RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki makes her way to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, in Ottawa, Monday, Oct. 31, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

RCMP caught off guard by Ottawa mayor’s request for officers during ‘Freedom Convoy’

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki says the Ottawa mayor’s request for 1,800 police reinforcements during the “Freedom Convoy” protest in February caught the Mounties off guard.

Lucki is testifying at the public inquiry into the federal government’s use of the Emergencies Act last winter, which was invoked after nearly three weeks of protests against COVID-19 restrictions that had gridlocked downtown Ottawa and inspired border blockades elsewhere.

The act, which was used for the first time since it came into law in 1988, allowed the government to provide police with extraordinary powers to resolve an emergency situation, and requires that a public inquiry investigate the decision.

Lucki says she didn’t know that Ottawa police were looking for such a large number of officers until she saw a letter from then-mayor Jim Watson to the federal and provincial governments.

She says the letter didn’t have any specific information, such as how long those officers would be needed or what they would be doing.

She says usually requests are made from one police service to another, and not through politicians.

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