Politics

Lucki says RCMP reviewing claims police leaked information to convoy protester

The head Mountie says the RCMP is looking into claims that officers may have leaked operational information to convoy protest organizers during last winter’s occupation of downtown Ottawa.

Convoy lawyer said information came from CSIS, RCMP, OPP and the Ottawa police

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki reads a document as she appears as a witness at the Public Order Emergency Commission on November 15, 2022 in Ottawa. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

The head Mountie says the RCMP is looking into claims that officers may have leaked operational information to convoy protest organizers during last winter's occupation of downtown Ottawa.

"There are ongoing reviews being done with that," Commissioner Brenda Lucki told reporters after her full day of testimony at the Emergencies Act inquiry Tuesday.

"But to date, there has been no codes of conduct ordered or no charges laid."

The allegation was made earlier this month by Keith Wilson, a lawyer who represents convoy organizers.

"There was a steady stream of of information and leaks coming from all of the different police forces and security agencies," Wilson told the Public Order Emergency Commission, which is investigating the federal government's decision to invoke emergency policing powers to end the convoy protests.

"There were numerous times where information would come into the operation centre from various police sources that a raid was imminent. And it happened many times."

WATCH | Convoy lawyer said self-styled Freedom Convoy knew police plans 'at all times'

Convoy lawyer said self-styled Freedom Convoy knew police plans ‘at all times’

3 months ago
Duration 1:55
Keith Wilson said protest organizers received ‘regular’ leaks detailing security operations from police officers, working on different forces, who were opposed to vaccine mandates.

Wilson told reporters outside the inquiry room that information was coming from the Ottawa Police Service (OPS), the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), the RCMP and even Canada's spy agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

"People would be careful to not reveal themselves, but they were very concerned about what they saw happening and and were very supportive of the effort to bring attention to the harms of the government lockdowns and mandates," he said.

The interim chief of the Ottawa Police Service called the claim "net-new information" and announced he'd opened an internal investigation.

After Wilson's comments, the RCMP wouldn't respond to CBC's request for comment, citing Lucki's then upcoming appearance before the commission.

But documents previously released to CBC through an access to information request show the RCMP feared that serving Mounties could be sympathetic to the protests against pandemic restrictions.

"The potential exists for serious insider threats," says a Feb. 10 advisory from the RCMP team looking into ideologically-motivated crimes.

"Those who have not lost their jobs but are sympathetic to the movement and their former colleagues may be in a position to share law enforcement or military information to the convoy protests."

The commission is reviewing the federal government's decision to invoke the Emergencies Act to clear the crowds and vehicles that gridlocked the capital for more than three weeks last winter. It is also looking into how police responded to the protests.

It will continue to hear from witnesses until Nov. 25.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Catharine Tunney is a reporter with CBC's Parliament Hill bureau, where she covers national security and the RCMP. She worked previously for CBC in Nova Scotia. You can reach her at catharine.tunney@cbc.ca

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