On February 14, the same day the Cabinet invoked the state of emergency law, the RCMP mistakenly stated that Freedom Convoy protesters gathered outside Ottawa’s parliament building were armed and armed inside. claimed. document show. Ottawa Police Service (OPS) interim director Steve Bell later confirmed that no weapons were found among the protesters.
Read the RCMP briefing note sent to the Deputy Cabinet Minister entitled “Truck Convoys and Protection Services” obtained by a BlackRock reporter
“Officers are constantly monitoring changes in behavior and will respond accordingly.”
The briefing note was time-stamped at 12:59 p.m. on Feb. 14. Four hours later, the Liberal government invoked the state of emergency law and used extraordinary force to clear the center of downtown Ottawa of protesters. gave the police the power to do so.
The RCMP briefing note also said about 250 uniformed police were outside parliament and about 350 police were “deployed daily to assist in our protection duties.”
The Cabinet revoked the emergency law on February 23, just nine days after it came into force.
On February 16, when the law was still in force, Public Security Minister Marco Mendicino told reporters that Freedom Convoy protesters were committing potentially “fatal” crimes. .
According to Blacklock’s Reporter, “dangerous criminal activity occurring away from television cameras and social media posts was real and organized,” he said.
“no need to worry”
A Toronto Star article published March 19 cited an unnamed police source who claimed some of the Freedom Convoy protesters had shotguns in their trunks.
Five days later, Bell refuted the report while testifying before the House Public Safety Committee on March 24.
“Weapons found? Loaded firearms found, yes or no?” asked Conservative MP Dane Lloyd while questioning Bell about whether the article’s allegations were true.
“No, it has nothing to do with the charges up to this point,” Bell replied.
Lloyd also asked if the Cabinet would be notified if police found loaded firearms among demonstrators.
“If you had found a firearm, would they have noticed?” said Lloyd.
“There should have been a public notice,” Bell replied.
Internal documents dated Feb. 14 from the Department of Public Safety’s Government Operations Center (GOC), also obtained by BlackRock reporters, characterized the Freedom Convoy as a peaceful protest with little impact on federal operations. .
“About 10 people on Parliament Hill and about 100 in the surrounding streets,” read the GOC’s daily security update, released the same day the Cabinet invoked the emergency law.
“There are no concerns at this time,” said an assessment by the Canadian Security Intelligence Agency included in the report.
Omid Goreici and Noe Chartier contributed to this report.