At the ongoing Public Order Emergency Commission, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is scheduled to personally testify regarding his actions took to crush the Freedom Convoy in February.
In order to defend the federal government’s use of the Emergencies Act, Trudeau will be one of eight members of the Liberal cabinet who must appear before Commissioner Paul Rouleau, according to CTV News.
There are a total of 60 witnesses on the list, including Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino.
Leaders of the Freedom Convoy and law enforcement agents involved in the crackdown are among the others on the list.
“The Commission has provided a preliminary list of witnesses to Parties that have standing,” said Commission spokesperson Michael Tansey.
“The list is not final and was provided to Parties on a confidential basis.”
The last time a prime minister testified at a public inquiry in Canada was in 2005, when former Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin testified before the Gomery Commission on corruption charges levelled against his government.
Internal polling by the federal government found that Canadians felt that the Liberal government’s use of the Act was an overreach.
“Though a small number of participants felt implementing the Emergencies Act was a necessary step given the disturbance caused by the seemingly indefinite nature of the protests, most felt this action represented significant ‘over-reach’ by the federal government as they interpreted this as limiting the right of these Canadians to peaceful protest,” wrote researchers.
“A significant number identified with the frustration expressed by the protesters regarding ongoing public health measures even if they disagreed with some of the methods.”
Polling conducted soon after the Act was repealed also revealed that Canadians were dissatisfied with the federal government’s decision to declare protests illegal without first talking to demonstrators.
“Participants were generally dissatisfied with the response of the Government of Canada,” analysts wrote.
“It was thought the perceived lack of engagement by the federal government with the protesters only served to intensify these demonstrations.”