Monday, July 15, 2024
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Blacklock’s eviction: why does it matter to you?

Publishing Blacklock’s own news article on the fact that Blacklock’s Reporter has been evicted from its office in Ottawa’s parliamentary press gallery seems almost too surreal to believe.

Blacklock’s Reporter – click here to read background on Blacklock’s

Some background on Blacklock’s

Blacklock’s Reporter is published online by Holly Doan and Managing Editor Tom Korski, life-long professional journalists who believe it’s important to have experienced adults paying attention to what politicians in Ottawa are doing.

Blacklock’s covers all of the most important things happening in Ottawa in a balanced, exhaustive, spin-free style that is virtually impossible to find anywhere else. They actually observe not just Parliament but also the Committee Meetings, where much of the less theatrical, more essential work of government is done.

Perhaps most important thing to know about Blacklock’s Reporter is that it does not accept any funds from the Government of Canada; this truly sets Blacklock’s and its detailed reporting apart from the propagandist spin now coming from mainstream outlets.

From Blacklock’s website:

“Blacklock’s Reporter covers news you won’t find anywhere else: bills and regulations; reports and committees; Federal Court and public accounts. We’re the only reporter-owned and operated newsroom in Ottawa that finds the facts needed by business, labour and associations.”

“Holly is an award-winning journalist who joined the gallery in 1993. She reported for CBC and CTV in four provinces, was CTV Beijing Bureau Chief in 1995-8, and produced political history documentaries for CPAC. Tom is a former radio man who covered politics for dailies in Winnipeg, Calgary and Edmonton. He was Beijing correspondent for the South China Morning Post of Hong Kong. Tom joined the Press gallery in 1993.”

Also from Blacklock’s site, “The Tom Blacklock Story:”

“Remembered for his newsroom credo – ‘That ain’t the way I heard it!’ – Thomas Hyland Blacklock was a pioneer publisher and war correspondent. Born in Halton County, Ont. in 1870, he became a frontier editor and first mayor of Weyburn, Sask. in 1903. Assigned to Parliament Hill by the Winnipeg Telegram in 1912 Tom remained a gallery man for life with columns published from Victoria to Halifax. As a WWI correspondent for the Montreal Gazette he was a passionate advocate of the troops, and became a confidante of Prime Minister Robert Borden. ‘I always held him in the warmest affection,’ Borden recalled. In peacetime Tom served as 1922 president of the Ottawa Press Gallery and co-founded the Canadiana news service. At his death in 1934, the entire Ottawa press corps mourned Tom as ‘a keen observer blessed with a sense of proportion.’”

As reported by Blacklock’s itself on December 5th, “Blacklock’s said the eviction, first of its kind in the history of the National Press Building, was a clear reprisal over its continued protests against media subsidies.”

“Eviction followed Gallery president Guillaume St-Pierre’s threat to ‘terminate’ Blacklock’s membership. The eviction letter stated Blacklock’s managing editor Tom Korski was ‘impolite,’ ‘disturbs the journalists around him’ and ‘streams parliamentary committee hearings on his computer.’”

This is a sad day, not just for parliamentary media in Canada but also for truth and professionalism in journalism everywhere. I don’t believe St-Pierre’s edict will stand, and I fully expect to hear that Blacklock’s is back where it belongs in its premise on the parliamentary precinct. I do think, however, that this is a new low in attempting to silence real, unsubsidized journalists by those taking funds to spin the government line. It should serve as an alarming alert to Canadians about the dogged comprehensiveness of the propagandist reality in which we are living. 

Road Warrior News supports Blacklock’s

Blacklock’s provides an incredibly important service to media members like Road Warrior News and Taxi News, which are located near Oshawa, not Ottawa, and which have neither the time nor attention span to slog through the thousands of hours of Parliamentary Committee meetings to which Blacklock’s attends.

Blacklock’s is not a free service: we pay $314.00 per year plus HST to subscribe. It’s probably the most expensive subscription in the budget, and it is worth every single penny. By 6 or 7am every day, we get email notices of the day’s newest articles, and on many occasions such notice from Blacklock’s is the first media – too often the ONLY media – to mention some very important goings-on in the nation’s capital.

To illustrate the depth of detail to which Blacklock’s goes in its exhaustive, conscientious coverage of a file, I typed the word “Convoy” into its search engine to pull up the stories it has written in the past calendar year on the Freedom Convoy file alone.

What other media outlet in Canada even came close to providing this amount of coverage and information? Canada needs Blacklock’s and its other independent, non-subsidized news outlets. Without them, we have only paid propaganda.

(Note: I did my best to put these snippets in reverse chronological order, going back to the first days of the Freedom Convoy last January. If you want to read whole articles, subscribe to Blacklock’s!)


Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Rated Convoy Cash Harmless

A federal anti-terror agency in an internal memo said it saw no evidence millions raised by the Freedom Convoy were intended to bankroll terrorism. “Seems unlikely,” wrote experts three weeks before cabinet froze accounts of convoy sympathizers under the Proceeds Of Crime And Terrorist Financing Act: “It wasn’t cash that funded terrorism.”

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Convoy ‘Magnet For Crazies’

Then-Alberta Premier Jason Kenney privately called the Freedom Convoy a “magnet for every crazy in the province.” His remarks came in a confidential teleconference with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other premiers on the Emergencies Act: “Folks at the core of this movement are not rational.”

MP Spread Kremlin Rumours

Green Party leader Elizabeth May privately circulated unsubstantiated media allegations of Kremlin involvement in the Freedom Convoy, records show. “Hair raising,” she wrote in a confidential email to cabinet: “We have to wake up and take on this cancerous growth in our democracy.”

Monday, November 28, 2022

Gov’t Claim Was “Too Cute”

The Department of Finance privately ridiculed its own inflated claims of economic hardship blamed on the Freedom Convoy, records show. Bloomberg News figures repeatedly cited by Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland were “too cute,” wrote the department’s director general of economic analysis: “Seems large to me?!”

Fear Future PMs Will Use Act

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s use of the Emergencies Act sets a precedent for future leaders in confronting divisive protests, civil rights advocates warned at the close of the Freedom Convoy inquiry. Trudeau defended his actions on the 43rd day of hearings: ‘This invocation of the Act will then open the floodgates to the Act being used again and again and again.’

Friday, November 25, 2022

Liked To Deploy The Military

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland in a confidential videoconference with bankers said she “couldn’t agree more” with a recommendation that cabinet deploy armed soldiers against the Freedom Convoy. “It is a threat to our democracy,” said Freeland: “All options are on the table.”

Friday, November 25, 2022

Bank Freeze Hard On Bankers

Cabinet’s “central concern” in freezing Freedom Convoy accounts was that angry depositors might yell at bankers, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said yesterday. Freeland elaborated on worries she raised at a secret February 19 cabinet meeting about bank employees’ well-being: “My central concern was, you know, that some poor teller not get yelled at.”

Friday, November 25, 2022

Act’s Author Warned Cabinet

Perrin Beatty, a former Conservative minister who wrote the Emergencies Act, privately warned cabinet “lots of long term issues” would follow its use of the law against the Freedom Convoy. “I am worried,” Beatty texted the finance minister: “I am particularly concerned about the radicalization of people who would normally be law-abiding.”

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Wouldn’t Turn Tanks On ‘Em

Defence Minister Anita Anand yesterday said she never considered deploying tanks against the Freedom Convoy. The remarks followed disclosure of a text exchange in which two cabinet ministers joked about “how many tanks” it would take to clear protesters off Parliament Hill: “We were not considering deploying tanks in any number.”

Thursday, November 24, 2022

‘I Felt Threatened’ — Lametti

Attorney General David Lametti yesterday said he was so frightened by the Freedom Convoy he left his downtown Ottawa condo and thought it unsafe to walk the streets. “It only takes one person to recognize me,” he said: “I felt personally threatened.”

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Allegations Came From Aides

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino relied on allegations from political aides in accusing the Freedom Convoy of hooliganism, records show. One claim by Mendicino that “families could not drop off their kids to daycare” reflected a personal complaint from his chief of staff: “I don’t even feel safe.”

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Goodale Saw U.S. Neo-Nazis

Former public safety minister Ralph Goodale in an email to cabinet said he suspected the Freedom Convoy was a U.S. neo-Nazi movement. The finding contradicted police memos denying protesters were violent extremists: “It may even have U.S. roots.”

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Blacklist Checked By Freeland

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s office secretly distributed a blacklist of 201 trucking companies that participated in the Freedom Convoy, records show. Staff included a blacklist of 45 firms that received the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy: “Please find attached an excel sheet detailing which companies whose trucks are participating in Ottawa convoy.”

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Claim Nazi Was Liberal Trick

A Freedom Convoy lawyer yesterday alleged Liberal Party operatives paraded Nazi and Confederate flags at last winter’s protest to discredit demonstrators. Libel counsel for one man named as a provocateur said their client was neither a Liberal nor in Ottawa at the time: “It was all over the news.”

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Claim Flag Man Was Publicist

A publicist and former Toronto Star manager yesterday was named as the masked provocateur seen hoisting a Nazi flag at the Freedom Convoy. The individual named denied it. The Prime Minister had pointed to the incident as proof protesters were violent extremists: “It was all over the news, the gentleman who was carrying the Nazi flag.”

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

9500 Emails, Cards & Letters

Thousands of Canadians have written and emailed Justice Paul Rouleau to discuss his Freedom Convoy inquiry. Tens of thousands more followed testimony online, the Public Order Emergency Commission said yesterday: “Public interest in the Commission’s work has been very high.”

Monday, November 21, 2022

Feds Discussed Seizing Funds

Cabinet discussed seizing funds held in Freedom Convoy sympathizers’ bank and credit union accounts, according to minutes of a secret meeting. Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino told cabinet that Emergencies Act powers “enabled the seizure of funds.”

Friday, November 18, 2022

Tweets Prompted Emergency

Jody Thomas, national security advisor to the Prime Minister, yesterday pointed to protesters’ tweets in justifying her claim the Freedom Convoy was a “threat to national interest.” Thomas was appointed as $306,000-a year security advisor last January 11 just two weeks before protesters arrived on Parliament Hill: “It is a threat to democracy.”

Friday, November 18, 2022

Unsure If They Are Terrorists

The Department of Finance had no opinion “one way or another” whether Freedom Convoy protesters were terrorists, Deputy Minister Michael Sabia testified yesterday. “I’m not going to give you a yes or no,” Sabia said under questioning on why cabinet used a 9/11 anti-terror law to freeze millions in accounts held by protest sympathizers: “Who takes responsibility for the fact these accounts were frozen, that people couldn’t pay their rent, that people couldn’t buy their groceries?”

Friday, November 18, 2022

Threats Targeted All Leaders

Protests in the 2021 federal campaign did not appear to be aligned with “any specific ideology” or hate group and saw threats against all major party leaders, say RCMP files. Demonstrations against vaccine mandates prompted Parliament to pass a bill threatening 10 years’ imprisonment for protesters at hospitals and clinics: “Threats against protected persons encompass a range of rhetoric including vague adverse comments.”

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Freeland Wanted Police Tabs On Account Holders: Records

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland told a secret cabinet meeting that Canadians with bank accounts frozen under the Emergencies Act should be denied their money unless they first reported to police. “Banks were pleased,” said confidential minutes.

Monday, November 14, 2022

Bought Tow Trucks On Kijiji

The Government of Alberta in 48 hours bought $826,000 worth of towing equipment at Kijiji and the Truck Trader to clear a border blockade, records show. Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino had claimed “no tow trucks were available” at the time, forcing the federal cabinet to invoke the Emergencies Act: “These were found by conducting online searches of websites like Kijiji and Truck Trader.”

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Skimpy OT But Food Was A-1

A truckers’ blockade in Windsor, Ont. was so relaxed local police complained they couldn’t earn enough overtime, records show. However “the food provided was top notch,” said a police department report submitted to the Freedom Convoy inquiry. Cabinet had pointed to the Windsor blockade as a contributing factor in its use of the Emergencies Act: “The food provided was top notch and officers were extremely grateful.”

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Say Cops Feared Street Brawl

A Unifor executive threatened to lead 1,000 autoworkers in a street brawl with Freedom Convoy protesters, the Public Order Emergency Commission heard yesterday. Dave Cassidy, president of Local 444 in Windsor, Ont., denied remarks attributed to him in second-hand police notes: “At no time did I threaten physical violence.”

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Indigenous Protests “Unique”

Police lawyers in a confidential January 28 memo cautioned Ottawa authorities to go easy on Freedom Convoy protesters in case they were Indigenous. “Any police response considers the uniqueness of Indigenous occupations,” wrote the legal department of the Ottawa Police Service: “Focus on the requirements for peacekeeping, communication, negotiation and building trust.”

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Saw “Right Wing Christians”

The Freedom Convoy was a “movement by right wing Christians” to gain converts, claimed internal reports by an Ottawa police consultant Advanced Symbolics Inc. Documents did not disclose how much police paid for surveillance of Christian imagery at the protests: “These are really important insights.”

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Feds Relied On News Release

A federal agency relied on a news release from a volunteer press group in assessing risks of violence at the Freedom Convoy, according to records. Evidence at a judicial inquiry and parliamentary hearings contradict claims the protest was armed and dangerous: ““I saw reports in the media.”

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Facebook Post Was No Crime

Facebook messages of support for the Freedom Convoy don’t justify a conviction for mischief, the Ontario Court of Justice has ruled. Canadian courts do not jail people because of their opinions, said an Ottawa judge: “He is not to be convicted because of his political views.”

Friday, November 4, 2022

Count Tire Irons As Weapons

The Ottawa Police Service last night said its claim the Freedom Convoy had weapons referred not to firearms but tire irons and work tools. Patricia Ferguson, acting deputy chief of police, acknowledged officers did not find any guns in convoy vehicles: “We don’t know if there really were guns.”

Friday, November 4, 2022

Raised $25M In Thirty Days

The Freedom Convoy was among the most successful private fundraisers in Canadian history raising nearly $25 million in a month, data show. Figures yesterday released by a judicial inquiry confirmed most contributions, 59 percent, were Canadian: “I believe they just wanted to support the cause.”

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Gov’t Worked Media Angle

Cabinet and political aides schemed on ways to perpetuate media coverage depicting Freedom Convoy members as “crazies,” the Public Order Emergency Commission was told yesterday. A lawyer for the truckers read out text messages in which Liberal aides contemplated a media campaign to depict protesters as violent, adding: “We need something to back this up.”

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Warns On Hateful Thoughts

Hate thought leads to hate crime, Senator David Arnot (Sask.), a former Saskatchewan human rights commissioner, said yesterday. Arnot’s remarks came amid testimony at the Senate human rights committee that claimed the Freedom Convoy was rooted in hatred of Muslims: “Hate thought, hate speech, begets hate crime. We know that.”

Monday, October 31, 2022

Emergency Planned For Days

Secret cabinet minutes disclose Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suggested using the Emergencies Act days before the extraordinary measure was invoked against the Freedom Convoy. Cabinet at the time publicly assured Canadians the Highway Traffic Act was sufficient to deal with protesters outside Parliament: “The Prime Minister set up the conversation.”

Monday, October 31, 2022

He Was Very Persistent: Cops

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino was “very persistent” in discussing the Freedom Convoy, according to RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki. The remark is detailed in minutes of a police meeting. Mendicino denied directing police operations: “My Minister very persistent.”

Friday, October 28, 2022

Memo Spread False Rumours

The Ottawa Police Service days before cabinet invoked the Emergencies Act distributed a memo falsely claiming foreign extremists bankrolled the Freedom Convoy. The memo by a U.K. think tank mentioned “Trump” five times and summarized Facebook insults against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: “Funding appears to be coming from a host of U.S. and international sources.”

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Inquiry’s Unaware Of Tweets

The Public Order Emergency Commission paid as an expert consultant an Ottawa pollster who described Freedom Convoy supporters as thugs and jihadists. Frank Graves, president of Ekos Research Associates Inc., said he regretted his tweets and deleted them: “The Commission was not aware of Mr. Graves’ tweets.”

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Could Jam Truckers’ Phones

Emergency powers could be used to jam Freedom Convoy cellphones, RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki wrote a cabinet aide. Lucki did not advocate use of the Emergencies Act but checked off numerous applications: “Cell phone disruption (but more work to be done).”

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Cabinet Didn’t Want A Deal

Senior officials including police and a deputy minister of public safety drafted a memo to end the Freedom Convoy with the stroke of a pen, in inquiry was told yesterday. A convoy lawyer said the proposal was before cabinet when it opted instead to invoke the Emergencies Act: “The deal would be: Leave the protest and denounce unlawful activity and you will be heard.”

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Victims Lobbied For Millions

Records at the Public Order Emergency Commission show Ottawa business groups lobbied cabinet for subsidies with inflated claims of damage from Freedom Convoy protests. A $20 million federal compensation fund later saw a third of the money unclaimed: “Daily I am getting stories of fear and desperation.”

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Truckers Only “Felt” Violent

The Freedom Convoy “felt” violent though it was not technically violent, interim Ottawa Police Chief Steve Bell yesterday testified at a judicial inquiry. Bell under cross-examination by the protesters’ lawyer acknowledged his repeated reference to the “violence” of the convoy was not meant literally: “So the violence they ‘felt,’ not actual violence, is that what you’re saying?”

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Evidence Of ‘Lawless Streets’

February 14 photographs by the mayor’s office showing quiet downtown Ottawa streets have been submitted in evidence at the Freedom Convoy inquiry. The photos were taken hours before cabinet invoked the Emergencies Act on claims that streets were “completely lawless.”

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Question CBC Disinformation

Lawyers are petitioning to have Catherine Tait, CEO of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, testify on inflammatory Freedom Convoy news coverage cited by cabinet as justification for invoking the Emergencies Act. “The biggest source of misinformation was the corporate press,” the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms said in a statement.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Contradicts Mendicino Story

A police commander testifying at the Freedom Convoy inquiry said emergency powers were never needed to tow vehicles outside Parliament. The sworn testimony directly contradicted claims by Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino: “Did the police in Ottawa end up needing the Emergencies Act to tow vehicles?” “No.”

Friday, October 21, 2022

Voted 6-5 Against Disclosure

A Liberal committee majority last night voted to conceal records detailing federal action against the Freedom Convoy. MPs and Liberal-appointed senators on the Special Joint Committee on the Declaration of Emergency voted 6 to 5 to block the release of uncensored documents: “We’re talking about a lot of documents.”

Thursday, October 20, 2022

He Slept Under Armed Guard

Commons Speaker Anthony Rota was so alarmed by the Freedom Convoy he had armed Parliament Hill police stand guard outside his Ottawa residence at night while he slept, records show. Rota’s office yesterday did not comment: “For security reasons detailed information about operational security is not shared publicly.”

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Claims Ottawa Ungovernable

The Freedom Convoy made Ottawa “virtually ungovernable,” Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said yesterday. Mendicino told reporters the protest had a significant and harmful impact on the government, a claim contradicted by internal memos from Mendicino’s own department: “We had to take the decision.”

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Call Them Nasty Republicans

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson in a private phone call with the Prime Minister called Freedom Convoy protesters nasty and un-Canadian, like “the Republican Party down south,” he said. Watson yesterday in testimony at a convoy inquiry denied politicizing the treatment of protesters: “Reminds me of the Republican Party down south. Can’t reason with them. So vulgar.”

Friday, October 14, 2022

Freeland Inflated Losses: Data

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland grossly inflated estimates of the Freedom Convoy impact on the economy, internal documents show. Freeland cited figures described in one Department of Transport memo as an “extreme case” that did not reflect actual data: “I have many figures in my head.”

Friday, October 14, 2022

A Genuine ‘Mass Movement’

The Freedom Convoy was the culmination of a “mass protest movement” against pandemic mandates and lockdowns, a convoy inquiry lawyer said yesterday. Counsel at the Public Order Emergency Commission counted more than 140 major demonstrations and legal challenges nationwide leading to the truckers’ blockade outside Parliament: “Just stick to the facts, the raw facts.”

Friday, October 14, 2022

Judge Promises Fair Dealing

Paul Rouleau, the Liberal-appointed judge heading the Freedom Convoy inquiry, yesterday promised Canadians a “fair and meaningful” investigation stripped of any partisanship. “Be prepared to work hard,” he told lawyers at the Public Order Emergency Commission: “The public has a right to know what happened.”

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Say Cabinet Must Show Proof

The onus is on cabinet to justify extraordinary police powers used against the Freedom Convoy, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association said yesterday. Civil rights lawyers are participating in a judicial inquiry that opens today at 9:30 am Eastern: “The burden is on them, not the other way around.”

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Russia Innuendo Was Offside

A CBC News claim that falsely suggested Russia was behind Freedom Convoy protests should have “been caught before broadcast,” says the network’s ombudsman. The claim by CBC announcer Nil Koksal was unattributed and made without evidence: “I am disappointed it took others to point out to CBC the question was ‘off.’”

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Fifth Of Cabinet Will Testify

A fifth of the federal cabinet will testify at the Freedom Convoy inquiry, investigators said yesterday. Eight of 39 cabinet members will be cross-examined under oath on why they invoked the Emergencies Act against protesters outside Parliament: “The issue is not whether it helped the police but whether the powers they already had could have resolved the problem.”

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Nazi Flag Overblown: Memo

The federal spy agency in a secret memo discounted cabinet claims the Freedom Convoy was infiltrated by Nazis. A lone swastika flag spotted outside Parliament was offensive but not representative of protesters who considered themselves “patriotic Canadians standing up for their democratic rights,” said the Canadian Security Intelligence Service: “Only a small, fringe element supports the use of violence or might be willing to engage in it.”

Monday, October 3, 2022

Police And Feds Given A Fail

Canadians in internal federal polling say they resent police treatment of the Freedom Convoy. Even opponents of the protest said freezing bank accounts would never have been necessary if cabinet had done its job: “It was felt use of the Act represented significant overreach by the federal government.”

Friday, September 30, 2022

Afraid Truckers Packed Guns

Parliament Hill police mistakenly feared Freedom Convoy truckers were armed and would try to break into federal buildings. Legislators last night questioned why MPs and senators were permitted to walk freely among protesters if the convoy was considered violent: “I don’t recall every seeing anything come out that would make me fearful.”

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Left Privacy To Fund Dealers

The RCMP yesterday confirmed it emailed a blacklist of Freedom Convoy sympathizers to lobbyists like the Mutual Fund Dealers Association for distribution to members. Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland had claimed the blacklisting was “really targeted.”

Monday, September 26, 2022

Blacklist Went Far And Wide

An RCMP blacklist of Freedom Convoy sympathizers was emailed to securities regulators nationwide to share with individual members. The Mounties would not comment on distribution of the email to potentially thousands of financial advisors: “Can you tell us what information was provided?”

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Lobbyists Got RCMP Blacklist

A police blacklist of bank account holders named as Freedom Convoy sympathizers was emailed to lobbyists, records disclose. The RCMP distributed names, birth dates, phone numbers and other personal information by unencrypted email, contradicting public claims by cabinet: “Haphazard would be an understatement.”

Friday, September 16, 2022

Offered Money Door To Door

A federal agency struggled to give away millions in subsidies to businesses it claimed suffered due to Freedom Convoy protests in downtown Ottawa. Access To Information records show organizers extended deadlines and went door to door pleading with business owners to apply for cheques: “Go door to door to boost awareness and increase applications.”

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Only 35% Approve Of Lucki

Only a third of Canadians surveyed, 35 percent, say they trust the RCMP’s national leadership, according to in-house research. The low approval rating for Commissioner Brenda Lucki follows a string of incidents that left a bare majority of Canadians, 51 percent, rating the Mounties as an honest police force: “They award lower marks when it comes to the calibre of its leadership.”

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Feared Another Rail Blockade

Attorney General David Lametti used emergency powers against the Freedom Convoy on fears protesters would block railways, according to Department of Justice records. Briefing notes did not explain why cabinet allowed 2020 First Nations blockades of railways without invoking the Emergencies Act: “The result of a railway blockade would be significant.”

Saturday, September 3, 2022

Review: Memories

Thursday, August 6, 1981 was a day to remember. At 11 am Eastern the Bank of Canada raised the prime rate to 21 percent. The country had a million unemployed for the first time since the Dustbowl. Farmers and small business owners had a hunted look. Mortgage and trust companies collapsed, 17 of them, and then the banks.

No one who survived the summer of ’81 ever forgot it. “Scarring,” the economists call it now. At a 2017 hearing of the Commons agriculture committee, members were chattily debating farm debt when an oldtimer, then-MP Bev Shipley (Lambton-Kent, Ont.), spoke up. “I remember the 1980s,” he said. The room froze.

Author Aaron Hughes’ 10 Days That Shaped Modern Canada omits that date to remember. Hughes acknowledges his work is necessarily subjective. Hughes’ favourite dates are neither mine nor yours. That is not the point.

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Feds Told They Went Too Far

Cabinet in confidential polling was told many Canadians supported the Freedom Convoy with a majority opposed to use of extraordinary police powers to end the protest, documents show. “Most felt this action represented significant over-reach,” pollsters told the Privy Council Office: “Participants were particularly unnerved by the reports of protesters and their supporters having their bank accounts frozen.”

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Feds Warn U.S. Was Watchful

The Canadian Embassy in Washington in internal emails disclosed it was under scrutiny by watchful U.S. officials over handling of vaccine mandates on truckers. Staff cited “inquiries from the White House” just days before the Freedom Convoy blockade: “Discussion came at the request of the U.S.”

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Must ‘Hold Feds To Account’

Freedom Convoy judicial inquiry hearings will open September 19, the same day the Commons returns from summer recess. The chief of the Public Order Emergency Commission yesterday said cabinet must be held to account for its claim a truckers’ protest outside Parliament represented a national emergency: “Hearings are vitally important.”

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Feds Couldn’t Spare Truckers

The labour department days before Freedom Convoy protests against vaccine mandates complained of “significant” labour shortages in a trucking industry that could not afford to lose drivers, according to records. A cabinet proposal that interprovincial truckers show proof of vaccination was dropped a week after the protest ended: “Science changes. Lots of things are changing.”

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Critic Only One To Lose Seat

A Bloc Québécois public safety critic who criticized cabinet’s use of emergency powers against the Freedom Convoy will be the only MP in Québec to lose her riding under federal redistricting. MP Kristina Michaud had ridiculed claims that “someone in a hot tub in the middle of Wellington Street” posed a threat to national security: “Seriously, what will it take for the government to realize?”

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Police Had Funding Blacklist

Police compiled a blacklist of names of crowdfunders linked to the Freedom Convoy, according to Access To Information records. A secret list of individuals and their credit ratings was sent to Farm Credit Canada, a Crown bank: “Follow the money.”

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Feds Review Bitcoin “Risks”

The Department of Finance yesterday launched a two-year review of the “risks to monetary sovereignty” from bitcoin. It follows the February 14 Emergencies Act freeze of some $7.8 million held in 170 bitcoin wallets and 267 bank accounts belonging to Freedom Convoy sympathizers: “Is it fair to say that you do not see this as a legitimate form of currency?”

Friday, July 15, 2022

Couldn’t Give Away Millions

Claims of economic damage from Freedom Convoy protests were so inflated cabinet couldn’t give away half the millions it budgeted to compensate businesses, records show. One compensation fund saw 82 percent of grant money go unclaimed: “Up to 1,900 businesses in Ottawa could potentially receive support.”

Friday, July 8, 2022

Never Asked For The Subsidy

The Freedom Convoy inquiry yesterday moved a step closer to public hearings with recommended taxpayer funding for participants’ legal fees and expenses. Lawyers for convoy organizers did not ask for a subsidy: “Applicants who requested funding provided varying degrees of detail in terms of the amounts they requested.”

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Don’t Do It Again, Warn MPs

The Freedom Convoy crackdown should not be a “template for dealing with the public,” says the Commons finance committee. Even MPs who supported action targeting political protesters said it must not happen again: “Refrain from using the precedent.”

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

‘I Have Figures In My Head’

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland last night called the Freedom Convoy a “core threat to the Canadian economy” but provided no figures to prove it. Members of a Special Joint Committee on the Declaration of Emergency challenged Freeland to justify cabinet’s use of the Emergencies Act against truckers: “I have many figures in my head.”

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Got Facts “By Watching TV”

Deputy Justice Minister François Daigle last night said he supported use of emergency powers against the Freedom Convoy after watching TV news coverage of the truckers’ blockade. Members of the Special Joint Committee on the Declaration of Emergency expressed unease with Daigle’s testimony: “I saw by watching TV.”

Friday, June 3, 2022

More Police Contradict Feds

A third law enforcement executive, former Ottawa police chief Peter Sloly, yesterday denied advising cabinet to use emergency powers against the Freedom Convoy. Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino claimed February 28, “We had to invoke the Emergencies Act and we did so on the basis of non-partisan professional advice from law enforcement.”

Friday, June 3, 2022

Bill Bans Gov’t Vax Mandate

Federal Covid vaccine mandates would be unlawful under a private bill tabled yesterday in the Commons. “These mandates have been nothing more than a cruel attempt to demonize a small minority and they are absolutely unnecessary and without any scientific basis,” said Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre (Carleton, Ont.), sponsor of the bill: “End this discrimination.”

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Hard To Quantify The Harm

There was “no one act that you could point to” that made the Freedom Convoy blockade harmful, a New Democrat councillor yesterday testified at the House affairs committee. Ottawa Councillor Catherine McKenney said the “pure chaos” of the protest was a cumulative impression: “I’ll be clear here, I’ve never suggested it was the trucker from Saskatchewan or Canmore or anywhere.”

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Lament Anti-Media ‘Trolling’

A federally-subsidized report yesterday complained media are subject to “online abuse” from Canadian social media users and Freedom Convoy sympathizers. Authors stopped short of endorsing federal censorship of Twitter and Facebook: “We are holding this event here on Parliament Hill, a place where so many journalists have been exposed to trauma and harassment.”

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Never Sought Nt’l Emergency

Ottawa Interim Police Chief Steve Bell yesterday disclosed he never asked cabinet to invoke the Emergencies Act against a truckers’ blockade. Cabinet repeatedly claimed it was “acting on the advice of law enforcement” when it proclaimed a national emergency over the Freedom Convoy: “Which police agency asked for the Emergencies Act?”

Friday, May 13, 2022

Call For Curbs On Protesters

New Democrat and Liberal MPs yesterday questioned if federal measures are needed to curb political protests. The proposals followed a Tuesday incident in which NDP leader Jagmeet Singh was jeered by profane hecklers: “How much longer do we have to wait before we actually treat this seriously and put in place the tools to prevent this?”

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Minister’s Story Contradicted

Police never asked cabinet to invoke the Emergencies Act, the RCMP said last night. The Mounties contradicted repeated claims by Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino that cabinet was “acting on the advice of law enforcement” in taking emergency measures against the Freedom Convoy: “We’re not in the position to provide influence on the government.”

Monday, May 9, 2022

Alberta Joins Legal Challenge

Alberta is the first province to intervene in a Federal Court challenge of cabinet’s use of the Emergencies Act. Only three provinces supported cabinet’s declaration of a national emergency against the Freedom Convoy: “No government should have the power to seize a person’s property or withhold access to their assets without due process of the law.”

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Overheard House Vulgarity

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau yesterday declined comment after MPs accused him of shouting a vulgarity at a female MP. “What is the nature of your thoughts, gentlemen, when you say you move your lips in a particular way?” Trudeau told reporters.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Bank Freeze Wasn’t Verified

The Department of Finance last night disclosed it never verified whether all account freezes under a Freedom Convoy order were justified. The department relied on banks to act in good faith, it said: “You are certain of that? Why are you certain of that?”

Friday, April 29, 2022

“Yes The Evidence Exists…”

Cabinet has evidence justifying emergency powers against the Freedom Convoy, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said yesterday. His remarks came as another allegation of unruly misconduct by truckers, the desecration of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, was disproven: “Canadians are increasingly wondering whether the Liberal government even had the evidence at all.”

Thursday, April 28, 2022

MPs Open Swastika Hearings

The Commons heritage committee yesterday opened hearings on whether to ban hate symbols in Canada. Liberal MPs proposed hearings in response to the Freedom Convoy but deleted a specific reference to “the swastika and the Confederate flag” after one Conservative suggested the ban also apply to blackface: “This cannot continue.”

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Gov’t Relied On CBC Stories

Cabinet relied on CBC stories for justification in using emergency powers against the Freedom Convoy, Attorney General David Lametti testified last night at parliamentary hearings. Lametti said he invoked the Emergencies Act after CBC News falsely reported foreigners bankrolled the protest: “There were reports. CBC reported.”

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Lib Appointee Heads Inquiry

Paul Rouleau, a Liberal-appointed federal judge, yesterday was named by cabinet to lead an inquiry into the use of emergency powers against Freedom Convoy protesters. Rouleau was previously partner in a Montréal law firm whose associates included Pierre Trudeau: “Will he have full access to cabinet documents?”

Book Review: A Look Of Failure

The latest work by Peter MacKinnon, president emeritus of the University of Saskatchewan, went to press just before the Freedom Convoy hit town. I suspect he disapproved of the truckers’ aims and methods. Yet Canada In Question is so timely MacKinnon could have been taking notes from the cab of a Freightliner double parked outside the CBC building.

Some 15,000 Freedom Convoy demonstrators and many more cash donors set out to let off steam. This could only mean water was boiling somewhere. Cabinet then clamped a lid on the boiling pot, succeeding only in making a bomb.

Why were Canadians at the boiling point in the first place? Ask MacKinnon. He knows. “Canadians are losing confidence in their democratic institutions,” writes MacKinnon. He calls it ominous. “Reform efforts either have fallen short or have come to naught,” he says.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Placed Quiet Call To Mayor

Ottawa’s mayor spoke privately with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau before attempting to block cash donations to the Freedom Convoy, records show. Cabinet aides were “in regular contact” with city officials in the same period Mayor Jim Watson falsely accused protesters of arson: ‘It clearly demonstrates the malicious intent of these protesters.’

Monday, April 18, 2022

Read Your Charter, Feds Told

Cabinet should read the Charter Of Rights And Freedoms, a constitutional scholar told an Ottawa conference marking the 40th anniversary of the Charter’s proclamation. Commenting on cabinet’s use of emergency police powers against the Freedom Convoy, Professor John Packer said the “very notion of freedom is something that clearly not enough Canadians understand, neither in our government nor in the public square.”

Monday, April 18, 2022

Crisis Fund Under Subscribed

A federal relief program for Ottawa businesses claiming hardship from the Freedom Convoy is under subscribed, figures show. Claims for “crisis” grants are 37 percent lower than expected though applications have been open for a month: “From my vantage point they were very significant.”

Monday, April 18, 2022

Award $7K For Score Settling

A Montréal-area lawyer removed from a voluntary municipal post over political score-settling has won $7,000 in damages. Community volunteers are vital to democracy, ruled the Québec Human Rights Tribunal: “The strength of a community depends on the active participation of its members.”

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Groups Fear Partisan Inquiry

Fifteen civil liberties groups yesterday petitioned cabinet for an open and independent inquiry into the Prime Minister’s use of emergency police powers against the Freedom Convoy.  “It should not be marred by partisan fights,” petitioners wrote: “We are concerned about the use of state and police powers to suppress constitutional rights.”

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Offer Blacklist Compensation

Cabinet may compensate anyone who unfairly suffered financial loss as a result of a bank account freeze on Freedom Convoy sympathizers. Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said the department did not know of any account holders blacklisted by mistake but would review compensation claims: “The government is not aware of anyone who suffered losses due to accounts being wrongly frozen.”

Thursday, April 7, 2022

No Evidence Of Claim: Police

The Ottawa Police Service yesterday confirmed a second person arrested in the attempted arson of a local apartment building had nothing to do with the Freedom Convoy. Public office holders falsely blamed truck drivers for the incident: “People would be burned alive.”

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

‘Typical White Roughnecks’

A federal agency yesterday declined comment on a project manager who publicly boasted of joining counter protests against the Freedom Convoy and called truckers anti-Trudeau roughnecks. Federal guides state employees must be politically neutral: ‘As a sturdily built white male I could blend in.’

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Questions Cabinet Emergency

The retired cabinet minister who wrote the Emergencies Act last night urged Parliament to examine carefully whether extraordinary powers were needed against the Freedom Convoy. Perrin Beatty, 71, wrote the law 34 years ago and never expected it to be invoked in his lifetime, he said: “Ask how we got to this point.”

Friday, March 25, 2022

Public Won’t Abide Cover-Up

A parliamentary review of cabinet actions against the Freedom Convoy must not delve into cover-ups or concealment of evidence, legislators were told last night. New Democrat MP Matthew Green (Hamilton Centre, Ont.), who supported use of the Emergencies Act against protesters, said the review must be wide-ranging and above board: “The cynicism, the lack of trust, the erosion of faith in our democratic institutions is still very much a topic at hand.”

Friday, March 18, 2022

Account Freeze Led To Panic

Panicked credit union depositors withdrew millions after cabinet ordered a freeze on accounts of Freedom Convoy sympathizers, executives yesterday disclosed. “Many Canadians felt surprised the government had that authority,” said Martha Durdin, CEO of the Canadian Credit Union Association: “There was some degree of panic.”

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Fed Compensation For Banks

Banks are eligible for taxpayers’ subsidies under a Freedom Convoy compensation fund for small business. The Commons finance committee has complained of poorly-designed aid programs that benefit publicly-traded corporations: “There were wide ranging consequences of this demonstration.”

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Warn MPs On Consequences

Cabinet use of the Emergencies Act against truckers sets a bad precedent “far and wide,” the Assembly of First Nations yesterday told the Commons finance committee. National Chief RoseAnne Archibald said she was given advance warning cabinet would designate the Freedom Convoy an illegal assembly: “I was concerned about the long term implications of this.”

Thursday, March 10, 2022

MPs Drop Tomb Jumper Case

MPs have quietly dropped a committee investigation into a mystery woman who jumped on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier during Freedom Convoy protests. Cabinet blamed convoy truckers for the incident though the woman was never identified nor arrested and Ottawa police would not testify: “We describe this as a unique demonstration.”

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Gov’t Grateful For Coverage

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez is promising more media subsidies after thanking reporters for their Freedom Convoy coverage. “Look at the role that the journalists played,” said Rodriguez: “I think there are even more things we should be able to do.”

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

CBC-TV Guarded Reporters

CBC-TV assigned a security guard to protect every single reporter assigned to cover the Freedom Convoy, a journalism seminar was told last night. Media recounted the extraordinary security measures at a Carleton University “Journalism Under Siege” seminar: “This was a real threat.”

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Flag Frozen Accounts For Life

Freedom Convoy sympathizers whose accounts were frozen by cabinet order will have their files marked for life, the Canadian Bankers Association said yesterday. Bankers also disclosed they froze accounts of individuals who never appeared on an RCMP blacklist of 257 names: “If in fact they illegitimately froze a bank account they would face zero legal consequences.”

Monday, March 7, 2022

Truckers Prompt Rights Bill

Cabinet’s use of the Emergencies Act has prompted a private bill to prohibit political discrimination in federal law. Most provincial human rights codes already ban discrimination over politics: “The justice minister explicitly demonstrated political views were a factor in considering whose bank accounts should be frozen.”

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Cabinet Shelves Vax Proposal

Cabinet is shelving a proposal to force interprovincial truckers to show proof of vaccination. It follows the 24-day Freedom Convoy blockade of Parliament by drivers opposed to a vaccine mandate at the Canada-U.S. border: “Science changes. Lots of things are changing.”

Monday, February 28, 2022

Claims Truckers Were Rapists

Freedom Convoy truckers were rapists, claims Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino. Testifying at the Commons public safety committee, Mendicino said “threats of rape” by political protesters justified use of the Emergencies Act: “Will  you undertake to provide this committee with proof of the allegation?”

Monday, February 28, 2022

Told Reporters To Be Careful

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino says he personally contacted reporters and “urged them to be very careful” in dealing with the Freedom Convoy. MPs who voted to invoke the Emergencies Act repeatedly praised coverage of the political protests against vaccine mandates: “As for journalists, trust me, I reached out to some of them.”

Friday, February 25, 2022

Cash Still Frozen, Senate Told

Banks that froze millions held in accounts belonging to suspected Freedom Convoy sympathizers have not yet released all funds, cabinet’s representative in the Senate said yesterday. The Emergencies Act order that allowed blacklisting was suspended Wednesday: “Customers have no access to due process.”

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Blacklist Was OK At Fed Bank

A federal bank, Farm Credit Canada of Regina, began blacklisting customers suspected of sympathizing with the Freedom Convoy. Critics of Emergencies Act orders targeting bank account holders yesterday called the measure punitive and unlawful: “Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure.”

Thursday, February 24, 2022

No Time To Rewrite Speeches

Cabinet’s abrupt suspension of Emergencies Act orders yesterday came so suddenly Liberal appointees in the Senate were continuing to warn of anarchist plots to topple Parliament even as the threat was downgraded to an ordinary police matter. “We need the full power of the state,” said Senator Bev Busson (B.C.), a former RCMP Commissioner: “It is a national crisis. I am at a loss to understand how we can play politics with our democracy.”

Thursday, February 24, 2022

See Blueprint For Future Acts

First-ever use of the Emergencies Act to quash the Freedom Convoy movement will set a federal precedent for years to come, legislators warned yesterday. Liberal and Conservative-appointed senators called it government overreach: “The country is deeply divided like I have never seen it.”

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

$8M Frozen Under Fed Order

Banks have frozen nearly $8 million in accounts held by Freedom Convoy truckers, the Department of Finance disclosed yesterday. Authorities confirmed even small donations to the convoy, as little as $20, could trigger retribution if cash was contributed after cabinet declared the Freedom Convoy an illegal assembly on February 15: “It could be a savings account, a chequing account, a mortgage.”

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Fear Dissent To Cost Dollars

MPs on the Commons finance committee yesterday said they feared cabinet normalized financial retribution against political protesters. An Emergencies Act order allows banks to freeze personal and corporate accounts of Freedom Convoy protesters without a court order or advance notice to account holders: ‘It is like a no-fly list where someone is now asterisked for the rest of their life.’

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Evidence Of Sedition Is Secret

Cabinet has confidential information justifying extraordinary police powers against Freedom Convoy truckers, the Senate was told yesterday. Skeptical senators questioned why records could not be shown to legislators: “The short answer is no.”

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Says Workers Miss Good Life

Freedom Convoy protests typify the despair of industrial workers “left out of the good life,” Senator Marc Gold (Que.), Government Representative in the Senate, said yesterday. One colleague questioned whether Gold spoke with any truckers: “Everyone had an opinion about them but certainly no one was talking to them.”

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

MPs Declare Nt’l Emergency

The Commons last night by a 185 to 151 vote upheld cabinet’s declaration of a national emergency curbing Freedom Convoy protests against vaccine mandates. The landmark vote, first of its kind, followed 36 hours of debate that saw a minority of MPs including Liberals express unease with use of the Emergencies Act: “This is a slippery slope.”

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Protesters Sue For Gov’t Files

A band of Freedom Convoy protesters is in Federal Court demanding cabinet disclose documents justifying Emergencies Act police powers. The crackdown including the freezing of trucking companies’ bank accounts was politically motivated, lawyers wrote the Court: “There is no national emergency.”

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Cabinet Defends Bank Freeze

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland yesterday justified a bank freeze against Freedom Convoy protesters as narrow and focused. However one Liberal-appointed senator, a former banker, complained the freeze left protesters without legal fees to defend themselves against police charges: “There seems to be a significant lack of clarity on the parameters used by authorities to come up with this blacklist.”

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

‘Step Outside And Say That’

Conservative MP Ben Lobb (Huron-Bruce, Ont.) yesterday challenged a parliamentary secretary to step outside after Liberals circulated a purported list of opposition legislators they claimed had funded the Freedom Convoy. Lobb said the claim was false and threatened libel action: “There will be many lawyers calling.”

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Feds Pay For Praise In States

The Canadian Embassy in Washington is paying thousands to consultants to influence U.S. “thought leaders” on social media, according to records. The initiative coincided with American media criticism of a cabinet order invoking the Emergencies Act against truckers opposed to vaccine mandates: “Mr. Trudeau criminalized a protest movement.”

Monday, February 21, 2022

MPs Investigate Bank Freeze

The Commons finance committee will investigate cabinet’s freeze on millions held in bank accounts of Freedom Convoy protesters. MPs said they feared far-reaching impacts of the emergency order: “What is going to happen to the security of our monetary system with the government haphazardly forcing banks to actually freeze the accounts of people?”

Monday, February 21, 2022

Say Lametti Breached Charter

Attorney General David Lametti’s Emergencies Act order to freeze bank accounts of political protesters “cannot be justified in a free and democratic society,” the Canadian Civil Liberties Association has told a federal judge. The legal challenge was filed as MPs cited remarks by Lametti that conservatives “ought to be worried.”

Monday, February 21, 2022

Fed Cabinet Lectured Cubans

Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly’s department is unapologetic after denouncing Cuba for failing to embrace “the right to peaceful assembly free from intimidation.” The Twitter message was posted as police arrested 191 truckers in Ottawa, and an ex-Canadian diplomat in Cuba accused the Freedom Convoy of sedition: “Canadians need to think about what we want our beloved maple leaf and our country to stand for.”

Monday, February 21, 2022

House Flooded With Emails

MPs have been flooded with thousands of protest emails in the lead-up to this evening’s vote on the Emergencies Act. “Just today we received 1,300 emails and 600 the day before,” said Liberal MP John McKay (Scarborough-Guildwood, Ont.), chair of the Commons defence committee: “When the conversation starts with, ‘I have never voted for you and I never will,’ we know we are off to a bad start.”

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Poem: “Mission Impossible”

Poet Shai Ben-Shalom, an Israeli-born biologist, writes for Blacklock’s each and every Sunday: “The movie starts shortly after takeoff. By the time we cross the Caribbean Sea, Tom Cruise changes identity, intercepts an armoured convoy in Paris…”

Friday, February 18, 2022

Civil Groups Defend Truckers

Civil liberties groups yesterday launched legal and letter-writing campaigns against an Emergencies Act crackdown on truckers protesting outside Parliament. The Freedom Convoy blockade was admittedly disruptive but nothing close to a national emergency, lawyers said: “It is wrong. It is unconstitutional. It is undemocratic.”

Friday, February 18, 2022

Accounts Frozen, More Soon

Cabinet has approved the freezing of an undisclosed number of bank accounts belonging to Freedom Convoy truckers, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said yesterday. “Accounts have been frozen and more accounts will be frozen,” Freeland told reporters: “Consequences are real and they will bite.”

Thursday, February 17, 2022

MPs To Weigh Police Powers

Cabinet last evening at 6:29 pm Eastern tabled a Commons motion seeking “confirmation of a declaration of emergency” over the Freedom Convoy truckers blockade now in its 21st day outside Parliament. MPs today will open debate on the motion to grant police extraordinary powers to punish truckers protesting vaccine mandates: “Do you think you need to use force to get rid of the protesters?”

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Singh Heckled: ‘Think Again’

New Democrat leader Jagmeet Singh yesterday said his 25-member caucus will cast votes needed by cabinet to force an end to a Freedom Convoy blockade outside Parliament. Bloc Québécois MPs heckled Singh to “think carefully” before voting for the Emergencies Act: “Are you concerned the powers being used against the protesters from the convoy could one day be used against protesters on the left?”

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Claim ‘Very Small Group’ Of Truckers Plot To Seize Power

Police may break up any public gathering deemed an “illegal assembly” under an Emergencies Act order signed by cabinet. Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino yesterday said extraordinary measures were needed to contain a “very small organized group” of Freedom Convoy truckers he claimed wanted to topple the federal government: “People who live in Ottawa do not feel safe right now.”

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Guard The Press At Gunpoint

Commons Speaker Anthony Rota offered reporters armed guards at taxpayers’ expense after the Parliamentary Press Gallery complained it was troubled by Freedom Convoy truck drivers. Parliament Hill guards armed with federal-issue handguns were available to keep reporters safe, said Rota: “I have followed up with the Sergeant-at-Arms.”

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Say Cenotaph Draws Vandals

The National War Memorial has attracted numerous vandals in the past five years, the Commons veterans affairs committee was told last night. A police investigation remains underway for a mystery woman in a parka who jumped on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier: “It’s very emotional to see.”

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Claim Threat To Nt’l Security

Cabinet yesterday claimed Freedom Convoy truckers opposed to vaccine mandates pose a threat to national security. Demonstrators in the 19th day of a protest outside Parliament were threatened with jail and seizure of cash and vehicles: “What we are facing today is a threat to our democratic institutions.”

Claim Threat To Nt’l Security

Cabinet yesterday claimed Freedom Convoy truckers opposed to vaccine mandates pose a threat to national security. Demonstrators in the 19th day of a protest outside Parliament were threatened with jail and seizure of cash and vehicles: “What we are facing today is a threat to our democratic institutions.”

Monday, February 14, 2022

Feds To Rewrite Border Rules

Cabinet will change Covid rules for cross-border travelers this week. The Department of Health would not say if the decision was prompted by the Freedom Convoy truckers’ protest now in its 18th day outside Parliament: “The situation changes.”

Monday, February 14, 2022

Kind Senator Cursed Protest

Now-retired Senator James Munson (Ont.) tomorrow is to lead national observance of “Kindness Week” after calling Freedom Convoy truckers racists and hostage takers. Munson, a former Liberal press aide, sponsored An Act Respecting Kindness Week to “encourage values such as empathy.”

Friday, February 11, 2022

Likens Truckers To Terrorists

The Commons public safety committee yesterday voted 11-0 to investigate crowdfunding for “ideologically-motivated violent extremism in Canada.” The vote came as one MP compared Freedom Convoy truckers to terrorists: “I think any casual observer looking at Ottawa right now could probably make a link.”

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Plan Would Ban Hill Traffic

Vehicle traffic should be banned within two blocks of Parliament Hill, a former Ottawa police chief said yesterday. Senator Vern White said cabinet should ensure the Freedom Convoy blockade now in its 14th day is the last street encampment of its kind: “The city and federal governments can make these changes quickly.”

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Gov’t Went Too Far, Says MP

Cabinet’s vaccination campaign is needlessly divisive and political, the ex-chair of the Québec Liberal caucus yesterday told reporters. “Where the hell are we heading here in Canada?” said MP Joël Lightbound (Louis-Hébert, Que.): “A decision was made to wedge, to divide and to stigmatize. I fear this politicization of the pandemic.”

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Not Our Jurisdiction Say Feds

Cabinet has no role in forcing an end to growing Freedom Convoy blockades, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said yesterday. Seventy trade groups petitioned cabinet to force an end to border blockades at Windsor and Coutts, Alta.: “I hope the blockaders or occupiers or protesters stop their protesting.”

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

PM Says Protest ‘Has To Stop’

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last night said the Freedom Convoy movement “has to stop.” Trudeau spoke in the Commons for the first time since dismissing truckers opposed to vaccine mandates as tin foil hats: “They don’t have the right to insult those who choose to wear a mask, to get vaccinated.”

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Plan Would Ban Hill Traffic

Vehicle traffic should be banned within two blocks of Parliament Hill, a former Ottawa police chief said yesterday. Senator Vern White said cabinet should ensure the Freedom Convoy blockade now in its 14th day is the last street encampment of its kind: “The city and federal governments can make these changes quickly.”

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Gov’t Went Too Far, Says MP

Cabinet’s vaccination campaign is needlessly divisive and political, the ex-chair of the Québec Liberal caucus yesterday told reporters. “Where the hell are we heading here in Canada?” said MP Joël Lightbound (Louis-Hébert, Que.): “A decision was made to wedge, to divide and to stigmatize. I fear this politicization of the pandemic.”

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Not Our Jurisdiction Say Feds

Cabinet has no role in forcing an end to growing Freedom Convoy blockades, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said yesterday. Seventy trade groups petitioned cabinet to force an end to border blockades at Windsor and Coutts, Alta.: “I hope the blockaders or occupiers or protesters stop their protesting.”

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

PM Says Protest ‘Has To Stop’

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last night said the Freedom Convoy movement “has to stop.” Trudeau spoke in the Commons for the first time since dismissing truckers opposed to vaccine mandates as tin foil hats: “They don’t have the right to insult those who choose to wear a mask, to get vaccinated.”

Friday, February 4, 2022

Data Contradict Crime Claim

The Freedom Convoy blockade at Parliament yesterday completed its sixth day amid MPs’ claims lawless truckers were attacking passersby on the streets of Ottawa. Preliminary data show police-reported street crime actually fell since the blockade began: “There have been no riots, injuries or deaths.”

Friday, February 4, 2022

CBC Corrects Kremlin Story

The CBC yesterday clarified its claim the Kremlin was behind a Freedom Convoy truckers’ protest at Parliament Hill. The assertion was not factual, the Crown broadcaster said: “There is concern that Russian actors could be continuing to fuel things as this protest grows, or perhaps even instigating it.”

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Gov’t Seeks Protest Hearings

Liberal MPs propose a Commons committee investigation of Freedom Convoy protests at Parliament Hill. One MP served notice of “an urgent study” of demonstrators described as “shocking” and “disgusting.”

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Feds Suspend 1,084 Workers

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra’s department has suspended dozens of employees without pay for declining to disclose their vaccination status. The transport workers are among more than a thousand federal employees denied pay or benefits under a vaccine mandate: “Follow the science.”

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Killed Vax Tax Amid Protests

Québec Premier François Legault yesterday dropped plans to introduce the nation’s first pandemic tax amid ongoing truckers’ protests against vaccine mandates. The concession came as Freedom Convoy blockaders planned a demonstration at the Québec legislature: “They want to be heard.”

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Feds Falsely Accuse Truckers

The Canada Revenue Agency falsely accused Freedom Convoy protesters of ransacking office buildings. The Agency yesterday would not comment after spreading fake news that angry truck drivers had run amok in downtown Ottawa. The report was among several that falsely claimed protests had turned violent: “The biggest challenges facing our future will be the restoration of public confidence in institutions such as the media and government.”

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

PM To Truckers: Go Home

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau yesterday said Freedom Convoy protesters must go home after days of demonstrations at Parliament Hill. Trudeau made the comment after describing truckers as “tin foil hats” deserving of public disgust: “What is needed is for people to go home.”

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Feds Falsely Accuse Truckers

The Canada Revenue Agency falsely accused Freedom Convoy protesters of ransacking office buildings. The Agency yesterday would not comment after spreading fake news that angry truck drivers had run amok in downtown Ottawa. The report was among several that falsely claimed protests had turned violent: “The biggest challenges facing our future will be the restoration of public confidence in institutions such as the media and government.”

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

PM To Truckers: Go Home

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau yesterday said Freedom Convoy protesters must go home after days of demonstrations at Parliament Hill. Trudeau made the comment after describing truckers as “tin foil hats” deserving of public disgust: “What is needed is for people to go home.”

Monday, January 31, 2022

Minister Keeps His Distance

The Freedom Convoy truck drivers’ protest rally today prompted Transport Minister Omar Alghabra to abruptly cancel a scheduled personal appearance on Parliament Hill. It followed attendance at the rally of one speaker who’d called Alghabra a terrorist: “The hysteria gripping our society is reaching new heights.”

Friday, January 28, 2022

Say Media Vilified Protesters

MPs yesterday accused media of vilifying protesters attending a Freedom Convoy truckers’ rally on Parliament Hill. Reporters at a press briefing described various demonstrators as bigots: “Establishment media have been looking for controversies with some of these truckers.”

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Calls PM Remarks Saddening

Protesters in a cross-country Freedom Convoy to Ottawa are a “small fringe minority” with opinions most Canadians oppose, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said yesterday. Organizers of the truckers’ rally called the remarks sad: “It’s the political class that has abandoned us all.”