The Defence Department’s top official says he told the military to prepare to intervene as “Freedom Convoy” protests gridlocked downtown Ottawa and several border crossings with the U.S. earlier this year.
But Deputy Minister Bill Matthews says the plans were never seriously considered or presented to Defence Minister Anita Anand.
Matthews instead says the Liberal government was adamant the Armed Forces should be used only as a last resort, particularly as the shadow of the Oka Crisis in 1990 continued to loom large.
Matthews’s comments are contained in a summary of an interview conducted in August with lawyers for the public inquiry looking into the Liberal government’s decision to use the Emergencies Act to end the protests in February.
The summary is among thousands of documents released by the Public Order Emergency Commission.
Matthews also says the military was prepared to fly police officers to different parts of the country, but that its tow trucks were too big — and too old — to be of any use in clearing vehicles from the protests.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2022.