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RCMP Spent $235,000 on Buffets at Five Star Hotel During Freedom Convoy Crackdown

Neil lives in Canada and writes about society and politics.
Published: April 14, 2022
The RCMP spent $235,000 of taxpayer money on buffets at the five star Fairmont Chateau Laurier during the Freedom Convoy crackdown in Ottawa.
Militarized members of the RCMP armed with assault rifles during the Freedom Convoy crackdown on February 18, 2022 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The agency spent almost $235,000 of taxpayer money on buffets at the five star Fairmont Chateau Laurier during the crackdown, Access to Information and Privacy data shows. (Image: Alex Kent/Getty Images)

Canada’s federal police force spent nearly $235,000 in taxpayer funds on buffets at a prestigious five star hotel to feed officers deployed during the Emergencies Act crackdown against the Freedom Convoy protest in Ottawa. 

An Access to Information and Privacy request submitted by independent media outlet True North Canada and fulfilled by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s National Division of Financial Management revealed $234,995.79 was disbursed to the Fairmont Chateau Laurier for services rendered between Feb. 11 and Feb. 25.

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The RCMP told TNC that the invoice “consists of costs pertaining to meals provided in conference rooms used as shelter/down rooms,” adding, “At no time did RCMP members stay in accommodations at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier between January 20, 2022 and March 3, 2022.”

TNC stated that the invoice provided had bundled lodgment costs under “events” and charged the following maximum amounts:

  • Dinner Buffet – $12,240
  • Lunch Buffet – $11,340
  • Breakfast Buffet – $9,312

The outlet also noted that based on details in the invoice, the RCMP had an arrival date of Feb. 10 and a planned departure date of Feb. 27.

However, the clearance of Freedom Convoy protestors did not begin until Feb. 18.

“The amount billed to the RCMP for buffets suddenly spiked on Feb. 19 and continued at a higher price until the last available invoice on Feb. 23, suggesting a larger number of diners,” reads the article, which added, “Buffet costs spiked from an average of $4,000 to over $10,000 for the remainder of the stay.”

Cracked veneer

While the RCMP are often depicted as Canada’s gallant and chivalrous historic red-suited, hat wearing, horse riding defenders of sovereignty and justice, the lofty veneer was peeling at the edges as RCMP and Ontario police began deploying force against Convoy participants.

On Feb. 19, a Toronto Police mounted unit was filmed trampling protestors with horses, resulting in the trampling of at least one civilian being caught on camera. 

One of the trampled protestors turned out to be Candice Sero, a 49-year-old indigenous woman.

While early reports claimed Sero suffered serious injuries, Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit announced in early April that it would no longer pursue the investigation into potential police misconduct because, “A review of the available medical records indicates that the woman did not sustain any fractures and that her injury was limited to a strained shoulder,” stated Quinte News.

Although the unit involved was from the Toronto Police and not the RCMP, souring optics were nonetheless exacerbated when the same day, shocking screenshots from a private WhatsApp group for members of the RCMP Musical Ride, a mounted and fully costumed theatrical show performed by sitting officers, were leaked to independent outlet Rebel News.

Several of the screenshots contained photographs taken of uniformed RCMP officers enjoying buffet services at the Chateau Laurier.

In one, a female officer is eating a plate of pastries while posing for the camera, subtitled as “#hero.”

In another, an officer menacingly states, “Time for the protestors to hear our jackboots on the ground.” 

Google still defines “jackboot” as “a large leather military boot reaching to the knee” that is “used as a symbol of cruel or authoritarian behavior or rule.”

A Feb. 20 press release by the RCMP stating the agency was investigating the matter confirmed the veracity of the screenshots.

Literal false flag

The Fairmont Chateau Laurier is a notable location for Freedom Convoy participants, not because of its five star resort status, but because the hotel was the site of an instance at the end of January where an individual carrying a German Nazi flag was photographed among several others carrying Gadsden and “F*** Trudeau” flags, the latter was widely used as a slogan by Convoy participants. 

The event was seized upon by Canadian establishment media to label the trucker protest as a far-right uprising.

However, investigative journalism by True North that cast as high as a $6,500 bounty for information on the flag holder confirmed the instance actually occurred, but cast significant doubt on the holder being a Convoy participant. 

In a related and relevant instance, shortly before the Emergencies Act was invoked and the crackdown on truckers and protest participants commenced, on Feb. 13 a “counter protest” allegedly organically organized and participated in by frustrated Ottawa citizens mobilized. 

During the protest, the Hammer and Sickle flag, the symbol of communism and the Communist Party, was openly and publicly displayed.

While outlets such as the Ottawa Sun, in addition to several politicians, spun the narrative that the counter protest was organic in nature and citizen-driven, the event appears to have been organized and participated in by the Public Services Alliance of Canada’s (PSAC) National Capital Region. 

PSAC describes itself as being 230,000 members strong with 23 officers across Canada.

Headquartered in Ottawa, the union states, “Our members work for federal government departments and agencies, Crown Corporations, universities, casinos, community services agencies, Aboriginal communities, airports, and the security sector among others.”

During the event, the Twitter account for the Ottawa Rosa Luxemburg Club of  the Communist Party of Canada photographed individual participants of the main Convoy protest, tagging PSAC’s primary Twitter account in the process.

PSAC is also the union for the RCMP’s civilian members division.