest, and the potential attendance of supporters from THE LINE at the protest in Ottawa, validate previous assessments that noted the use of the Freedom Convoy by actors who may be willing to engage in acts of public disorder and possibly violence." Do you see that?


  230. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And that information, again, would have been received by the CSIS regional offices and all recipients of the Hendon Reports on January 24th; is that correct?


  231. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And the last one, document I'll take you to, TS.NSC.CAN.001.156. This is an ITAC threat assessment of the possibility of IMVE driven violence on the margins of the truck convoy protest. So this one's dated January 26th, before the January 27th date in the email that my friend took you to. So if you look at the first -- the second paragraph, "While this is intended by the organizers to be a peaceful protest, open source reporting indicates that prominent ideologically motivated violent extremism [...] actors in Canada have seized upon this protest to advocate for their own ideological objectives and some have expressed interest in attending the protest in Ottawa this coming weekend." So, again, this would have been received by CSIS's regional offices and -- well, it's created from ITAC itself, so -- and that -- well, you can speak to that, Ms. Chayer; is that correct?


  232. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    So all these reports, would they not indicate a concern about violent extremist elements attending or being part of this convoy?


  233. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Okay. That's -- I don't need that document anymore. This one's for Mr. Vigneault. You were asked a question earlier today and it's all -- you gave an answer that's also in your summary of the in-camera testimony when -- about your support for the invocation of this Act, the Emergencies Act. And you said based on your understanding of everything you had seen up until that point, do you recall that?


  234. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Can you detail what you had seen or been informed of that contributed to your opinion that it was necessary to invoke the Emergencies Act?


  235. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Okay. Here's another question concerning the decision. Did the GIC have the same inputs that CSIS had when it made its decision and CSIS made its decision under its Act? Were -- are you aware whether they were exactly the same inputs?


  236. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Right. I'll take you to briefly your -- the summary of the in-camera proceeding that a couple of Counsel have taken you to, just to look at a couple other paragraphs. So if you could pull up WTS00000079, page 4? So where it says in the paragraph "Ms. Tessier explained..." That's right. "...that unlike RMVE, IMVE groups often do not have a command and control structure or organized membership." Now we've heard that said today. Could you just -- you mentioned networks, but perhaps one or other of you could just explain just quickly the difference.


  237. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    If I could ask you to turn to page 8? Under "Threat Assessment Concerning the Invoking the Emergencies Act", if you could look at the paragraph that starts, "Ms. Tessier explained that there was an initial increase in online rhetoric after the invocation, but, because it was announced at the same time as public health measures being lowered, the increase petered out." Is that correct?


  238. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    So it didn't -- it wasn't as aggravated as perhaps the assessment first foresaw; is that - --


  239. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Okay. And because I may not have time to take you to some of these ITAC assessments that are referred to in the next paragraph, can you just confirm that the summary there is accurate, that it says, "The panel were referred to several CSIS and ITAC assessments between 2020 to the period the convoy ended, describing threats to journalists and politicians. The panel agreed that since 2020, there has been an increase in IMVE online rhetoric and threat[...] to authority figures, including law enforcement, public and elected officials. Ms. Chayer explained that this rhetoric was mostly targeted towards politicians, including [as] against provincial officials and the Prime Minister." You see that? Do you have any sort of further comment on that threat environment from 2020 to today? Has it changed in any way, or has it remained the same?


  240. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And can online rhetoric translate into action in the real world?


  241. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Is it difficult to predict the point at which online violent rhetoric translates into action, violence?


  242. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And you had mentioned -- I’d heard the words “dynamic” and “fluid” and so forth. How would you describe that type of threat assessment? Is it done on a daily basis?


  243. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    All right. I have a question for Mr. Vigneault concerning questions that were put to you earlier. So you were asked a number of questions about the interpretation of the CSIS Act. And you’re aware that the Government of Canada has received legal advice generally on the Emergencies Act? Is that correct?


  244. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And you’re aware that the Government of Canada has received legal advice generally on the Emergencies Act and has claimed solicitor/client privilege over that advice, are you not?


  245. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And you have not been given authority to waive any solicitor/client privilege over that advice? Is that correct?


  246. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And when you’ve answered questions regarding the interpretation of various statutes, you were expressing your own understanding? Is that correct?


  247. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    All right. I have a document to pull up, ---


  248. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    All right. I would -- I don’t know if one of my friend’s who gave up their five minutes would cede me that time, but -- I see a nod. I feel like it’s - --


  249. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    I just think that -- I’m not going to get through what I want to, but I think some of this is important, I thought.


  250. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Yes. I’ve got a document that I’m going to ask for your explanation of, Mr. Vigneault. It’s TS.CAN.001 -- well, several zeros, 001, then several zeros one again. So it’s entitled “Fabric of Society”. It’s a CSIS document. So it’s TS.CAN.001. a number of zeros, and then one.


  251. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    There we go. Mr. Vigneault, can you explain what this represents and how CSIS utilizes this?


  252. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Last question. Was there a concern by CSIS concerning this convoy, that others who have been radicalized in some form and were engaged in an online rhetoric would use the convoy as a vehicle to recruit?


  253. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Okay, thank you.


  254. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Good evening. Robert MacKinnon for the Government of Canada. I just want to take you to a couple of documents that my friends have taken you to already. So the first one would be the read out with Premier Ford, and that’s SSM.CAN. several zeros, 94. I think it’s seven zeros. And in this particular -- well, we can go to the second page for this. But in this call with Premier Ford on February 10th, late in the evening, the email is sent at 10:52, so I assume that the call was shortly before that? Is that to your best recollection?


  255. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Okay. So ---


  256. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Right. And in this call, he’s letting you know about Ontario about to issue an order under the Emergency Act?


  257. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And you had mentioned that you had had discussions with Ontario concerning options to deal with the situation. Is that correct?


  258. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And that was late at the end of the day on February 10th even you were looking at these options apart from the Emergencies Act and talking to provinces? Is that correct?


  259. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    In fact, if you look at the second last paragraph, second sentence, it says: “Minister LeBlanc said [that] the RCMP is ready to provide whatever resources are needed as long as there is a good plan in place.”


  260. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And there’s no mention in this email of any reference to the Emergencies Act, the Federal Emergencies Act, only the Ontario one? Is that correct?


  261. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    When did you, I’m talking about Cabinet, first consider the use of Emergencies Act?


  262. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    So it was earlier that day then, you said February 10th, that Cabinet first considered? There was an IRG meeting that day. Are you referring to that IRG meeting?


  263. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Right. We know that there’s a chart at the back of the February 12th minutes listing track one and track two options. Do you recall that?


  264. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    So would you use the word “consider” in that context on the 12th for that meeting?


  265. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Okay. Thank you. Another document my friends took you to, and you made reference to, so I just want to make sure I’m highlighting an area that you referenced in your answer. It’s SSM.NSC.CAN. a number of zeroes 625. It's the first ministers' conference call. And at the first page, you made reference in answer to my friend who didn’t have this up at the time, you mentioned the first part that certain measures were listed and you were -- he was asking you about certain measures, and you said you thought you recall that in the first part -- and I'm -- stop there. If you look at Minister Lametti -- and you mention the six measures -- if you look on the fourth line, it says: "He highlighted six areas where measures can be taken." Do you see that?


  266. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Are those the measures that you are referring to when you answered a question earlier?


  267. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    All right. And in there, it has six. I won't read them all out, but it does have a measure that authorizing or directing financial institutions to render essential services to relieve impact of blockades. Do you see that?


  268. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    My friend asked you for more specificity, but the measure is referred to in there; is that correct?


  269. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    All right. On the second page, my friend referred to some premiers referencing the risk of further inflaming the situation. Do you recall that?


  270. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And if you look at response of -- so Premier Horgan, the PMs response, that premier endorsed the invocation and then but recognized afterwards the PM says: "We would be as proportional and measured as possible. Recognize the risk of further inflaming. Also have to show a firmness that comes with this." Do you see that?


  271. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    So had Cabinet recognized this risk that it could inflame the situation? There was a reference to a CSIS document the day earlier by one of my friends -- inflaming the situation, although in that sense, CSIS was referring to the radicalization element. Do you have a comment on recognizing the risk and taking account of any concerns that the premiers had in that area?


  272. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And on the third page of this same document there's a reference under "Premier Kenney" at the end. It's Premier Kenney. If we go a little -- about two thirds of the way down. Yes. Yeah, that -- the last sentence. There's the last line says: "Don’t quibble using Emergencies Act but there are other ways to reduce passions of people." Do you know what that is a reference to?


  273. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    All right. And my last reference in this document is page 10 -- I think it's -- or page 6, page 6, sorry. There are six premiers and territorial leaders who had endorsed the invocation in this meeting, it appears, by my count, one of them being Premier Ford. And in this statement from Premier Ford, says -- I'm looking -- so it's where -- it's in a bullet point third from the last: "Province does not have tow trucks. Have to negotiate with tow truck drivers. That will change in the future. Will ensure that OPP have tow trucks. Embarrassing that we can't get the use of tow trucks." Do you see that?


  274. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And was that communicated by Premier Ford at this meeting?


  275. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    And that was on February 14th?


  276. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    My friends also took you to your witness statement, WTS number of zeroes 73, at the very last page. I just want to ask you a question about revocation. So in your last paragraph, you describe the revocation aspect, and in the last sentence, it says: "He noted that the prime minister was insistent both at Cabinet meetings and in public that the measures would be very time limited and would be revoked as soon as the situation permitted." Is that still a fair statement?


  277. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    All right, and I just have a couple more points to respond to, questions my friends have asked. Council for the Democracy Fund mentioned, on February 8th, that Premier Kenney announced accelerated stages to remove all Covid-19 measures. Do you recall being -- that being referenced, the February 8th?


  278. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Okay. And that -- on that very day, the first step was to remove the vaccine passport; correct? And was there a dispersal, as a result of that announcement of healthcare measures, of protesters at Coutts in the next few days?


  279. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Of 8th, yes.


  280. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Okay. There was another point that was raised about the Windsor blockade and the fact that it had been cleared. Are you aware -- if I could just pull up this document. It’s WIN00000932. Are you aware of the injunction in -- at Windsor?


  281. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Could you go to page 8, paragraph 47? That’s it. That’s right. About the notion that all was fine at Windsor, if you just look at the top paragraph there, it mentions that the -- a Court decision says that there is a risk that there could continue to be, based on uncontroverted evidence, a return of protesters, so it was necessary to continue. So was the Emergencies Act, to your knowledge, a deterrent that was useful for this state?


  282. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Okay, my last question -- my very last question is, are you -- because it has to do with the deterrent effect, and I hope my question isn’t in that same vein, have that effect, but the ---


  283. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    This can be brief. I won’t take you to it unless it’s necessary. In the IRG of February 23rd, there’s a reference to the use of pamphlets in Manitoba at the Winnipeg Legislature that contained measures that were used -- that were handed out to protesters in order to help deter them from coming. Are you aware of that from the IRG from February 23rd?


  284. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Thank you. And thank you for your indulgence, sir.


  285. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Must have drawn the short straw.


  286. Robert MacKinnon, Counsel (GC)

    Merci. Merci, Monsieur le Commissaire. Bon après-midi. Je m’appelle Robert MacKinnon, je suis avocat principal du Gouvernement du Canada avec Donnaree Nygard. Je tiens d’abord à vous remercier, vous et vos avocats, pour votre travail approfondi que vous avez accompli au cours des six dernières semaines de cette audience et des mois de préparation qui l’ont précédé. The evidence in testimony before this Commission from the parties, and the submissions from members of the public have shown clearly that there were reasonable grounds for the Governor in Council to believe that a public order emergency existed and that special temporary measures were necessary to resolve it. The decision to invoke the Emergencies Act responded to the volatile, escalating, and urgent situation of serious threats of violence to persons and property across the country. There were threats to the security of Canada in the form of illegal blockades at key border ports of entry, such as Windsor, Ontario, Coutts, Alberta, Emerson, Manitoba, and Surrey, B.C., as well as protests at ports of entry right across the country. The discovery of weapons and a hardcore group of individuals willing to die for their cause at the Coutts blockade revealed a real potential for serious violence. There was also the potential serious threat of weapons and threat actors at other illegal protests. In addition, there was the unprecedented, unlawful occupation in Ottawa, which was described by the Chief of Police as a tinder box. The evidence confirmed the unorganized chaos that gridlocked the city. Counsel for the Convoy, Mr. Wilson, admitted that this illegal occupation attracted individuals and groups with violent tendencies, like moths to a flame, in his words. There was also the real potential of serious violence from the racial harassment, intimidation, and threats to residents of Ottawa, Windsor, and at other illegal blockades, and the risk of violence from counterprotests. The lives and livelihoods of ordinary people were seriously affected. Many businesses closed and people were without work for weeks due to these blockades. Moreover, at the same time, there was escalating online extremist IMVE rhetoric and threats against the lives of police and elected officials, including the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, among others. The hate speech and symbols against ethnic minorities and racialized persons were prevalent and prominent at these unlawful protests. As Minister Blair explained in his testimony, in an environment of lawlessness, the escalating threat of violence, unpredictable in form, and by unforeseen actors, is very real. There were also serious threats to the economic security of Canada, Canada’s trade relationship with the U.S., to our main supply chain of essential goods, food, fuel, and medicine to all parts of the country, and to the economic well being of Canadians. The security threats were real and escalating across the country, including to airports and railway lines. It was not known where the next illegal blockade would arise, and further strain the resources of law enforcement. The evidence confirms that these well financed illegal blockades across the province and country were interconnected, loosely coordinated, and appeared designed to stretch police resources and overwhelm their capacity to respond effectively. The Ottawa occupation inspired other copycat illegal protests in Canada and in other countries, such as France, New Zealand, and the United States. Government witnesses outlined the deliberate step by step approach in which careful consideration was given to all available options and existing authorities before the declaration of a public order emergency was chosen as the option of last resort. The option of a peaceful resolution of a complex situation was seriously pursued and considered through an engagement proposal, ultimately found not to be a workable solution. By February 14th, the Cities of Ottawa and Windsor, and the Government of Ontario have already declared a state of emergency. After extensive engagement and formal consultation between federal officials, ministers, and their provincial counterparts, the Governor in Council determined that this volatile situation exceeded the capacity or authority of a province to respond effectively to the crisis on a nation-wide scale. The Emergencies Act was invoked with the support of several premiers and territorial leaders. The measures taken for dealing with the emergency were proportional, effective, time limited, and Charter compliant. The measures were of significant benefit to law enforcement in dissipating the illegal protests in Ottawa, Windsor, and Winnipeg, and keeping the areas cleared. They allowed the police to bring the situation under control and to compel and indemnify the services of heavy tow truck operators in Ottawa and Surrey, B.C. The Emergencies Act measures were revoked as soon as they were no longer required. In the end, these measures resolved the crisis situation across the country after nine days without any loss of life. Le gouvernement du Canada attend avec impatience l’évaluation par la Commission des évènements et des circonstances qui ont mené à la déclaration d’urgence ainsi que ses conclusions et ses recommandations en lien avec son important mandat. Merci.