A peek inside police texts to convoy organizers

New court documents have text messages between a police officer and a convoy leader

Robert Hiltz
04 Apr

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Good morning!

The dog almost tricked me into taking her through the woods this weekend. Made the mistake of doing that a few years ago in the early spring. Gigantic mistake. There was no puddle too smelly, no patch of ground too muddy…she rolled in everything. Took two separate baths to get rid of (most of) the smell. This year, I had the sense to turn around when I realized where I was being led. 

All to say, very much looking forward to getting out of the wet early spring, and into the warm late spring.

Let’s get to the news, shall we.

— Robert Hiltz, managing editor

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Police Texts To Convoy Shed Light On How Protest Set Up

Coordination: In newly filed court documents, text messages traded between a police liaison officer and a convoy organizer provide a window into the early days of the occupation. The agreements made on where to let protesters park and set up seem to have been based on the premise that the protests would break up and they would promptly leave town, CBC reported. That never materialized.

  • Who: The texts are between organizer Chad Eros and Ottawa police Const. Isabelle Cyr-Pidcock. They were filed as part of Eros’ defence in the proposed class-action lawsuit that stopped the honking downtown.

In the beginning: Before the convoy arrived, Cyr-Pidcock texted, “I will have a definite plan for you tomorrow morning,” after she requested an itinerary. The next day, the officer told Eros the baseball stadium had been “secured” for the protest, and would make a good spot for a shuttle.

  • Certain streets, like Elgin and Laurier were to be kept clear for emergency vehicles, while the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway was offered up for truck parking.

In the end: Many days later, things obviously went awry. “The city let you stay there for almost two weeks. I think that was very generous. I will call you later tonight,” Cyr-Pidcock texted to the organizer, according to CBC.

Ottawa By The Numbers

  • 275: The number of women Shelter Movers Ottawa has helped flee abusive relationships.
  • $3.38 million: Bridgehead revenues in the quarter ending Dec. 26., up from $2.69 million the same quarter the year before.

Parliament To Be Draped While Under Restoration

Temporary covering: To help preserve some of the look of Centre Block while it is under restoration, the building will be covered by a “trompe l'oeil” — a cover with an illustration of the building. The restoration is expected to take a decade to complete, and this will preserve some of the tourism cachet of Parliament while it’s under wraps, CBC reported.

  • The overall cost of the wrapping is about $4 million.

Massive project: The restoration project is taking apart the building brick by brick — literally — and restoring and upgrading almost the entire structure. Repairs to damaged stonework and sculptures will be done at the same time as structural repairs and infrastructure upgrades.

  • A key detail: The clock on the Peace Tower clock will be set to 11:45, the time the clock and its carillon were inaugurated in 1927.
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Sens Honour Melnyk

Paying tribute: The Ottawa Senators gave Eugene Melnyk a heartfelt tribute at their first home game since the team’s owner died. A video played before the game emphasized Menyk’s time both on and off the ice, buying the team and his philanthropic ventures in the community and around the world. For the rest of the season, the team will wear a patch with Melnyk’s initials on their jerseys, CTV reported

  • Watch: In Loving Memory Eugene Melnyk 1959-2022

Sens win! The team beat the Detroit Red Wings 5-2, winning both games of a home-and-home series. The game was capped with the first career hat trick by 22-year-old centre Josh Norris. It was his 30th goal of the season.

The Lookout’s Picks For Korean Food in Ottawa

The spicy pork bowl.

Problem: From Korean fried chicken to bibimbap, Korean food is extremely diverse. But it’s hard to know where to visit and what to order.

Solution: Our food editor Ralf reviewed two such spots — Kitchen Maroo and Food Mood: Korean Kitchen. In the reviews, our food editor Ralf shares his recommendations.

  • Restaurant reviews and the best dishes to try are only available for Insider members. The first newsletter launches Thursday. 

We’re offering readers a 25% discount on your first year to the first 100 readers who purchase an Insider subscription. But hurry, the discounts are going fast — there are only 22 discounts remaining. 

Stories You Might Have Missed

Laying blame for lax COVID response: The editorial board at the Ottawa Citizen says the  provincial government needs more pandemic protections. They have six key demands: For the chief medical officer to restart his weekly briefings; to increase PCR testing; make clear how antiviral medicines can be  accessed; persuade the public to get boosted; explain B.A.2 variant dangers; and “Bring back the damn mask mandates for another month.” [Ottawa Citizen]

Restaurants eager for patio season: Patios can once again extend onto sidewalks and parking spaces. There are now no capacity limits to outdoor seating. ByWard Market streets will be closed entirely to traffic to increase patio space. The weather was briefly nice enough that some patios were open over the weekend. [CTV]

Fertilizer costs on the rise: Local farmers are bracing for an expensive planting season. Fertilizer costs doubled thanks to a combination of supply chain issues, production disruptions, and most of all the invasion of Ukraine. Sanctions on Russia mean higher prices on imported Russian fertilizer, where Ontario gets much of its fertilizer. Rising fuel prices could also mean higher food prices.

City vaccine policy ends today: Full-time city employees no longer have to show proof of vaccination. The city’s vaccine mandate ends today for most city employees. Staff at long-term care homes, paramedics, and other employees in high-risk settings must still show proof of vaccination. [CTV]

Tree cutting begins at Civic site: A stranded raptor was seen at Queen Juliana Park, as crews began clearing trees for the construction of a hospital parking garage for the new Civic site near Dow’s Lake.

Quebec backs off new hospital location: The provincial government has reversed a decision to build a new hospital at an industrial park on the outskirts of Gatineau. The project had faced strong community opposition, who want any new hospital to be closer to downtown. A new site will now need to be chosen for the $2.5-billion project. [CBC] 

GoFundMe for homicide victim: The family of Marie Gabriel is raising money to pay for her funeral costs. The 24 year old mother of two was killed last week. Gabriel’s brother said she had suffered abuse from her partner for years, and had only just “started to feel normal again.” A 40 year old man has been charged with second-degree murder in her death. You can donate here. [CityNews]

Hundreds rally for Ukraine: Hundreds rallied outside the Russian embassy to show support for Ukraine over the weekend. The crowd chanted “We stand with Ukraine” and left empty strollers to symbolize the brutal toll on civilians in the invasion. The protesters called on the government to impose stronger sanctions on the Russian government after apparent war crimes were discovered in towns retaken by the Ukrainian military. [CTV]

Provincial Election Catchup

NDP promises universal mental health care: If elected to government, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath promises a $1.15-billion program to cover mental health care in Ontario. It would cover six sessions of psychotherapy under OHIP and increase funding to train more mental health care professionals. [CBC]

Liberals promise minimum wage boost: Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca promised a government headed by his party would legislate 10 paid sick days and boost the minimum wage to $16 by the end of the year, then establish a system to bring about a regional living wage, adjusted for the cost of living in different parts of the province. [CBC]

Community Highlights

  • Ottawa is home to some exceptional Japanese restaurants. Here are five places worth checking out.
  • There’s a lost cat in Centrepointe. Its name is Felix and it’s white and orange. If you spot it, you can contact the owner here.
  • Nominate a Snow Angel who cleared snow from a driveway or steps for an eldery or disabled person. 
  • Chinese meat pies? Yes they are delicious and yes you can find them on Rideau Street.
  • An Ottawa couple created their own family board game called Space Gym and it’s a hit [CBC]
  • Merrickville’s Ukrainian fundraiser blew past their goal, raising $17,000 with just under a week remaining.

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Today's Top Photo

Sandy B

This well-timed shot of a police car cruising into view of an installation of toy trucks across from the Museum of Nature comes to us via reader Sandy B. 

Out and about in Ottawa? Send us your photos! We love to run pictures from the Lookout community.

Daily COVID Stats

All infection and vaccination data via Ottawa Public Health. You can find the status of the wastewater tracking here. And you can find vaccination stats here.

  • Active Cases: 949 (+216)
  • Deaths: 764 (+1)
  • Ottawans In Hospital: 10
  • Ottawans In ICU: 0
  • Acute Beds Occupied: 99% 
  • ICU Beds Occupied: 71% 
  • ICU Ventilator Beds Occupied: 31% 

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Written by managing editor Robert Hiltz and food and wine editor Ralf Joneikies

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