Soldiers, with tanks, on our streets — I didn’t make this up.
It’s instead what two Liberal cabinet ministers were talking about as a way to deal with the trucker’s convoy earlier this year.
This revelation came through text messages between Justice Minister David Lametti and Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino submitted into evidence at the Emergencies Act inquiry.
On Feb. 2, Lametti expressed frustration to Mendicino about how long the convoy had been set up in downtown Ottawa.
“You need to get the police to move. And the CAF if necessary. Too many people are being seriously adversely impacted by what is an occupation,” Lametti wrote.
The request from Lametti was in no way a joke. He was asking the minister of public safety, the solicitor general of Canada, to direct the police and use the military to break up the convoy protest if necessary.
We don’t use the army to subdue political protest in Canada.
But Mendicino, an experienced MP and cabinet minister, and the former crown prosecutor, simply replied asking how many tanks.
“How many tanks are you asking for?” Mendicino asked.
“I reckon one will do!!,” was Lametti’s reply.
To Lametti, this is just playful banter between colleagues. But Canadians should see this for what it is, the two most powerful members of cabinet, when it comes to law-enforcement, discussing using the military to quell a political protest, including the use of tanks.
Resorting to the “it was just a joke” defence shouldn’t sit well with anyone. When Jeremy McKenzie, the alleged leader of white supremacist group, Diagalon was heard on a podcast discussing the rape of Pierre Poilievre’s wife, his defence was that it was just a joke. McKenzie’s lame defence was rejected then and Lametti’s lame defence should be rejected now.
Worse than just a bad joke
Even if we ignore what Lametti would like us to believe is just bad humour with the quip about tanks, he was still advocating for using the military against a civilian protest. He also said in several texts to Mendicino and other politicians that he wanted them to get police moving.
That should be extremely worrisome even if it’s not surprising coming from Lametti.
He claimed in his testimony to know that politicians cannot direct police, yet he tried to do just that multiple times. He should know the military is not a solution to civilian protest but he requested it.
Lametti you may recall is the man who was appointed attorney general after Jody Wilson-Raybould refused to interfere in a criminal prosecution for political reasons. Lametti obviously had no issue with what the Prime Minister wanted and was granted the job. He then dismissed calls for an investigation into the Prime Minister saying Trudeau had assured everyone he had done nothing wrong.
Is this a man you can trust to apply the law properly or fairly?
We also learned from Wednesday’s testimony that while yes, indeed, the government did use a wider, broader definition of what constitutes a threat to the national security of Canada, you can’t see it. Lametti was asked about this issue multiple times by both commission council and under cross examination but simply claimed solicitor-client privilege.
The government has made it clear to the inquiry investigating the use of the Emergencies Act that they used a broader definition not found in the law, but they have no intention of sharing it with the public, or the inquiry.
To Lametti, it seems, the law is a mere suggestion if it’s something that will get in the way of the goals he wishes to achieve.