RCMP Commissioner Denies Claim Mounties Used ‘Kid Gloves’ On Freedom Convoy Protesters

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki says she does not see a double standard in the way Mounties oversaw the Freedom Convoy protests and blockades earlier this year compared to the tactics they have used with indigenous protesters.

In a heated exchange at a committee meeting Tuesday night, NDP MP Matthew Green asked about the scenes during border blockades over COVID-19 health mandates and compared them to blockades during protests against a pipeline drilling site in Wet’suwet’en territory in the north. of British Columbia.

Green referred to the cases as a “juxtaposition of police work – what I call a failure of police work.”

The RCMP has come under fire after a British newspaper reported that police were willing to use snipers on Wet’suwet’en Nation protesters and called for “lethal control” in 2019.

Last year, video footage provided to the media showed RCMP tactical officers breaking into a door with an ax and chainsaw to arrest opponents of pipelines at Coyote Camp during another protest in the territory. The RCMP is also investigating reports of violence at a pipeline construction site on Coastal GasLink’s property earlier this year.

Green contrasted those incidents with reports of Alberta RCMP officers shaking hands and hugging some protesters who had halted traffic at the United States border crossing at Coutts, Alta., to demonstrate against pandemic health mandates.

RCMP said they seized more than a dozen long rifles, handguns, ammunition and body armor from that location.

Lucki says police are ‘part of the community’

‘How do you reconcile the double standards in police work?’ Green asked Lucki on Tuesday night as a special mixed committee continued its study into invoking the Emergency Act in February to disperse Freedom Convoy protesters.

“And what would you say to Canadians who have questions about the behavior of RCMP agents who give handshakes and high-fives and hugs shortly after this weapons stockpile was found in what was admittedly a high-risk investigation and arrest?”

“What I can say was that there were a lot of legal protesters at the Coutts protest,” Lucki replied.

NDP MP for Hamilton Center Matthew Green says he saw a “juxtaposition of policing – what I call a failure of policing.” (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

“And our members who are police there are part of the community, they shop in those stores. They are neighbors to those people.”

Green cut in and asked if the difference in approach was due to the protesters at Coutts resembling the police officers themselves.

“No,” said Lucky. “They live in those communities.”

“Can we at least recognize a double standard there?” asked Green.

“No, not at all, no,” replied the head Mountie.

Green ended his allotted time by asking if Lucki would “at least admit that there were velvet gloves for the protesters in Coutts right after the discovery of the weapons stash.”

“No,” said Lucky. She said it was protesters and supporters in Coutts who approached police at the scene.

Allegations of police failure

MPs and senators tried to pressure Lucki during the three-hour committee hearing on how the RCMP and Ottawa police responded to the hundreds of protesters who blocked streets in Ottawa with large platforms and other trucks to protest COVID-19 restrictions.

Beyond Coutts, protesters also blocked border crossings in Windsor, Ontario, and Emerson, Man., and the Pacific Highway Crossing in BC

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau argued that it was necessary to invoke the Emergencies Act to “address serious problems to law enforcement officers’ ability to effectively enforce the law”.

The emergency law passed a ban on travel to protest zones, allowed banks to freeze the accounts of some of those involved in the protests, and allowed officials to order tow trucks. It also enabled the RCMP to enforce municipal ordinances and provincial violations when necessary.

Lucki said she did not think the protests in the convoy suggested a police failure, although several senators and MPs on the committee suggested the opposite.

sen. Peter Harder said he thought the police’s actions prior to the invocation of the law “demonstrated a series of police failures”.

“No willful failures,” he said. “But the inability of the police to contain the occupation here in Ottawa and to act appropriately in reducing the occupation.”

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