More details of RCMP 'dirty tricks' revealed

There are new details of the RCMP's covert operation to set off a bomb in northwestern Alberta's oilpatch.

There are new details of the RCMP's covert operation to set off a bomb in northwestern Alberta's oilpatch.

Dubbed "Operation Kabriole", the RCMP's intention was to help an informant get closer to the two men police suspected were behind vandalism against the oil and gas industry.

Wiebo Ludwig and Richard Boonstra were arrested and charged earlier this month.

Their lawyer, who unveiled the undercover operation at their bail hearing, says he can't believe his clients are still in jail.

"Operation Kabriole" was planned and executed with the direct involvement of a Calgary based oil and gas business. Alberta Energy Company has a big operation in the Peace River country.

The RCMP's original plan was to blow up one of AEC's trucks. The company convinced the police to change the operation even though AEC had already given its approval, offered up a truck to be bombed and said it would pay for any major damages. Company officials were having second thoughts.

According to the RCMP's own files, the head of AEC's northern operations met with the police to say his bosses were concerned that bombing a vehicle would cause 'undue stress and fear' for employees driving company trucks.

So the company offered an alternative, a shed covering one of its "out of service" well sites not far from the suspects' property.

The bomb was set off Oct. 14, one week before AEC hosted two tense and emotional town hall meetings. Worried residents who turned out, were told by an expert, who was flown in by AEC, that they were the victims of 'eco-terrorists'.

Richard Secord is the lawyer who made the RCMP operation public knowledge. He's defending the two men who were the targets of the covert plan. "I am surprised," he said, " in light of the conduct of the RCMP and Alberta Energy Company in this matter, that my clients would have to remain in jail."

The top RCMP officer in Alberta, Don McDermott, says the investigation isn't over yet. He's not confirming or denying police behavior in this case. But McDermott defends the RCMP's actions in undercover operations like this one.

Federal RCMP critic, Peter MacKay isn't convinced. The Tory MP is a former Crown Prosecutor. "If, in fact, the RCMP engaged in this type of activity, regardless of their motives, and regardless of the public interest here, it would be potentially fatal to the Crown's case."

The RCMP's intention with this operation, was to build a strong case against Ludwig and Boonstra by establishing the credentials of an informant, who was trying to gain their confidence. The judge denied the two men bail Thursday, saying they are a danger to the public.