Former Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall was in contact with a key organizer of the Freedom Convoy anti-warrant protest, providing strategic advice before and after the Ottawa occupation began.
“Your group will likely be provoked by counter-protesters and it’s so important they don’t take the bait,” Wall said in a text message he sent to Saskatchewan truck driver Chris Barber on Feb. 2, according to court records.
“Furthermore, it’s really important that anyone who tries to hitch their wagon to this convoy with ulterior motives and inappropriate messages – especially racist slurs, is openly and strongly condemned by the organisers.”
Wall cited as an example another protest organizer who later faced criminal charges, Pat King, who commented in a Facebook video on the Anglo-Saxon replacement theory.
Barber’s communication with Wall is recorded in phone records obtained by Ottawa police as part of their investigation into criminal charges against the trucker, who was arrested Feb. 17.
Barber is currently charged, along with protest organizer Tamara Lich, with intimidation, obstructing a peace officer and mischief, along with other charges related to the three-week occupation. He is currently out on bail in Saskatchewan pending trial.
Reached by CTV News on Monday, Wall declined to comment on his contact with Barber, saying, “I know him from Swift Current. He is related to relatives and I would like to keep this confidential and private.
A document described as a preliminary version of a data analysis of a universal forensic extraction device from Barber’s cellphone was entered into evidence by the Crown ahead of Lich’s bail review hearing , on a new charge of violating his previous bail conditions. .
The data logs include 26 text messages between Wall and Barber, and four phone calls between their numbers totaling over 29 minutes.
In a text, Wall suggested that the convoy declare “some kind of victory” after some provinces began easing measures against COVID-19.
“I think the convoy creates some leeway for provinces to start moving away from mandates and so on. “, he texted on February 2.
Wall also suggested the convoy use the money raised through donations to GoFundMe as “the final statement of success” and donate to veterans groups, the Salvation Army and food banks.
On the same day, he asked Barber, “Do you feel it might be time to declare victory and end the occupation?”
He also told Barber that his daughter lives in Ottawa and provided the cell phone number of her boyfriend, who he said was willing to help deliver supplies.
In an exchange, they discuss what Barber considers to be unfair coverage of the protest by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
“I neither watch nor follow CBC,” Wall wrote. “It’s bad for my health.”
Their communication appeared to end on February 7, a week before the federal government invoked the Emergencies Act to end the protest that paralyzed the city and closed several key border crossings.
Wall served as premier of Saskatchewan from 2007 to 2018. He is currently appointed special counsel to the Calgary office of the law firm Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt.