Senior police members are to continue their testimony Wednesday morning at the federal inquiry into the government’s use of the Emergencies Act.
Supt. Robert Bernier, who oversaw the Ottawa police command centre for a portion of the “Freedom Convoy” demonstrations in February, said he would have carried out a preplanned police operation even if the law had not been invoked.
He also said he didn’t need the federal government to compel truck drivers to remove vehicles that were in the downtown core, because police had already assembled 34 tow trucks with willing drivers.
But Bernier also told the commission during an interview that the emergency declaration may have convinced protesters to stay away from downtown Ottawa and be more compliant with police.
During the convoy, Ottawa police said one of their limitations to bring the protests to an end was an unwillingness of tow truck drivers to help move hundreds of vehicles blocking the streets around Parliament Hill.
The Emergencies Act, which was invoked on Feb. 14, granted temporary and extraordinary powers to police and governments to end the demonstrations, allowing police and city officials to commandeer tow trucks to move big rigs and other vehicles.
RCMP boss suggests use of Emergencies Act premature