Former Sask. premier Brad Wall gave strategic advice to key convoy organizer
Published Monday, July 4, 2022 3:16PM EDT Last Updated Monday, July 4, 2022 5:36PM EDT
Former Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall was in contact with a key organizer of the Freedom Convoy anti-mandate protest, providing strategic advice before and after the Ottawa occupation began.
“Your group will likely be provoked by counter protesters and it is so important that they don't take the bait,” Wall said in a text message he sent Saskatchewan truck driver Chris Barber on February 2, according to court records.
“Also it is really important that any of those who are trying to hitch their wagon to this convoy with ulterior motives and off messages - especially racist stuff be openly and roundly condemned by the organizers.”
Wall cited as an example another protest organizer who was later criminally charged, Pat King, who commented in a Facebook video about Anglo Saxon replacement theory.
Barber’s communication with Wall is captured in phone records obtained by Ottawa Police in their investigation of criminal charges against the trucker, who was arrested on February 17.
Barber is currently charged, along with protest organizer Tamara Lich, with intimidation, obstruction of a peace officer and mischief, along with other charges in relation to the three-week occupation. He is currently on bail in Saskatchewan awaiting trial.
Reached by CTV News on Monday, Wall declined to comment on his contact with Barber, saying, “I know him from Swift Current. He’s connected to relatives and I’d like to keep that confidential and private.”
A document described as a draft version of a data analysis of a Universal Forensic Extraction Device scan of Barber’s cell phone was entered into evidence by the Crown in advance of tomorrow’s bail review hearing for Lich, on a new charge that she breached her previous bail conditions.
The data logs include 26 text messages between Wall and Barber, and four phone calls between their numbers totalling over 29 minutes in length.
In one text, Wall suggested that the convoy declare “a victory of sorts” after some provinces began to ease COVID-19 measures.
“I think the convoy is creating some elbow room for provinces to begin to move away from mandates etc.,” he texted on February 2.
Wall also suggested the convoy use money raised through donations to GoFundMe as “the final declaration of success” and donate to veterans groups, the Salvation Army and food banks.
On the same date, he asked Barber, “Is it your sense that it might be time to claim victory and end the occupation?”
He also told Barber that his daughter lives in Ottawa and provided the cellphone number for her boyfriend, who he said was willing to help deliver supplies.
In one exchange, they discuss what Barber believes is unfair coverage of the protest by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
“I don’t watch or follow CBC,” Wall texted. “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 gridlocked the city and shut down several key border crossings.
Wall served as premier of Saskatchewan from 2007 to 2018. He is currently listed as a special adviser in the Calgary office of law firm Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt.