Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino says federal cabinet ministers were worried about their personal safety from the outset of the “Freedom Convoy” protest in Ottawa because some demonstrators had posted online about targeting their homes.
Mendicino is one of seven cabinet ministers slated to testify before the Public Order Emergency Commission, which is investigating the government’s decision to invoke the Emergencies Act last winter for the first time since the legislation was passed in 1988.
Notes from a Jan. 26 ministerial briefing show RCMP were aware of protesters trying to gather the home addresses of MPs, including the prime minister, and were concerned the protest could break apart to include several locations close to politicians’ homes.
Mendicino says RCMP increased security around several ministers and Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, because the protests were focused on COVID-19 public health restrictions.
Protesters arrived in Ottawa two days later and parked hundreds of vehicles to block city streets for weeks, while similar protests blockaded international border crossings.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared a public order emergency on Feb. 14, calling the protests a national crisis that put public safety and economic security at risk.