Photo by: Brenden Cowan
On Thursday, Nov. 3, Ottawa police confirmed that an investigation would be taking place in response to allegations that police officers had leaked information to Freedom Convoy organizers.
The Freedom Convoy protests, which took place at the beginning of 2022, were a result of Canada’s implementation of a mandate in which Canadian cross-border truckers were required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. What began as a reaction towards the new mandate soon transformed into large protests demonstrating participants’ frustration towards pandemic-related restrictions.
Despite the negative reactions which spurred from the protests, the restrictions implemented by Canada’s federal and provincial governments were originally enacted to keep the country safe and lower COVID-19 death rates.
The investigation confirmation follows Freedom Convoy lawyer Keith Wilson’s claim on Wednesday, Nov. 2 that the convoy often received leaks from sympathetic officers detailing police operations and plans.
“There was a steady stream of information and leaks coming from all of the different police forces and security agencies,” said Wilson in testimony relayed by CBC News.
Wilson’s testimony made waves at the public hearing of the Public Order Emergency Commission, a committee which has been meeting on and off for several months to assess the federal government’s decisions regarding summoning special emergency powers into protests. This caused the Ottawa Police Service to initiate an official internal investigation.
Despite Wilson’s claim that various sources from several police agencies outside of the Ottawa Police Service provided leaks for the convoy, investigations outside of Ottawa police are yet to be enacted.
Similar allegations of Freedom Convoy leaks have also been directed towards the Ontario Provincial Police, however, the provincial force’s commissioner stated that there were no current investigations underway.
When asked if Ottawa police were aware of any previous leaks prior to the testimony on Nov. 3, interim police chief Steve Bell stated that any additional internal investigations and discipline had already taken place.
To date, only one Ottawa police officer has faced formal prosecution for any involvement in the convoy, which resulted from the officer having donated money to the convoy. The officer has since pleaded guilty to the misconduct.
Despite Wilson’s allegations towards the leaks, there remains no official evidence suggesting police involvement in the convoy. Although investigations within the Ottawa Police Service are assumed to still be underway, there is yet to be any confirmation or denial of such claims.