Emergencies Act inquiry: Critical conclusions from paperwork


Fewer than 1 7 days into the Community Buy Unexpected emergency Commission’s hearings inspecting the federal government’s invocation of the Emergencies Act, hundreds of documents have presently been designed public.

While a significant portion of the files supplied to the commission so much are copies of pandemic general public wellbeing orders and statements, as effectively as clippings from media coverage of the ‘Freedom Convoy,’ there have also been transcripts or summaries of superior-level cellular phone phone calls , electronic mail and textual content message exchanges, and inner studies, with most likely considerably much more to appear.

The pieces of proof submitted so far have drop new gentle on some of the inner machinations in just, and in between many amounts of govt and police forces in preparing for, and responding to the protests.

Here is a rundown of some noteworthy information gleaned from the paperwork to date.


In accordance to a summary report of a contact amongst federal, provincial, and Town of Ottawa officers on Feb. 6—midway by the ‘Freedom Convoy’ protests — the Canadian Safety Intelligence Service (CSIS) voiced worries about the protests perhaps being employed as a “recruiting floor.”

CSIS Director David Vigneault, on the contact with then-deputy minister for community safety Rob Stewart, Ottawa Town Manager Steve Kanellakos, RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki, then-Ottawa Law enforcement Chief Peter Sloly and other folks, made this remark in reference to the Ottawa, Quebec City, Toronto, and Alberta protests.

“There are some persons from other triggers who are the hardened components who will probable use violence but they see this as not their mission… They are not actively participating or arranging it and are most likely using this as a recruiting floor,” reads the doc.

Vigneault also pointed out that at that point, the protest was “largely a domestic difficulty” and stated that in spite of fears to the contrary, CSIS was not seeing a significant firm of US truckers coming across, nor were there foreign actors recognized as funding the convoy. A separate Ottawa Police Service (OPS) doc from a week later seemed to contradict this, indicating intercontinental “cash and supports” experienced been discovered.

On this call, the key group of unexpected emergency response officers also discussed how at that point the number of vans in the capital was “significantly reduced than the peak,” but flagged that when some encampments were “contained” there was concern that the Rideau Road segment of vehicles blocking the region was becoming led by “well structured” “poor actors.”

As properly, Primary Minister Justin Trudeau’s National Stability Adviser Jody Thomas spoke about negotiations at the Confederation Park encampment that she seen as “a get of averting ‘guns pointed'” in the park. There was also dialogue on this phone about a prospective “interlocutor” to aid continue on negotiations with the protest organizers, with former senator Murray Sinclair, ambassador and former politician Bob Rae, and previous Supreme Courtroom justice Louise Arbour’s names outlined.

Amid all of this, Sloly appeared to counsel, for each the summary report, that at this phase he was not interested in pursuing “mass arrests,” citing the 2010 G20 summit protest knowledge and the “authorized and human legal rights implication.”


Private minutes from a Feb. 5 Ottawa Law enforcement Providers Board meeting unveiled that, at that position in the protests, OPS was cautious about pursuing mass arrests of the anti-COVID-19 mandate and anti-federal government protesters, expressing that all scenarios remaining run via had been “significant danger.”

This was for the reason that the service’s intelligence “advised that [sic] some participants, getting arrested, or even remaining killed was considered as acquiring a stage of martyrdom alternatively than a deterrent.”

There was also some indicator that “fractures” were acquiring involving the several teams protesting, with Sloly suggesting the OPS could attempt to “leverage” that.

“Main Sloly elevated the have to have for more amounts of government to turn into associated in the unparalleled demonstrations. He pointed out that the demonstrators are not of one particular single agenda, and they are a nicely-arranged and funded team,” reads another portion of the minutes.

The minutes also observe that OPS had introduced in a mental wellness professional who was aiding liaison with teams on the floor, “acting as a disaster management negotiator.”


Around several files submitted to the fee, it is designed apparent that equally metropolis and federal governing administration officials were being frustrated by what they noticed as missing involvement of the Ontario governing administration as the protests ongoing.

In addition to the noteworthy trade involving Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and Trudeau in which the primary minister considered Ontario Premier Doug Ford was “hiding from his obligation on it for political causes,” there are other illustrations of key players questioning in which the province was.

A single case in point of this was in an iMessage trade among Minister of Emergency Preparedness Monthly bill Blair’s main of staff members Zita Astravas and Watson’s main of team Serge Arpin.

On Feb. 8, in accordance to screenshots presented to the commission—just a couple of days just before Ontario declared a condition of emergency—the two had been speaking about no matter if there have been any indications that the province was eager to be part of a tri-partite table to talk about the problem.

“Not nonetheless,” Astravas stated early that early morning. When Arpin adopted up around 3 pm to see if the scenario had transformed, Astravas stated then-Ontario solicitor standard Sylvia Jones was a “really hard no” and that she experienced acquired “zero reaction” from officers.

She then talked about how they could strategize to get the province at the table.

In independent proof, in accordance to a letter Jones sent to Watson and then-Ottawa Police Services Board chair Dianne Deans in reaction to a request for extra law enforcement guidance, Jones wrote that she had passed alongside their ask for to the OPP.

Although vowing that her ministry was “committed to supporting our policing partners,” she wrote that from the political amount, the federal government would continue “encouraging all individuals taking part in the Ottawa protests to govern their actions in a way to ensure they are peaceful.”


Even though there has been a vary of accounts and files indicating differing perspectives on how critically intelligence on how many truckers have been coming to protest and for how lengthy they prepared to remain was taken, one matter is very clear: Sloly appeared self-confident in the initial law enforcement reaction.

In spite of indications that had OPS blocked off vehicle entry to vital downtown streets, the protesters would not have been able to turn out to be cemented in the downtown core, in a summary of a Jan. 31 assembly with the mayor, Sloly indicated that the law enforcement attempts experienced been “massively productive.”

In the exact be aware, on the other hand, Sloly flagged that the protests have been “transitioning from demonstration to profession in spite of negotiations.”

A single working day earlier, in accordance to an email exchange entered into evidence, right after Ottawa Normal Supervisor of Unexpected emergency and Protecting Expert services Kim Ayotte delivered an update to town council on how the first complete day of convoy protests was going, councillor Shawn Menard requested no matter whether the city was going to be ticketing and towing autos.

Ayotte reported his belief was that police ended up doing a “good task at preserving the fine balance concerning a peaceful demonstration and a probable riot.” He also prompt intervention could be a “tipping place.”

Chiming in, Kanellakos indicated he agreed, asking “exactly where would we set the cars that are towed??? The goal is to keep the peace.”

‘WISH WE Experienced THE POWER’ TO DO Additional THAN Check out

An e mail thread in which Somerset Ward city councillor Catherine McKenney expressed aggravation around the “full absence of police” on specified streets in her ward halfway by way of the protests indicated that some councillors have been emotion each powerless, and sympathetic.

Just after sharing a reaction from Ottawa police that indicated they experienced 20-25 officers patrolling Centretown over the Feb. 4-6 weekend of protests—in addition to an unspecified extra cadre of backup from other forces—McKenney balked that a close friend had reported not observing any visible law enforcement even though on a walkabout one particular night time.

This is how council colleague and then- member of the Ottawa Law enforcement Providers Board Carol Anne Meehan responded: “So very sorry Catherine. Desire we had the electrical power to do a little something, moreover look at.”

These looped in on this exchange integrated a mix of Metropolis of Ottawa officers and councillors, then –chief Sloly, as very well as Ottawa Centre MP Yasir Naqvi and General public Security Minister Marco Mendicino.

Councillor Mathieu Fleury then chimed in, incorporating Ottawa Vanier MP Mona Fortier to the thread and reported: “No law enforcement in ByWard Market/Rideau both,” linking to protection from CTV Information.

TRUCKERS Should Acquire LRT?

A person previous tidbit value noting—particularly for Ottawa residents— is that in advance of the convoy rolling into town, town officials were talking about letting the Ottawa Baseball Stadium parking great deal on Coventry Highway to be utilized as a parking zone for the incoming transport vehicles.

Of training course, this region finished up becoming a stronghold for convoy protesters established up as a supply camp and closed off to outsiders. But right before this whole lot became an encampment, the city experienced instructed “if Wellington will get too congested, they would ask motor vehicles to phase there and participants would be capable to acquire transit downtown.”

Framed as “overflow” for that to start with weekend, one particular metropolis formal stated the parking ton was “excellent” mainly because protesters would then be a “speedy” light rail experience into the downtown main. There was no mention in the email thread that a mask mandate —the kind of general public wellbeing restriction that truckers and their supporters came to city to protest against— was in effect on Ottawa’s LRT at the time.

With documents from CTV News’ Annie Bergeron-Oliver and Mackenzie Gray

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