During the Freedom Convoy demonstration in Ottawa, the public complained more than 400 times to local law enforcement about officers' conduct. The Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) screened out or consolidated most of the complaints.
According to a report by the Ottawa Police Services Board, the OIPRD received 866 public complaints in 2022, with 410 linked to the convoy protest that blocked Wellington Street and other roads near or in front of Parliament.
Convoy supporters entered Ottawa last January 28 and disembarked on February 14.
"The illegal protest is responsible for a sharp increase in the number of public complaints directed at the OPS received by the OIPRD in 2022," wrote staff.
Of the 410 complaints attributed to the protest, the OIPRD 'screened out or consolidated' 390 of them, according to the Ottawa Police Services Board.
"A review of the screen-outs of 199 illegal protest-related complaints was attributed to the complainants not being directly affected by the incident or interaction with police," wrote staff, adding the director consolidated 70 illegal protest-related complaints into two "based on similar themes."
A report is expected to be presented to the Ottawa Police Services Board at a later date.
According to the Public Order Emergency Commission (POEC) inquiry, the feds said the convoy impacted Ottawa residents by high levels of shouting, honking, and the fumes from the convoy trucks.
Ottawa kept Wellington Street closed to vehicles for 455 days after the 2022 Freedom Convoy. Their city council voted in April to reopen the road, with a potential deal in the works to negotiate its ownership to the federal government.
The feds offered to buy the portion of Wellington Street in front of Parliament Hill from Ottawa to keep it permanently closed to vehicles. Still, updates have yet to be provided on the status of those negotiations.
"The 2022 illegal protests in Ottawa exposed vulnerabilities associated with Wellington…[and] highlighted several long-standing security and policing gaps. These issues…will only increase as additional parliamentary functions occupy space south of Wellington," said Public Works and Procurement Minister Helena Jaczek.
A parliamentary committee last December claimed the street should remain closed.
The POEC deemed it 'appropriate' last November to invoke the Emergencies Act to bring about the convoy's end. Section 17(1) of the Act permitted Ottawa to exact "temporary special measures" when it believes a public order emergency exists on "reasonable grounds."
"The standard of reasonable grounds to believe does not require certainty," reads the report on the inquiry. "There was credible and compelling evidence supporting both a subjective and objectively reasonable belief in the existence of a public order emergency."
On February 14 — after the Ottawa convoy disbanded — law enforcement established 'exclusion zones,' seized their assets and froze bank accounts.
Records show Finance Minister Chrsytia Freeland distributed a restricted blacklist to foreign banks of 201 trucking companies sympathetic to the anti-COVID mandate demonstration. In an Inquiry of Ministry, tabled in the House of Commons, banks froze $7.8 million in assets from convoy supporters across 267 bank and credit union accounts and 170 Bitcoin wallets.
According to Blacklock's Reporter, Public Safety Canada falsified a security bulletin claiming the Freedom Convoy ransacked federal office buildings last year in Ottawa.
On June 5, the office of Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said they did not direct the Government Operations Centre to issue the 'fake' bulletin last January 28. The operations centre responsible did not respond to a request for comment.
"We have received confirmation that protesters have started to enter office buildings in the Ottawa downtown core and are allegedly causing damage," said the bulletin. "As a result, Minto Place is going into weekend lockdown mode [all entrance doors will be locked] effective immediately."
However, an access-to-information request proved that assertion is incorrect, as no such incident involving protesters occurred. The public safety department did not reveal the source of the 'disinformation.' Still, a senior public safety staffer admitted the feds "[played] fast and loose" with the Freedom Convoy.
Last February 25, Mendicino told MPs he advised reporters to "be very careful" in dealing with convoy participants. It ultimately furthered the government's 'disinformation' campaign against protestors.
The Canadian Parliamentary Press Gallery called the demonstration 'unsafe' in a February 1, 2022 letter. It provided no evidence to substantiate the claims, reported Blacklock's Reporter.
"Protesters of the truck convoy have harassed some of our members in the last few days, and we cannot afford to be left exposed without protection for hours outside the building," wrote Catherine Levesque of the National Post, then-Press Gallery president.
No Freedom Convoy participant ever faced charges for misconduct against reporters.