Ottawa Police relied on Rex Murphy column for its rosy assessment of Freedom Convoy
New evidence of police sympathies with right-wing “Freedom Convoy” protesters in Ottawa last winter continues to emerge. PeaceQuest readers will recall we have raised the largely under-reported links between police and extremists.
This week the Ottawa Citizen reported on the ineptitude of the Ottawa Police Service’s intelligence section that painted a heroic image of the awful convoy.
In fact, one of the main sources of information Ottawa Police relied upon in the days leading to the city’s frightening occupation was right-wing commentator Rex Murphy.
Disturbing documents revealed at Public Order Emergency Commission underway in Ottawa.
Reporter Andrew Duffy writes, “An Ottawa Police Service intelligence report, prepared days before truckers began to besiege the city, concluded the ‘Freedom Convoy’ represented a real grassroots protest, not one with the ‘same players, same chants.’
“The seven-page OPS intelligence assessment, dated Jan. 25, 2022, leans heavily on open-source information, including the published work of controversial National Post columnist Rex Murphy. It also relies on the world-weary experience of Sgt. Kiez, who offers opinions based on six years of producing intelligence reports about large demonstrations in Ottawa,” says Duffy.
“In his intelligence assessment, Kiez suggests the convoy is supported by the silent majority… ‘A real protest springs up with something close to spontaneity and with tremendous suddenness enlists hundreds of thousands, even millions,’ Kiez wrote. ‘The convoy appears to be this sort of protest.’
“’This event is….less of a professional protest with the usual sad players, but rather is a truly organic grassroots event that is gathering momentum largely from the widespread population,’ Kiez’s report said. He cited a Rex Murphy column to support a conclusion that the protest, ‘appears to be a powerful manifestation of deep discontent with how people feel they are being governed.’”
Duffy notes the report made no mention of the possibility that protestors could occupy downtown Ottawa for weeks, shut down businesses, impair the travel of emergency vehicles, or make life miserable for downtown residents. It did not interrogate the backgrounds of key protest organizers, nor did it include information from the city’s hotel association that showed protesters were booking hotels for one-month stays.
Ottawa defence lawyer Michael Spratt called the OPS intelligence assessment unprofessional, political, incomplete and disturbing. “It highlights their pettiness and their lack of rigour with respect to intelligence assessments,” said Spratt. “I think it breathes life into the very real concern the police were sympathetic to the protestors.”
Spratt said the document shows disdain for legitimate protest, while heralding the truckers’ convoy as spontaneous, grassroots and middle-class, adds Duffy.
- Read “OPS intelligence report on truckers’ protest criticized as ‘oddball,’ ‘unprofessional’ and ‘disturbing’” by Andrew Duffy, published on October 27 by Ottawa Citizen