Ottawa’s interim police chief on Thursday confirmed his force was investigating allegations that officers leaked intelligence to organizers of last winter’s “Liberty Convoy” protest. .
Keith Wilson, an attorney for some of the organizers, alleged Wednesday that the convoy regularly receives leaks from sympathetic officers about the police’s operational plans.
He made the allegations while testifying at a public hearing by the Public Order Emergency Committee, the body tasked with evaluating the federal government’s decision to invoke powers. Special emergency during the week on the protests.
Interim Police Chief Steve Bell told a committee of MPs and senators that Wilson’s testimony contained “net new information” and the Ottawa Police Department began an internal investigation on Wednesday night. .
Bell said the police agency is planning to contact Wilson “to get more information so we can track that down.”
He is testifying at a congressional special committee that is pursuing its own investigation into the government’s use of the Emergencies Act. Both the commission’s investigation and the commission’s study are legally required under the checks and balances set forth in the statute.
At a committee hearing on Wednesday, Wilson described a “stable and leaky stream of information” coming from officers on active duty within Ottawa police, Ontario Provincial Police, the RCMP and other agencies. security.
“At all times, there is a high level of situational awareness of the police operational plan,” he said.
OPP responded to a request for feedback saying it could not comment but taking all allegations seriously. RCMP did not respond to a similar request.
When asked if the police agency was aware of any such leaks, Bell said that internal and disciplinary investigations into the officers’ conduct were underway, but most all of this involves convoy support donations.
“From the very early days of the convoy, that’s what we’ve been interested in,” he said. “At every turn, when we got the information to start an investigation, we did.”
When asked how senior officers were investigated or disciplined, Bell said he could not comment on the investigations and how they unfolded.
This report by the Canadian Press was first published on November 3, 2022.
– With a file from David Fraser.