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Ministerial staff shared information about soldiers’ role in “Freedom Convoy”


OTTAWA – Emails released through a public inquiry suggest federal Liberal political aides were scrambling earlier this year to figure out the extent of support members of the Canadian Armed Forces had for the “Freedom Convoy” protests that had gridlocked downtown Ottawa.

The internal communications are among thousands of documents submitted to the Public Order Emergency Commission, which is looking at the Liberal government’s decision to invoke the Emergencies Act to end the demonstrations against COVID-19 mandates in February.

On Feb. 15, which is the day after the Emergencies Act was invoked, Defence Minister Anita Anand’s press secretary, Daniel Minden, emailed fellow political staff in the offices of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino.

His email includes what Minden describes as an “internal list” of Armed Forces members allegedly involved in the convoy, including their names and what action the military was taking.

The list appears to have sparked a strong reaction from Mendicino’s director of communications, Alexander Cohen, who used an expletive in asking Minden how many soldiers were involved.

Minden’s reply says there were seven or eight that he was aware of, but the Department of National Defence has since identified 13 cases of Armed Forces members publicly supporting the “Freedom Convoy” protests.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2022.

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