If you don't listen, you won't hear anyone disagreeing
Like in the SNC Lavalin affair, the PM was clearly surrounded by many people who knew perfectly well that the two main relevant EA criteria, specifically threats or acts of serious violence (EA s. 16 referencing CSIS s. 2), and an inability to handle the "emergency" under existing law, were nowhere near being met, and that, therefore, invoking the EA was simply and plainly illegal. But the PM wanted it, and he has never in his life cared about what's legal - only what he can get away with.
In the SNC Lavalin affair, Jody Wilson Raybould, AG and Justice Minister, was the woman on the spot: she told the PM his behaviour was not ok, and paid the price.
In the Freedom Convoy crisis, Jody Thomas, the National Security Advisor, was the woman on the spot: she told the PM what he wanted to hear, and Canadians paid the price.
So you read "Rob Stewart, MBA, career Finance official" and you think you know where this is going... But Buddy, out of his element and during a period where a bunch of colleagues are losing their heads, goes and builds relationships, gathers information, and comes forward with actionable advice.
Sure, his Minister didn't like it but, i dunno, seems more useful than being snarky on Teams
Another great bit of reporting on the POEC . I really like the last bit of the Blair / McIver exchange. As described in another Sub Stack (The Line), it went something like this:
------- Always looking to cover his ass, Blair responded: "To be clear. Is your point that we should have invoked the [Emergencies] Act earlier.”
------- "No," McIver responded. "You were too late and did the wrong thing. My point is saying nothing now would have been better than not telling the truth."
------- In addition to undermining the legal rationale for calling the Emergencies Act in the first place — at least in the Coutts situation — we at The Line think it rather perfectly encapsulates the relationship between Ottawa and the provinces.
The entire exchange between these two should be scripted into a movie!
This Commission Hearing is, thankfully, a necessary obligation. It displays the ‘fog of war’ during decision making in any crisis! I can easily picture such chaos in any of the wars throughout history. The only difference is that all the various players would never get to air their own opinions after the fact in such a public manner.
Hopefully the Commissioner’s report will have concrete recommendations to establish clear protocols between F-P-T-M officials to tackle such a crisis in the future.
Coming to politicians, so far I have read/seen nothing that points a finger at PMJT. IMO, his actions and comportment has been reasonable and above-board (notwithstanding the criticisms by some in the media and the conservative politicians), unlike those of Pierre Poilievre. PP and Doug Ford are getting off too easy so far. Hopefully the media will hold them accountable.
What stands out in all this, apart from the inter-jurisdictional chaos, is the political machinations and strategies of the ‘back-room boys and girls’ on all sides.
Is there anyone anywhere who still thinks that EA was justified at this stage of the proceedings? There has been not a even the hint of justification for it. Save the pleasure of watching various government members and officials squirm, there is surely no more to be got from this, and that is beginning to pall on me. The idea of Mendicino, Blair, Lametti and Trudeau giving evidence makes me feel nauseous.
Rouleau should call this now: " It is as we supposed: it was a combination of incompetence, deceit and cowardice. This is our/your government. May God have mercy on us all."
I feel for Rob Stewart, a smart public servant trying to provide reasonable and well thought out advise to his political bosses. God, he must get frustrated at times.
Well, this is an amazing and thrilling rundown--if Wells sees it this way, it's probably this way. Some real chills up the spine stuff when you get a sense of the PMO actually creating this "Emergency" that would need the Act invoked. Trudeau wanted his "just watch me" moment, and the Trucker Convoy was his opportunity. Makes sense since his goal is to reproduce PT's playbook right down the line.
It seems plausible that the Emergencies Act would not have been invoked except for the 'interference' of the PM, who himself was moved more by anger and a desire for revenge than his perception of any real objective danger. It was a conscious abuse of the law, calculated to provoke a response that would benefit him politically. Instead, it has turned our the exact opposite.
I tend to be an outlier on this comment board in terms of my views on the prime minister (pro) and the convoy (anti), and even I am nowhere near convinced that the invocation of the EA was necessary or that it accomplished anything.
Let's pretend for a moment that you, Paul Wells, are someone who actually has to give advice and make decisions that have real-world consequences. With whom, exactly, would you have advised Trudeau to engage to make this mess magically go away? With which convoy leaders, specifically? White supremacist troll Pat King and his merry band of pranksters? The Canada Unity folks, opening calling for a coup to overthrow the democratically-elected Government of Canada? The Diagolons and their arsenals of assault rifles? Arch-grifter Tamara Lich, who as Jim Watson found to his chagrin had no mandate to negotiate anything on behalf of anybody? Romana Didulo, Queen of Canada? Any random group of assholes you could find pissing in a snowbank on Wellington with "Fuck Trudeau" flags on their truck? The bros in the hot-tub? Clock is ticking Deputy Minister Wells, give us your best advice ...
Good read, Paul Thanks.
What comes to mind is the Cool Hand Luke quote, "What we have here is a failure to communicate."
Good take, comme d'habitude. Makes me wonder if the "generalist" philosophy of moving our public-service mandarins around the whole of government is not suited for certain departments in an increasingly technically complex and convoluted world ... Health, Justice, Defence, Public Safety, Environment?
It's cute that some people still believe that engaging with the convoy people would have lead to something when 1) it didn't work to Windsor; 2) All convoy leaders said in front of the commission they weren't controlling anyone except themselves
"Lucki was Teams-chatting with her RCMP colleagues while she phone-texted with Carrique, in the middle of the virtual meeting with the cabinet ministers" ... could this explain her poor recall of meetings? She was doing 5 things at once! When non-Managers get into Management this can happen.
Thanks, this material helps me feel and understand some of the frustration in both directions. That is between those who wanted to avoid using emergency powers and those who pushed ahead. As an average citizen I don't know the legal answer but I've generally felt that people needed some reassurance. The strong action may have been necessary to maintain public confidence in government.
Ah yes.... meetings. As someone who attended my fair share in my lifetime all I can say is that they are designed primarily to waste time till coffee break, and then till lunch.... etc. Along the way it will be agreed that we must meet again. If luck has it there will be something that's agreed upon by all and we'll leave happy that it's over.