The parliamentary security force took issue with the City of Ottawa’s plan to move “Freedom Convoy” protesters’ semi-trucks out of residential neighbourhoods and onto the street in front of Parliament Hill, according to evidence released through a public inquiry on Monday.
The Public Order Emergency Commission was told the Parliamentary Protective Service, which guards government buildings in the area, disagreed with a plan the city had arranged with some convoy organizers on Feb. 12 to see protesters’ trucks moved out of residential areas and onto Wellington Street.
“The (security service) expressed concern with respect to Wellington being turned into a parking lot of 200-plus trucks,” reads a summary of an interview city manager Steve Kanellakos gave to the commission, which is examining federal government’s decision to invoke the Emergencies Act.
“The (police) then stopped moving vehicles close to Parliament Hill.”
The related documents were released on Monday as the commission held its third day of public hearings at the Library and Archives Canada building in downtown Ottawa. Public hearings are scheduled to run until Nov. 25.
On Feb. 13, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson announced the details of a proposed deal with some protest organizers that would see 400 removed from residential areas.
The summary released through the public inquiry outlined how Kanellakos was not sure whether the parliamentary security service had been consulted on the plan before the Ottawa police began moving trucks onto Wellington Street. It was already home to dozens of large trucks, as well as other vehicles and tents set up by protesters.
During the hearing on Monday, the commission was shown an email sent by Larry Brookson, acting director of the Parliamentary Protective Service, to Kanellakos looking to set up a meeting about the decision.
“Quite honestly Steve I am at a loss as to how this sort of agreement could have been worked out with a clear disregard to security,” said the email from Brookson.
“Especially considering that we just finished a bomb blast assessment which included the threat of explosive being transferred via large vehicles.”
The commission heard that such a meeting never happened.
The proposed deal to move convoy-related big rigs came as anger mounted from residents who were fed up with the round-the-clock noise brought by the February protests.