At a 30-minute press conference held Friday morning February 4, 2022, Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly said the police will implement a new ‘Surge & Contain’ strategy.
Sloly said the police and their intelligence partners will “target protesters and supporters of protesters who are funding and enabling unlawful and harmful activity by the protesters themselves.”
Financial, digital driver id, and insurance info will be used in future prosecutions, he said.
“Our goal is to end the increasingly volatile and increasingly dangerous demonstration,” Sloly said.
Sloly did not explain how prosecuting funders of the freedom convoy is justifiable, since participation in demonstrations is a protected activity under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
For this weekend, police will increase use of concrete barriers and direct new convoy vehicles to “designated parking zones outside of the downtown core.”
Meanwhile the Freedom Convoy fundraiser page has a message from GoFundMe which states, in part,“Following a review of relevant facts and multiple discussions with local law enforcement and city officials, this fundraiser is now in violation of our Terms of Service (Term 8, which prohibits the promotion of violence and harassment) and has been removed from the platform. Organizers provided a clear distribution plan for the initial $1M that was released earlier this week and confirmed funds would be used only for participants who traveled to Ottawa to participate in a peaceful protest. Given how this situation has evolved, no further funds will be directly distributed to the Freedom Convoy organizers — we will work with organizers to send all remaining funds to credible and established charities verified by GoFundMe. All donors may submit a request for a full refund until February 19th, 2022 using this dedicated refund form.”
Sloly responded to one reporter by insisting that no police will enable the fueling of big rigs participating in the demonstration, which is contrary to what he had said last week, that they wouldn’t interfere. This despite the fact that Ottawa has issued a frostbite warning for this weekend. The Ottawa city advisory warns “Ottawa is one of the coldest capitals in the world. Winter temperature paired with wind can cause severe injuries and even death. Frostbite injuries can lead to amputations. Hypothermia, the most serious of cold weather complications can lead to brain damage and then death. At -15 C, hypothermia becomes an increasing concern and when the wind chill reaches -35 or colder, exposed skin can freeze in as little as 10 minutes.”
— Ottawa Public Health (@OttawaHealth) February 4, 2022
Sloly, a 55-year-old former soccer player, has been Chief of the Ottawa Police Service since October 28, 2019.