Freedom convoy cost RCMP millions, documents show

The RCMP spent more than $1.6 million during the Freedom Convoy in Ottawa, according to a CBC request for access to information.

Documents also revealed the force spent an additional $1.2 million on police protests in Alberta, the majority on the US border in Coutts, Alta.

In total, the RCMP spent nearly $3 million overseeing the two protests.

Streets in downtown Ottawa were jammed for weeks as thousands gathered around Parliament Hill to protest a variety of grievances, from pandemic-related mandates to general disregard for the federal government. Police eventually managed to clear protesters, tow trucks and other vehicles blocking major downtown arteries.

Access to information requests show that the RCMP’s security charges processed by the RCMP’s financial system during the protests in Ottawa reached $1,626,422 between January 23 and March 1.

Police are closely monitoring protesters in downtown Ottawa to protest COVID-19 mandates on Jan. 30, 2022. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio Canada)

The majority of spending in Ottawa goes to travel, according to the documents.

Expenses disclosed by the RCMP do not include regular salary and ‘indirect costs, including costs associated with support units’.

The $1.6 million figure, according to RCMP, represents costs in Ottawa for overtime and travel expenses, including meals and lodging, which are processed by RCMP’s financial system. It shows that the RCMP not only spent $1,626,422 on travel, but also $13,000 on lodging and $6,720 on meals.

A separate disclosure from the RCMP shows that the Fairmont Chateau Laurier in downtown Ottawa was used by police for such things as processing arrests during its enforcement actions against Freedom Convoy protesters.

A billing statement from the hotel to the RCMP states that $234,995.79 is spent on “events.” The bill also shows that the RCMP spent $2,700 on 75 hot breakfast buffet meals at the hotel.

RCMP near the border in Coutts, Alta., in February. (Nassima Way/CBC)

No additional information is provided.

Earlier this month, documents released by the city of Ottawa indicated that the cost of the Freedom Convoy would be in the order of $37 million.

Spending in Alberta

Between January 29 and February 16, the RCMP spent an additional $1,209,430 on police services in Alberta, most of it on the U.S. border at Coutts.

A slightly more detailed cost estimate of RCMP expenditure in Alberta was provided. It shows that $158,858.24 was spent on overtime for members at the border and $34,439.25 on “research services”.

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