OTTAWA—Prime Minister’s Workplace officers say the previous Conservative interim chief Candice Bergen instructed the prime minister there can be “important issues” to contemplate in assembly with convoy contributors, a public inquiry heard Thursday.
That assertion contradicts Bergen’s recollection of a name with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, she stated in a press release despatched to the Star.
Bergen made frequent public statements all through the convoy protests final winter, blaming Trudeau for failing to satisfy with demonstrators to defuse tensions and resolve the blockades.
The PMO assertion got here in a abstract of an interview given by 4 prime Trudeau advisers with attorneys supporting Justice Paul Rouleau, who’s main a public inquiry into the declaration of the Emergencies Act.
Justin Trudeau’s deputy chief of workers Brian Clow instructed inquiry attorneys in an interview on Oct. 11 that on Feb. 3, within the sixth day of the protests that gridlocked downtown Ottawa, chief of workers Katie Telford puzzled if Bergen, then-newly named Opposition chief, might assist interact with these concerned within the protests.
Trudeau known as Bergen that very same day, the abstract stated, and Telford recalled that through the name Bergen “acknowledged that there have been important issues about whom the federal authorities might interact with and setting a nasty precedent.”
Telford was not questioned about that individual side of her proof throughout testimony Thursday.
The Star reached out to Bergen to make clear if that precisely mirrored her feedback at a time when she and the Conservatives had been hammering Trudeau.
She stated, “my recollection of that dialog was that the PM known as me to congratulate me on turning into the chief. That was the aim of the decision.”
“We spoke about quite a few issues together with his and his household’s well being, Ukraine, taxes and the protest. I requested him if he would contemplate reaching out and increasing an olive department to the individuals who had come to Ottawa. He stated he didn’t need to set a precedent by chatting with protesters in that manner.”
That displays a press release despatched out on the time by the Conservative occasion concerning the name.
The Canadian Press obtained an e-mail written by Bergen on Jan. 31 to fellow MPs, by which she instructed a few of her colleagues the Conservatives ought to try to make the protests the prime minister’s “drawback.”
“I don’t assume we needs to be asking them to go house,” Bergen’s e-mail stated.
She added: “I perceive the temper could shift quickly. So we have to flip this into the (prime minister’s) drawback. What’s going to he take (as) step one to working in direction of ending this?”
On Jan. 31, Conservative MP Marilyn Gladu posted a photograph on Fb of her and Bergen at a restaurant “sitting over pizza and drinks” with two truckers within the protests.
Bergen was elected as interim Conservative chief on Feb. 2, after caucus voted to dump Erin O’Toole as occasion chief.
Though the Liberal authorities has insisted on the inquiry it was exploring all choices to resolve the blockades, in response to proof on the inquiry, Telford had issues a few so-called “engagement proposal” introduced ahead on Feb. 11 that will have seen unnamed federal officers and the Ontario solicitor normal meet with protesters in the event that they denounced the convoy and left.
It was supported by the federal deputy public security minister, an OPP inspector and the then-solicitor normal Sylvia Jones.
However Telford instructed inquiry attorneys it wasn’t actually a plan in any respect as a result of there was no readability on which federal official would meet, which convoy chief can be concerned, and since one such try had failed at Windsor “as a result of there was no need on the a part of these concerned within the blockade to have interaction with police.”
Telford additionally stated the negotiation tried by the Metropolis of Ottawa with a few of the protesters fell aside quickly after it was reached. Telford stated there have been a lot of folks throwing out names of who might interact with the protesters, together with MPs from different events whom she didn’t title. She says these proposals by no means acquired off the bottom, for numerous causes.
Telford stated nobody might say who within the protests they’d communicate to, and what they may do, which is why engagement by no means turned an actual resolution.
Telford stated there’s a distinction “between engagement and negotiation,” and the federal government “wasn’t ready to barter public well being measures that had been rooted in science.”
“It wasn’t clear what this engagement technique can be, not to mention if it might have any impact,” she stated.
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