The inquiry in Ottawa is stagnating. Justice Paul Rouleau of the Ontario Court of Appeal is getting testier. He has little time to hear the questions and less time to write the answers. Our federal government stands accused. The accusers are people who came to Ottawa with their convoys of trucks. They came and they stayed. They were the mean and angry, the politicized, the lost and the confused. They were the Canadian equivalent to the Trump-led hoodlums who set to sack the American Capitol the year before—but without even the limited leadership of a Trump.
Justice Rouleau’s inquiry is now into the stage of boring. The lawyers for all and sundry plod on. Viewers are challenged to stay awake. The challenge explained by the justice in the beginning of his inquiry is that it is a legally required investigation into the use of the 1988 Emergencies Act. Was it necessary? His report to parliament will contain his finding.
But we are the jury. And what we know now is that leadership of the events in Ottawa that winter was as confused as the participants and the police. What was the cost of living in downtown Ottawa at that time? Was it frightening? Or was it just a confusion of noisy tourists with no idea of where to park?
And who says that there is no political interference with the Ontario Provincial Police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police? Who was leading Ottawa police chief, Peter Sloly astray? He needed help, not critiques. The answer to his calls should have been “What do you need?” and “When do you need it?” It was his turf, his city.
The most important witness has left the country. He probably expects to be back in time. That is the prime minister. It is his cabinet that settled on bringing in the emergencies act, instead of the army. He is the defendant. And do those lawyers for the government of Canada represent him?
Listening to the endless repetition of these lawyers and their obscure questions reminds me of a time years ago when as foreman of a jury, I had to explain patiently to my fellow jurors that not liking a defendant’s choice of lawyer should not be held against the defendant.
Copyright 2022 © Peter Lowry
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