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Texts reveal Alberta accused Bill Blair of ‘not telling the truth’ about the Emergencies Act

The Alberta government told the commission it didn’t need the emergencies act to clear the Coutts blockade

The Alberta government told Ottawa it didn’t need any extra legislation or special powers to clear the Coutts blockade last winter in February. The Alberta government told Ottawa they needed resources.

Resources the Alberta government told Ottawa they needed was tow trucks. One week into the protest the Alberta government was finding it difficult to find any tow truck companies willing to help move more than 100 vehicles.

The Public Order Emergencies Inquiry is tasked with investigating and determination if the very high threshold required to declare a nation state of emergency and invoke the Emergencies Act to deal with protesters in downtown Ottawa.

The province was against the idea of calling an emergency to compel tow truck drivers and sent a letter to the federal government on Feb 5, requesting help to get tow trucks or provide Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) tow trucks that they use to move tanks but never received an official response.

The Liberal government did however did draft up a response on Feb 12, that said the CAF resources of tow trucks will not be lent to Alberta and they already have all the legislation and authoritative powers they need. This draft was shown to McIver during his testimony.

Alberta Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver agreed that Alberta had all the laws and legislation necessary to clear the border blockade but they required tow trucks. But since the federal government never responded, Alberta set up procurements to purchase their own tow trucks which were ready to go before the Emergencies Act was invoked.

On Feb 10, McIver sent a text message to Bill Blaire asking “any update” in regards to the letter Alberta sent them on Feb 5.

“not telling the truth.”

Bill Blair never answered the text until Feb 21, when McIver messaged him again saying “still no answer”. In response Blair said the federal government has invoked the Emergencies Act, claiming it “addressed the tow truck issue quite effectively”.

Blair replied “You may be aware we invoked the Emergencies Act on Feb 15, which addressed the tow truck issue quiet effectively”

McIver told Minister Blair they received no help until after the Coutts blockade was already cleared “and you know that”.

“We received no help until after Coutts issue was resolved and you know that” said McIver, adding “Disappointed to hear you say otherwise.”

Blair credit the invoking of the Emergencies Act for helping to clear the Coutts blockade which McIver called Blair out saying it was untrue because Alberta already bought their own tow trucks and cleared the border blockade before the Emergencies Act was invoked.

“What is true is that Coutts was resolved on the 14th. And we got our own tow trucks after you could not help”

McIver told Blair the federal government was no help and their response was to late. Bill Blair asked if they should have invoked the Emergencies Act sooner.

Blair was told by McIver the Emergencies Act was completely useless for Alberta and that was not what they asked for.

“No. You were too late and did the wrong thing.” McIver said. adding “My point is saying nothing now would have been better than not telling the truth”

The text messages were presented in the Emergencies Act Inquiry to Alberta Assistant Deputy Solicitor General, Marlin Degrand, which he said was his first time seeing.

Degrand said his understanding of the text exchange is “We didn’t require the legislative Authority of the emergency act to resolve our issue we required it we required uh logistical help that was available in province and it was denied to us so we found a different way to to address it that is bought our torture bought the tow trucks ourselves”

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Jordan is a casual reporter for BC Rise


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