“Freedom convoy”: no confidence in the Ottawa police

“Freedom convoy”: don’t trust the Ottawa police

UPDATE DAY

Ottawa | The federal government lost faith in Ottawa's municipal police so quickly that it began to consider using the Emergencies Act less than a week after the “freedom convoy” arrived in the federal capital. 

This is what emerged from the interrogation of the big boss of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), Commissioner Thomas Carrique, today today.

As early as February 2, five days after the first trucks arrived in Ottawa, RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki sent her colleague Commissioner Carrique a series of text messages filed in evidence.

“Did [Public Safety Minister Bill] Blair hook you up with a letter of support for EA [the Emergencies Act]?” Ms. Lucki asks.

Three days later, on February 5, she wrote to her colleague again, mentioning “the political pressure to act”, she indicated: “Between you and me, the GOC [Government of Canada] is in the process of/has lost confidence in OPS.”

The same day, a police report entered into evidence stated that police officers and municipal workers had been surrounded, intimidated and insulted by increasingly aggressive protesters.&nbsp ;

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Confusion over towing

Commission of Inquiry to Determine Whether Invoking Exemption Measures Act Was Justified emergency on February 14.

One of the powers released by this law of last resort was that of forcing towing companies to support police services. However, it was learned that the RCMP had delegated the authority to the OPP to force towing companies to work together to move the trucks. But the OPP did not use this power until the Emergencies Act was invoked.

Furthermore, Commissioner Carrique indicated that it was only the day before the invocation of this law, on February 13, that a real plan of action was drawn up to free Ottawa from the convoy and that, at this stage, PAHO had not exhausted all its options.

Mr. Carrique indicated that he was unaware that the federal government was going to invoke this law on the 14th and that he had not been consulted before, which would have been nice, he said.

National Security Threatened

He nevertheless made it clear that in his view the situation in Ottawa and elsewhere posed a threat to national security.

Earlier in the day, he had explained that the requests for reinforcements in Ottawa endangered the rest of Ontario

The OPS wanted 1,800 officers from the OPP. However, Commissioner Carrique explained that his teams, which are responsible for the safety of highways and nearly 330 communities in Ontario, were operating with 73% of their staff at the time due to staff shortages.

Sending so many agents to Ottawa meant taking some elsewhere. This would have left part of the province unprotected and vulnerable to coordinated operations by protesters.

The OPP boss has also blamed the Ottawa police chief , Peter Sloly, for making this request in a “public” and “political” way.

Imbroglio on truck parking

In his testimony, he also indicated that the OPP believed that the protesters would be forced to park their trucks outside the city and then proceed to Parliament Hill by bus or shuttles.

Over the past few days, PAHO officials who have testified have however indicated that in their opinion they do not have the power to block access to the city to trucks. 

Commissioner Carrique indicates that his services offered assistance to the OPS in managing the traffic from the start, because according to the information available to the OPP, as early as January 20 – eight days before the arrival of the convoy – it was clear that the municipal police would be overwhelmed. However, the OPP refused this outstretched hand, according to the testimony of Commissioner Carrique.

It was only when the first trucks arrived at the outskirts of Parliament, on January 28, that the OPP realized that the OPS had not blocked the accesses to the city center.

Conflict over the reinforcement

Four days later, Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly told his counterpart, Commissioner Carrique, that the protest was turning into an occupation and that it would be impossible to move the trucks safely “unless we have thousands of agents”, can we read in notes of interview between the two men filed in evidence at the commission.

OPS claimed 1,800 agents from the OPP, a request enormous explains Commissioner Carrique who underlines that the OPP agents who were already on site at the time of the request were not used to their full potential.

The big boss of the OPP criticizes the Chief Sloly for making the request “publicly” and “politically.” with 73% of their strength due to understaffing.

Sending so many officers to Ottawa meant having to remove elsewhere. This would have left part of the province unprotected and vulnerable to coordinated protest operations.