Anti-mandate demonstrators gather as a truck convoy blocks the highway the busy U.S. border crossing in Coutts, Alta., Monday, Jan. 31, 2022.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

State of emergency unneeded to clear Alberta border blockade: provincial official

A senior civil servant in Alberta says the provincial government never declared a state of emergency after protesters blockaded a key border crossing because it would not have helped.

Marlin Degrand told the public inquiry investigating the federal Liberal government’s use of the Emergencies Act that triggering the provincial legislation would not have given police extra powers to help clear protesters at the crossing in Coutts, Alta., last winter.

He says the Alberta government had other options to get tow trucks to clear the protest.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act for the first time in Canadian history on Feb. 14, arguing its temporary and extraordinary powers were needed to end blockades in Ottawa and at border crossings across Canada.

Ontario’s deputy solicitor general Mario Di Tommaso is also expected to resume his testimony later today after his appearance was interrupted Wednesday when the lawyer examining him on fainted in the public hearing room. The lawyer is expected to make a full recovery.

During his brief appearance on Wednesday, Di Tommaso told the Public Order Emergency Commission that Ontario’s decision to declare a state of emergency proved helpful.

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