CSIS director supported invoking Emergencies Act, inquiry hears

OTTAWA –

The director of Canada’s intelligence service told the prime minister he supported the decision to invoke the Emergencies Act last winter, despite his opinion that protest blockades across the country did not meet the service’s strict definition of a threat to Canadian security.

David Vigneault’s testimony today is key to the Public Order Emergency Commission, which is scrutinizing the government’s decision to invoke the Emergencies Act in response to the protests.

The Emergencies Act defines a public order emergency as a threat to Canada’s security, as defined in the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act.

Vigneault says no such threat materialized during the “Freedom Convoy” protests, however he was satisfied that a threat to national security had to be interpreted differently in the context of the Emergencies Act.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared a public order emergency on Feb. 14 — the first time the legislation was used since its 1988 inception.

Vingeault says he was asked for his opinion before the Emergencies Act was invoked, and told the prime minister he believed it was “required” based on what was happening across the country.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 21, 2022.

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