The head of the RCMP told the FBI that not all police resources were used in the hours before the Emergency Act was enacted

The head of the RCMP told a senior government official shortly before the Emergency Act was invoked to tackle the convoy protests in Ottawa that he believed police had not exhausted "all available tools" to end the occupation, a public inquiry examining the government's response heard late Monday.

The email from RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki to Mike Jones, the chief of staff to Minister of Public Security Marco Mendicino, was sent just after midnight on February 14 – hours before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced he was applying emergency powers that had never been used before. Jones has requested a list of actions that the RCMP thinks would be helpful if they were taken, provided by Lucki.

“That said,” Lucki later wrote in an email, “I am of the view that we have not exhausted all the available tools that are already available through existing legislation.”

He added that the Criminal Code and the recently declared state of emergency in Ontario provided sufficient action for the police, including the establishment of criminal charges and other preventive measures.

"These existing tools are considered in our existing plans and will be used in due course as needed," concluded Lucki.

The email was sent as evidence to the Public Order Emergency Commission, which is examining whether the government's request for the Emergency Act was an appropriate response to the so-called "Freedom Convoy" protests that took over downtown Ottawa for weeks earlier this year.

Ottawa interim police chief Steve Bell, who led the force during the final days of the protests, agreed during testimony Monday that "there may be other opportunities" when shown Lucki's email.

He pointed to the Integrated Command Center set up by the Ottawa Police Service and the Ontario Provincial Police two days before the action.

"We have a plan, we will execute a plan," Bell said.

But he also told Brendan Miller, a lawyer representing convoy organizers, that the Emergencies Act created "a very stable platform, a stable environment for us to carry out our plans."

Bell told the investigation Monday morning that the "unlawful" activity of some protesters, combined with the "trauma" facing residents in downtown Ottawa, made the convoy unmanageable and "unprecedented" for police.

Lucki's email included a list of actions the RCMP said would be useful under the law, including prohibiting people from bringing fuel to truck drivers for their vehicles and commando equipment to tow the trucks.

Suggested measures also include “cell phone interference,” adding in brackets “but more work needs to be done,” prohibiting minors from participating in protests and blocking access to protest areas.

Lucki, who had not appeared prior to the investigation, has voiced support for the plea for such action before.

He told a parliamentary committee in May that emergency powers acted as a "major deterrent" that may have motivated protesters to abandon the blockade of border crossings in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia linked to the convoy movement.

“We often hear privately from people saying 'I'm leaving, because I don't want my account frozen or I'm leaving because I don't want my truck to be towed,'” he told organizers.

In Ottawa, he said the move "gives us a lot of power to work through that enforcement in the safest way possible to protect the safety of Canadians and police officers."

But he also told lawmakers at the time that emergency powers were not used to clear the border blockade, and that the RCMP never asked the government to take such action.

Bell has also previously said he did not ask the federal government to invoke the Emergency Act.

The investigation, which will enter its eighth day on Tuesday, will last six weeks. Witnesses on the commission have painted a picture of chaos and confusion among levels of government and police forces, as officials determine how to respond to the situation.

The investigation also revealed there was disagreement over the extent to which there was a serious threat of extremist violence among protesters.

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