Emails released through a public inquiry show that federal Liberal political aides scrambled earlier this year to find out the extent to which members of the Canadian Armed Forces were being support the “Liberty Convoy” protests that have clogged downtown Ottawa.
The internal communications were among thousands of documents sent to the Public Order Emergency Committee, which is reviewing the Liberal government’s decision to invoke the Emergencies Act to end the protests. protests in February.
On February 15, the day after the Emergencies Act was enacted, Defense Secretary Anita Anand’s press secretary, Daniel Minden, emailed political staffers in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office and Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino.
“Please see this internal list of CAF members allegedly involved in the convoy to date,” Minden wrote.
The email went on to provide a “list of known members involved in the protests,” including five specifically named and two unnamed. Those not named include a special forces soldier based in Ottawa and a civilian employee of the Department of Defense.
(All names redacted in copies of emails were provided to the committee as “Personal Information.”)
The list also includes the location of the individuals, what action the military is taking at the moment, and the results of any actions taken.
The listing seems to have prompted a strong response from Mendicino’s communications director, Alexander Cohen, who used a profanity in response to Minden, saying, “How come there are so many soldiers in the regiment. car?”
“7-8 that we know,” Minden replied.
Minden and Cohen did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.
The email did not provide specific details about what the people on the alleged list did, including what rules they allegedly violated.
It’s also unclear how many voiced support for the “Liberty Convoy” and how many spoke publicly against the military’s demand that all Armed Forces members be vaccinated as a rule. conditions for them to continue working in uniform.
The military has forced about 300 members not to wear uniforms over the past year because they refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19. About 100 others have voluntarily left, while hundreds have had their profiles permanently censored.
Defense Department spokesman Daniel Le Bouthillier said the threshold would be “many actions contrary to” the military’s rules of discipline, code of ethics, and other rules and guidelines.
“Any member of the Armed Forces who discredits the CAF through a behavioral or performance omission, whether in action or word, will be held accountable,” he said in an email on Wednesday.
Le Bouthillier added that the military has since identified 13 instances of Armed Forces members openly supporting the “Liberty Convoy” protests, some of whom appear to have been included. list sent by Minden.
Those include 19 Wing Comox Pilot Riley MacPherson, who was found guilty of prejudicing good order and discipline and fined $500 after posting a video speaking out in support of the motorcade when wear uniforms in February.
There is also a reference to a military police investigation into an Armed Forces member in Gagetown.
The military previously said it was investigating Major Stephen Chledowski after a video posted on social media showed the officer speaking out against the duties and restrictions on wearing uniforms. The post was made during the protests last winter.
The Department of Defense said it was trying to update the investigation on Wednesday. Chledowski did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
One name that appears to have been missing from the list is Officer James Topp, who is facing a military trial after appearing in two videos posted on social media in February criticizing the claims. vaccines for military personnel and other federal employees.
The military reservist later became a symbol of opponents of the mandate to vaccinate and limit the pandemic after a cross-country march that included a meeting with Conservative MPs on National Hill. associations, including the current Leader of the Conservative Party, Pierre Poilievre.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on November 30, 2022.