CSIS warned Emergencies Act would radicalize protesters and push them toward violence

OTTAWA — The Canadian Security Intelligence Service warned cabinet ministers on Feb. 13 that invoking the Emergencies Act could push "Freedom Convoy" protesters toward violence.

A record of the advice was released to the media today through the Public Order Emergency Commission, which is examining the first-ever invocation of the act by the Liberal government to clear protests in Ottawa and at border crossings across the country.

The document shown in the public hearing suggests CSIS officials offered advice to cabinet the day before the act was invoked, and warned it could "galvanize" anti-government narratives and push some to believe that violence was the protesters' only solution.

After the law was invoked, CSIS again warned more people would be pushed to violent ideologies.

The document, classified as "secret," also showed that CSIS found no indications that ideologically motivated extremists were planning any violence as of Feb. 3.

The document was presented to the commission by a lawyer representing the organizers of the Ottawa protest, but was withdrawn after an objection by the City of Windsor's lawyer.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 7, 2022.

The Canadian Press