Convoy of truckers: the Ottawa police would have quickly lost the confidence of the federal government | Commission of Inquiry into the State of Emergency

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Convoy of truckers: the Ottawa police would have quickly lost the confidence of the federal government | Commission of Inquiry into the State of Emergency

The RCMP feared being put in charge of the crisis, a week after the start of the occupation.

The Ottawa Police Service (OPS) remained responsible for the supervision of the convoy of truckers from the beginning to the end of the occupation of the city center.

Text exchanges between the Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and her counterpart of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) show that the occupation of downtown Ottawa, the #x27;last winter, quickly caused the Government of Canada to question the ability of the local police department to deal with the crisis.

These messages, filed in evidence Thursday at the Rouleau commission, evoke a possible invocation of the Emergency Measures Act as of Saturday, February 5, one week after the start of the occupation.

In a series of text messages transmitted that day by Brenda Lucki to Thomas Carrique, the top federal police boss argues that the Government of Canada is losing confidence or has already lost confidence in the Police Service of Canada. Ottawa (OPS).

The Commissioner further noted that the RCMP or OPP may have to take over the reins of the operation if the Emergencies Act was summoned, which [she] does not want.

Ms. Lucki then explains that she is trying somehow to calm down the Trudeau Cabinet ministers, but that it is not easy when they see inflatable games in downtown Ottawa. .

In the summary of his examination conducted prior to the public hearings, Commissioner Carrique also reports having had a discussion with Ms. Lucki on February 15 about the possibility of asking the SPO chief Peter Sloly to hand over command and control of the operation to end the protests.

The OPP commissioner indicated that he was about to ask Mr. Sloly, but that conversation never took place, as he tendered his resignation later that day same.

Many police officers summoned to the commission have argued for the past two weeks that while the Emergencies Act helped them root out protesters, its summons did not; was not essential.

In the summary of his interrogation conducted this summer, Commissioner Carrique claims, for example, that his organization did not change its approach after February 14, when the Trudeau government declared a state of ;emergency.

While the extraordinary powers that were delegated to the police were extremely useful in compensating towing companies, they were not necessary to commandeer tow trucks and restrict the presence of protesters downtown, according to the commissioner.

Tow companies feared they would face retaliation if they removed vehicles and trucks from the center- city.

A letter dated February 17 and filed in evidence, however, shows that Mr. Carrique cited the Emergencies Act in his correspondence with towing companies. In the letter, it is written that the OPP requires these companies to offer their services under this exceptional law.

However, Commissioner Carrique insists that the issue was one of compensation. He said the companies approached were ready to help, but feared they would be targeted by protesters.

“Technically, could we have coerced them? Did we provide them with written information suggesting that they were compelled to act? It is very likely. But have we really coerced anyone? No, they voluntarily agreed to help us.

—Thomas Carrique, OPP Commissioner

Commissioner Carrique's analysis is consistent with those provided in recent weeks by several other witnesses from the provincial police, including retired Chief Superintendent Carson Pardy and Superintendent Pat Morris, as well as by the Acting Chief of the OPS, Steven (Steve) Bell. An SPO inspector, Robert Bernier, also assured that the police would have dismantled the convoy of truckers with or without emergency measures.

OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique does not believe invoking the Emergencies Act was necessary to dismantle the convoy of truckers, even if he affirmed in parliamentary committee, on March 24, that the gathering represented at the time a “threat to national security”.

Carrique also said he agreed with RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki's opinion on the need for emergency measures. Recall that on February 14 — the same day the Emergency Measures Act was invoked — the latter judged that the authorities had not yet exhausted all the tools at their disposal to try to put an end to to demonstrations.

The point of view shared by Commissioner Carrique with the prosecutors of the Rouleau Commission contrasts, however, with the testimony he gave to the parliamentary committee on March 24, when he had declared that he considered that the convoy of truckers posed a threat to national security at the time.

Before Judge Rouleau on Thursday morning, he clarified that this potential threat did not necessarily meet the definition of a threat to the security of Canada established by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) Act.

< p class="e-p">It must be said that the head of the intelligence unit of the OPP, Superintendent Pat Morris, testified before the commission last week that there was never had credible information showing a direct threat to the national security of Canada.

The commissioner of the provincial police force publicly agreed with this analysis on Thursday, adding however that the word threat was used to indicate that something could happen and that the situation required further analysis.

< p class="e-p">Thomas Carrique's account of the events at the State of Emergency Commission of Inquiry will be followed by the highly anticipated one from the former Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly, Friday.

According to the summary of the interview he gave to the commission, the former head of the OPS does not believe that his officers could have done anything differently last January and February, given the the unprecedented national security crisis facing the OPS.

However, numerous testimonies heard since October 13 have revealed that the local police did not take seriously the signals emitted here and there, according to which the demonstration could deteriorate.

In addition, Commissioner Carrique told Judge Rouleau that he was surprised to see local police directing truckers towards Wellington Street on Parliament Hill, when he rather believed that they were not. they would prevent them from entering the city centre. This decision was already called a mistake by an OPS officer last week.

Mr. Carrique also told the commission that the SPO did not appear to have a clearly communicated and documented operational plan.

The Trudeau government invoked the Emergencies Act on February 14, 2022 to end a rally of truckers and other protesters opposing COVID-19 health measures that paralyzed downtown 'Ottawa from Saturday, January 29 to Sunday, February 20.

This law – adopted in 1988 to succeed the War Measures Act – provides, among other things, that a public inquiry must a fortiori examine the circumstances that led the authorities to make such a decision.

Ultimately, 66 people will have appeared before Judge Paul Rouleau, including Justin Trudeau and seven ministers, as well as organizers of the convoy. RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki is also expected to testify.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford and former provincial Solicitor General Sylvia Jones also received citations to appear, but they are challenging it in court, arguing that it is essentially a federal case.

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