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Freedom Convoy: It all started with Ottawa Police response

As most Canadians watching TV last February could clearly see, the Freedom Convoy that tied up Ottawa for two weeks first came about because of inadequate response by Ottawa Police.

Mr. Justice Paul Rouleau

Mr. Justice Paul Rouleau, heading the Public Order Emergency Commission said he reluctantly concluded the Liberal government met the “very high threshold” for invoking the Emergencies Act amid the weeks-long “Freedom Convoy” protests last winter. But he added it was only because of a series of communications, intelligence and planning shortcomings had allowed the situation out of control.

He said it started with the Ottawa Police Service where a number of members of the senior command were new to their jobs. As a result, they failed to properly share intelligence reports that, if acted upon, might have forestalled the shutdown of Ottawa that ended up taking place. He noted that OPS commanders believed the convoy would only stay in the capital for one weekend, and on the basis of that assumption the decision was made to allow the trucks to get to Wellington Street in from of Parliament. Intelligence reports that contradicted the one-weekend assumption failed to reach top commanders even though more junior OPS officers were getting new information. The OPP also had intelligence suggesting the protestors were in for a lang haul but were reluctant to interfere with the OPS response plan.

Rouleau concluded that a series of policing failures and a “failure of federalism” led to protest that spun out of control and had a striking impact on Ottawa residents.

“It is regrettable that such a situation arose here, because in my view, it could have been avoided,” Rouleau wrote.

The document was arrived at after more than 300 hours of testimony and 9,000 documents submitted during seven weeks of hearing last fall.

The inquiry heard from more than 100 witnesses, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and several other cabinet members, senior bureaucrats, protest participants, police and City of Ottawa officials.

“Having reviewed that evidence carefully, it is apparent that there were signals missed, opportunities lost, and delays created that resulted in a situation in the nation’s capital that was far more serious and complex than it might have otherwise been,” he said.

Unlike some of the comments made by Prime Minister Trudeau about the protestors, Rouleau avoided a blanket condemnation, observing, “while it is important to recognize the presence of controversial and extreme elements at the protests, it should not detract from my findings that many and perhaps most of the protesters sought to engage in legitimate and lawful protests,”

1 Comment

  • You intentionally ignored the part where Rouleau explained that “A Failure of Federalism” meant a failure by Doug Ford to do his job.

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