Curtis Zablocki

Curtis Zablocki spoke 187 times across 1 day of testimony.

  1. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    The Holy Bible, please.


  2. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    My name is Curtis Michael Zablocki. Zablocki is spelled Z-A-B-L-O-C-K-I.


  3. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Thank you for that, Mr. Cameron. On page 18, there's amendment or a correction that I would like to make in the context of that summary.


  4. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Yeah, I believe it's the first paragraph on page 18 about halfway through there's a sentence that refers to -- well, it uses the words "lip service" in the context of the towing association that we were working with within the Province of Alberta. And it infers that we weren't getting straight information or clear information from that towing service. And I believe that's inaccurate. Quite to the contrary, they were working and doing their best to be helpful.


  5. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    I will do that, yes. Thanks.


  6. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Off and on through the day.


  7. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Yes, certainly. So I'm the Commanding Officer for what we call "K" Division, which is the Province of Alberta. And the Commissioner -- so myself as a Deputy Commissioner, I'm a direct report to the Commissioner, to Commissioner Lucki.


  8. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    That’s correct.


  9. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Not in the context of the Coutts protest, no.


  10. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Certainly. So the RCMP is the contracted Provincial Police Service for the Province of Alberta. So there is a contract between Public Safety Canada and the Province of Alberta with the RCMP as the Provincial Police Service or the police service provider within the province. So in essence, the Provincial Police Service has responsibility for policing communities with populations of less than 5,000 persons. In addition, we police communities with populations above 5,000 that have a desire to contract with the RCMP to provide that policing services, and those are primarily in the context of municipalities. So we have 48 municipal policing contracts in addition to our broader provincial policing contract within Alberta. And of course, within those responsibilities, we also police a number of Indigenous communities and Métis settlements as well.


  11. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Very true, yes.


  12. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    That’s correct. They are provincial police services in those two locations you've mentioned there, as we are within the Province of Alberta.


  13. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    That’s true, yes.


  14. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    No. The jurisdiction for policing in Coutts, the Community of Coutts and the area was the jurisdiction of the Provincial Police Service, or the RCMP.


  15. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)



  16. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Certainly. So that is a group of trained individuals that we use, I'll say to intervene or engage in protest situations like we had at Coutts. These are individuals that are trained in mediation, negotiation. They're trained to engage, communicate, open the channels of communication. They're trained to de-escalate as well, so it would be similar to the PLTs, I think, maybe have been described previously during the Commission here and such. So we often utilize these teams to engage with the organizers of protests in advance of protests if we have alerts and information to suggest there's going to be blockades or issues or challenges around protests.


  17. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Right. So these are police officers that have substantive work outside of their CCMG roles.


  18. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Correct. Yes, correct.


  19. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Yeah, that’s a very accurate statement. Our folks have been engaged in a number of protest situations, giving them that experience.


  20. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Yeah, I think it first came to our attention in -- well, I'll say on January 19th, we received some open source information suggesting that there was going to be a protest or a blockade at Coutts the very next day on the 20th of January. Again, on the 19th, there was a separate source of information received. I believe it was open source information that suggested there was going to be a blockade on the 29th of January at Coutts. So the 20th came and went without any protest, without any activity at the Coutts port of entry. On January 26th, we received some further open source information about a potential blockade, a convoy to Coutts and a potential blockade at Coutts as well. So we started to -- of course, started some of the planning around that. We engaged with our CCMG staff, identified the organizers of the convoy, and engaged in open communications with them. Over the course of the days leading up to the 29th, we had several meetings engaging partner agencies, including the Alberta sheriffs, Canada Border Services, also our U.S. partners in the U.S., CBP, some border patrol entities there as well. Some of the information indicated that there was going to be a number of trucks, up to a thousand trucks on the United States, on the USA side coming to the port of entry, so we had -- like I mentioned, we had engaged our U.S. partners there as well. We prepared to deploy some resources to Coutts for the 29th as well, but we had activated our Gold-Silver command structure as well. We had activated our division emergency operations centre because there were other planned protests or convoys in the Province of Alberta scheduled for January 29th as well. We consulted with legal counsel around our authorities, our authorities to stop vehicles just to confirm that as well too. So we took a number of steps in preparation for the possibility of a blockade. Now, I'll go back to our engagement with the protest organizers. And the last information, the best information that we had leading up to the 29th -- and it was from the protest organizers -- was that they were no longer going to blockade at Coutts, but they were simply -- well, not simply -- but they were going to conduct slow rolls through to Coutts with the convoy. And we were advised that it was their intention to do three slow rolls to Coutts, back to Milk River, the Canadian Milk River, which is also on Highway 4 north of Coutts, and that they would conduct three slow rolls through this area, ensuring that they had maintained at least one lane open at all times while they were conducting these slow rolls.


  21. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    I think it was reasonable to conclude that this slow roll was associated to, perhaps, the larger convoy that was travelling west/east across, you know, across the prairie provinces and into Ontario.


  22. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)



  23. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Sure. You know, as you’ve alluded to, the slow rolls wouldn’t go right to the point of entry, and it would be, if they were going north to south, they would come to the U.S. port of entry as they travelled southbound, but there was a turn around in advance of that and that convoy would utilize that turnaround between the -- it would be between the two southbound and the two northbound lanes, and then be able to do loops back to Milk River, if they so desired. The general geography there, it’s very flat and open. And I’ll say, you know, through the ditches and fields, they’re very accessible if one was -- had a desire to move off the roadway and to travel through the ditches or into medians or into the adjacent fields as well.


  24. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Yeah, that’s correct. And, you know, I might -- you know, I allude to, you know, the situation where this convoy could stop anywhere on the road and effectively block the highway at any point, whether it was ---


  25. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    --- you know, just south of Lethbridge, the City of Lethbridge, or if it was, you know, closer to the Port of Entry. It would be very challenging at that point to deal with that situation.


  26. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Yeah, so the convoy was in the process of doing their slow rolls when, I’ll say suddenly, one of the semi-trailer tractor units jackknifed itself on the roadway, effectively blocking travel in both directions and bringing the convoy to a halt at that point. So effectively, you know, I would say at that point, creating an offence, in the context of provincial or Criminal Code statutes.


  27. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    I believe it was the actions of a certain segment or portion of a group. As I mentioned earlier, the organizers, that wasn’t their intention, to blockade. And we later, you know, learned that they had lost that control. And as we saw over the course of the next few days, a splinter group, splinter leadership group developed from the larger protest group. And we know as well that there were a number of individuals that were caught up in that blockade that did not have the desire to be part of that blockade.


  28. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Exactly right. You know, it was in the next couple days following that -- well, specifically, on January 30th, we were able to assist a group of about 30 or so semi-trailer units. They had cleared Canada customs coming north into Canada. They were on the Canadian side of the border by that point, but had been blocked by the convoy and had nowhere to go. So we worked with them with Canada -- with CBSA and U.S. CBP to allow them to turn around, move back through the U.S., and come back into Canada at another location. So they had no desire to be part of that blockade at all. And then the following day, the 31st, there was another group of individuals -- of folks that were, I’ll say, caught up in that blockade that were released and were able to move on from the blockade.


  29. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    So we knew there was, at the very least, going to be a slow roll through Coutts. However, we were also planning for, you know, potentially a blockade as well. We had -- as I mentioned earlier, we had deployed resources to that immediate area. We didn’t deploy resources in a quantity that would allow us to, you know, take any necessary enforcement action in the context of arrests and such at that particular time, so we needed the 30th and the 31st of January to deploy further resources into the area to bring up our resource numbers to ensure that if, in fact -- you know, if in fact it was necessary to take enforcement action, that, you know, we’d have sufficient resources to, you know, do our best to ensure public and police officer safety at that particular time. You know, I think one can say that in a situation like this where you have the number of participants that were present and the number of vehicles that were present, the best way to resolve that type of a situation is trying to gain voluntary compliance to move people along; right? Those were difficult situations to manage in that context.


  30. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    They were. Right. They were. And they were challenged though in the first couple of days, attempting to identify a leadership group within the larger protest group and it seemed like no one wanted to step forward to identify themselves as leaders or such. So it was -- I would say it was quite quiet, is the way it was described to me, as far any interaction or even the potential to find individuals to interact with us that might me part of a leadership -- or playing the leadership role in the protest. NA


  31. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Right, that was part of our objective and part of our operational plan. When we weren’t getting a response in the context of engagement with our RCCMG, we recognized the potential that we might have to take enforcement action in that situation so we did arrange for towing capacity and, of course, this is heavy-duty towing capacity to move these large tractor trailer units from the roadway that were blocking the roadway. And we got cooperation to do that. In fact, we were able to marshal some tow trucks -- I believe it was on the 31st -- and have them in place. As it turned, on the 31st, later in the day, we got the engagement from individuals within the protest group and started some communication, and actually some negotiation at that particular point, so we held off on any enforcement action at that particular time and held off until later in the day. Unfortunately, later in the day, those negotiations -- I’ll say “negotiations” -- fell off and, given that time of the day, we weren’t able to initiate any action with the tow trucks at that particular time. Our communication with the tow-truck operators and the companies was such that they indicated they would be back the next morning and, as such, it was the next morning that we planned to deploy resources into the protest group and, of course, first seek compliance for the operators of the vehicles to move along. And, of course, if they did not volunteer or comply with that, we were preparing to make arrests and, with the arrests, you know, ensuring that we had the towing capacity to necessarily remove the trucks from the roadway.


  32. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    We understood that tow companies, tow operators were receiving phone calls. There was a barrage of online negative commentary to towing companies and operators as well around their potential participation and assistance of the police in this situation. So there was a lot of that surfacing. And, of course, you know, that was a significant factor in towing companies and operators deciding not to assist the police the following morning.


  33. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    No, we did not, no. That never came to be. And I would say our folks made significant efforts to obtain that requisite towing capacity. We canvassed towing companies across Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia. We even reached into the United States into Montana and canvassed towing companies there for their interest in assisting us at Coutts. And I would say, for various reasons, we were turned down and found no cooperation in that context.


  34. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)



  35. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)



  36. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Yeah, I believe -- I believe you have, yes.


  37. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Yeah, well, one of the primary things that we attempted to do was create a lawful protest site. So, again, we wanted to move the unlawful protest from the port-of-entry area further up the highway. When I say “up the highway”, north towards Milk River or, quite frankly, away from the immediate port area. And so we did a number of things to try and accomplish that. We created what we call the “Community Stakeholder Engagement Team”, so we assigned two senior police officers to engage with the community leaders in the area, so the community leaders from Coutts, and Milk River, and the municipalities, to work with them to help us find -- potentially find an area that would be suitable to create as a lawful protest area. We were cognizant that, you know, the protesters, to get them to move to such an area that, you know, this would have to be an area of visibility, so somewhere along the highway, potentially, was one of the requirements that we certainly had in mind as our folks undertook this work. And we needed to have an area that was convenient, that was accessible, and, as I mentioned, visible. So we commenced that work. It would have been during the second week of the protest situation there. And then ---


  38. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)



  39. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)



  40. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)



  41. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Right. We want them -- we want them to still be able to protest but in a lawful manner ---


  42. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    --- right? And, of course, that would include, you know, them leaving the border area ---


  43. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    --- and moving elsewhere.


  44. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)



  45. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Well, you know, opening one lane, I would suggest, would still be an illegal disruption at the port of entry. But I suppose that it's a bit of a consolation, but our objective was to open the entirety of the - --


  46. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    --- access through the highways; right?


  47. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    That's fair.


  48. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Right. We engaged, I'll say, the protest leadership, early in that week, and again, this is the second week of the blockade, and initially there seemed to be some interest from the protest leaders in that. So we continued our work with identifying a proper location, and we were able to work with -- the Government of Alberta actually had a small parcel of land adjacent to Milk River. It was alongside Highway 4, so that visibility component would have been met there as well, too. So the municipal affairs branch within -- Alberta Transportation branch within the Alberta Government worked with us and created a site there for a lawful protest.


  49. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    In the end it did not. The interest definitely waned, and the feedback we received later that week from the protest leadership indicated that they were no longer interested in moving to that lawful protest site.


  50. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    I don't believe they did.


  51. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    You know, that was -- I suppose that was a potential. I don't know that we had enough information to really form a view other that they didn't want to -- they didn't perhaps see value in moving and they thought their position might be stronger at the port of entry.


  52. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Right. So the first week, yeah, we weren't -- we didn't move out strong or heavy on traffic enforcement. We wanted to ensure that, you know -- well, quite frankly, it wasn't until Checkpoint 10 was created that we started to have concerns around traffic, not traffic flow, but just, you know, the haphazard parking of vehicles. And I'll describe Checkpoint 10. It's a location, again on Highway 4. It's between the port of entry and Milk River, and it's at the intersection of Highway 501. And it was a location that earlier on in the blockade we created a checkpoint there to try and regulate the flow of traffic down to the port of entry, and of course we wanted to allow community residents and the legitimate traffic to Coutts to travel through there, but we also wanted to negate the flow of protesters to the protest site as well, too, via vehicle. So we created this checkpoint. And over time, this checkpoint, you know, it almost turned into another blockade location for the protesters as they gathered there, as they formed there. In fact, they eventually brought farm equipment and from time to time would put it across the roadway effectively blocking access through Checkpoint 10. And -- so it was as a result of some of the safety concerns around Checkpoint 10 that we started to become a little stronger on our traffic enforcement under the Traffic Safety Act.


  53. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Well, it didn't help resolve the blockades, which of course, you know, was the primary, you know, one of the primary objectives. I'm not sure what that traffic enforcement, you know, exactly what that effect had. I don't think it was significant.


  54. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    We brought resources down to Coutts. Well, initially in preparing for the slow rolls and the potential of a blockade we brought some resources at that point. And further to that, that same weekend we brought additional RCMP resources across the province to Coutts. And then later in the week, I believe it was the 3rd of February, we made a request to activate or initiate Article 9 under the Provincial Police Service Agreement to bring in resources from British Columbia. So our folks had been on the ground for almost a week solid, their dayshifts and nightshifts, and such there too, so we were looking to provide some relief for our folks that were working on the protest.


  55. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Right. There is no direct mechanism within the contracts with the municipalities for that. The provincial contract is overarching and allows us to do that and to do that with the municipalities.


  56. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    So when -- and we're able to do that under the Provincial Police Service Agreement, and in Alberta quite frankly we've done it a number of times, you know, obviously in Coutts with obtaining resources from British Columbia. We did it this past summer as well for the Papal visit, which was a significant lift for policing services within Alberta as well, and we've also done it for natural disasters where we needed additional resources to support our policing efforts as well, too. So that request goes out through -- the Commissioner will send a letter to ministers and advising that, yeah, in our case, Alberta would be seeking additional resources under Article 9 of the Provincial Police Services Agreements.


  57. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)



  58. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    It's more the latter.


  59. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Right? And the Commissioner has the authority to draw up to 10 percent of resources from a province to assist in other RCMP jurisdictions for under the contract deemed emergency or extraordinary circumstances or events.


  60. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Specifically to "E" Division, I believe so. I believe we may have accomplished that with some of the protests recently in British Columbia if I recall. I know we sent resources. I don't know if we sent resources in a significant quantity ---


  61. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    --- to trigger Article 9 in the contracts, but I know we assisted with the resources in British Columbia.


  62. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    That’s correct. And that’s -- I'll say, there's significant value in that if you have to bring resources from out of province who have the same training and use the same type of equipment, and you can seamlessly insert them into your operations.


  63. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    I do.


  64. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    The reference I was making using the word "emergency" was to the provincial policing contract. So emergency is defined within the Provincial Police Services Agreement, and it's defined as emergency in the context of a policing situation where additional resources are needed to deal with an event or a developing or a present situation.


  65. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    I would say your emergency would have the same meaning in that context.


  66. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Yes, it would


  67. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Certainly. So it was February 4th when I signed a request for assistance, which is a form that we have to complete when we're desirous of support or assistance from the Canadian Armed Forces. So that request was forwarded through to our national headquarters. And I didn’t hear immediately the results of that request. It was a number of days later when I learned that the request -- that there had been inquiries made with the Canadian Armed Forces at our national headquarters level and that the Canadian Armed Forces did not have the equipment that would be suitable or of assistance to our situation at Coutts.


  68. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    So I was aware that the Government of Alberta were also making a request through to the Canadian Armed Forces for similar assistance. In fact, I had a conversation with government officials where, you know, I think it was myself that had suggested we both should be putting the request forward.


  69. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    That’s correct.


  70. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    I'm aware of the answer that we, as the RCMP, received, and right, I'm not real firm on the answer that the province received.


  71. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Yeah, certainly I can. So of course, as I mentioned earlier, we had made a number of efforts to locate towing capacity. We were unsuccessful. We also looked to see what was available for used or new towing equipment. And it was in those same early days that -- this was from the Government of Alberta made similar efforts, again, contacting towing companies to see if they were available, and then, quite frankly, received the same response as the RCMP received. And however, they also set out to see what might be available on the market for towing equipment, and eventually did purchase used towing equipment, heavy-duty towing equipment to potentially assist at Coutts.


  72. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    It was. As I mentioned, it was acquired, it was moved to southern Alberta and staged, and it was on the 15th of February where the equipment was -- or at least, some of the equipment was moved down to the immediate port of entry, the immediate Coutts area.


  73. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    It was eventually used to move protester vehicles, not in the context of disassembling the blockade, which happened, essentially, on the 14th and the morning of the 15th of February. It was used subsequent to that, I believe later on the 15th or the 16th to remove two or three vehicles that had been involved in an incident the evening of the 13th where a police vehicle at a checkpoint was nearly struck and was forced to take evasive action as a -- one of these vehicles that was seized came at it in a reckless fashion.


  74. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    It was, in the context of those two or three vehicles that I've just described.


  75. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Involved in the incident, but again, after the protest had disassembled.


  76. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Right. So it came to our attention that an individual within the protest group may have had a firearm with him and had displayed it within the protest group. Now, we weren’t successful in following up to obtain any further information around that, so we weren’t able to validate, I'll say, the report that we received.


  77. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Yes, in essence.


  78. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    So it was on the 9th, as you alluded to where we -- when we received some information about a potential cache of firearms at the port of entry, within the protest group. That information came to us through out CCMG folks, and as a result, we undertook some covert investigational methods to further investigate that information, which of course, was very concerning to us and required a very focussed effort and investigation going forward.


  79. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    I'm not sure.


  80. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Could you rephrase that again, please, Counsel?


  81. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    It ---


  82. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)



  83. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Right, of the near collision. And ---


  84. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    --- you're correct. We had planned to execute an operational plan the morning of the 14th of February, in the early morning hours of the 14th we were planning to execute an operational plan in the context of the execution of search warrants and potentially arrests as a result of our investigation around the information that pertained to firearms within the protest group. We were -- we did execute that plan earlier than we initially anticipated, given the near collision, I'll say, with our police vehicle. We came upon -- as a result of that incident, we came upon some of the subjects that we were intending to arrest later that morning. And so for that reason, we made those arrests at that particular time and initiated the enforcement action.


  85. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    So that morning, we executed search warrants at Smuggler's Inn, which was the headquarters for the protest group, or certainly the leadership within the protest group. We executed search warrants at a mobile home and two travel or holiday trailers that were adjacent to that particular residence, and we -- from the mobile home and the travel trailers, we seized a number of firearms. We seized I believe it was 13 long guns, 2 handguns, 2 sets of body armour, a machete, a significant quantity of ammunition as well. We arrested 12 individuals during the course of the execution of that, of those search warrants. And later that same day, on the 14th, we arrested an additional individual who we allege was part of the -- I'll say the cell or the group of four who are today charged with conspiracy to commit murder on police officers, also charged with mischief and charged with possession of weapons dangerous and public peace. So that 13th individual was arrested away from the site. As they travelled to the site, they were arrested between the City of Calgary and the community of Coutts. And it's alleged when they were arrested, that they were -- this individual was in possession of two firearms at that time and heading to the Coutts site.


  86. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Certainly. So four individuals were charged with conspiracy to commit murder. They were also charged with mischief, and they were charged with possession of weapon dangerous. There were additional, I believe, six individuals that were charged with mischief, as well as possession of weapon dangerous. That's 10. I'm obviously missing a little bit here. Yeah, I'd have to refresh my memory on the others there.


  87. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    I believe I may have said that, right.


  88. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    So and as I think about that, I think it was another source of information that did come to us, and that was a result of a covert investigational technique that we had deployed.


  89. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    No, we did not.


  90. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Correct, that's right.


  91. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Yeah, it certainly seemed to have an impact, and quite frankly, I think it obviously contributed to decisions that the protesters made to distance themselves from that group of individuals that had been arrested and charged, and ultimately, dismantle the blockade and move in a different direction.


  92. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Yeah, that was my sense, yes.


  93. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Yeah. I think it's important to say as well that the protest group, or at least the protest leaders, wanted to negotiate their disbursal from the blockade and initially proposed and looked to, you know, potentially address their legal positions or standing as far as any potential charges that they might be facing into the future. So that was put on the table by the protest group; however, it was not accepted in consultation with legal counsel and our policing services.


  94. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    So the agreement was such so that if these negotiations, I'll say, happened in the afternoon of February 14th. Ultimately, it was agreed that the protesters would remove, and at that time it was a lot of farm equipment and tractors that were across and blocking the highways, but that they would remove their equipment and their tractors from the roadways. They would park them alongside in the adjacent lot or field, and they would the keys over to the RCMP. They indicated that they had an interest to remain overnight for one more evening, that they wanted to clean up the site, including cleaning up the site the following morning. So that was the arrangement and the agreement, again through negotiation, that was arrived on late afternoon of February 14th.


  95. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    That’s correct, yes.


  96. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    I would agree.


  97. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    That’s correct.


  98. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Yes, that’s correct.


  99. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)



  100. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Yeah, I think that’s true. I’m not sure how much influence we had in negotiating the lanes to be open, but we certainly put an effort forward. Yes, that’s correct.


  101. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    That’s correct.


  102. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Yes, that’s correct.


  103. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    That was certainly the case in the early days, certainly from, you know, the 29th, 30th, 31st, into that week. There was really an absence of who the leadership was at that particular time. So again, we didn’t make a lot of progress, negotiations, obviously, in that -- those early days.


  104. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    It seemed to. There was certainly individuals that came forward to speak with us. There were individuals that came forward and were speaking to media as well and conveying their messages. And we had a lot of communication with those individuals. Yes.


  105. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    I would say that was the most significant checkpoint, yes.


  106. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)



  107. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    That’s very fair to say. Yes.


  108. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    That’s correct.


  109. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    It does, but, you know, I would say, you know, potentially even from day one, this could have been deemed a criminal event as well. Right? The offensive mischief, blocking/interfering with critical infrastructure, highway, you know, that was very significant. And of course, I think you’re referring to, however, the criminal investigation in relation to the firearms.


  110. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)



  111. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    That’s correct. We initiated those actions before midnight on Sunday the 13th.


  112. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Yes. We were confident we had the needed authorities.


  113. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    So -- and the towing capacity came in right at the end of the blockade situation. Of course, I think I mentioned the towing capability, the heavy- duty towing capability was available on the 14th/the 15th of February.


  114. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Right. We -- it was brought to Coutts on the 15th, the morning of the 15th.


  115. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Can you be more specific in context?


  116. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Yeah, that time was approximately mid-afternoon, mid to late afternoon on February 14th. So as you’re aware, we had made the arrests early in the morning hours of the 13th and 14th, and it was later on the 14th that they first indicated. And they -- I think they went back and forth a bit amongst their group to make their final decision, as I understand it.


  117. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    That was -- again, they wanted to distance themselves from that criminal aspect, that criminal investigation.


  118. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    That’s correct.


  119. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Yeah. And that occurred after the blockade dissolved, I’ll say. Some of the protestors moved to the lawful protest site. Primarily protestors from checkpoint 10, as I understand it, not from the main protest site near the border.


  120. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    I believe some stayed for quite a period of time, a number of weeks, and perhaps beyond as well. Maybe a couple of months in duration. Some. There were never a large number at that particular location, but there were some that certainly seemed, I’ll say, somewhat comfortable or steadfast in their desire to stay.


  121. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    That’s correct.


  122. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    There were no further blockades at the port. That’s correct.


  123. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Thank you.


  124. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)



  125. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)



  126. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    So what I can tell you is that I -- you know, obviously, I think you probably assumed that I haven’t read the ITOs and I’m not familiar with the facts in the ITOs. So I'm not sure how much I can assist with regard to your question.


  127. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)



  128. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Again, I’m going to refrain from getting into any of the details of that particular investigation as those charges are before the courts.


  129. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    And I can appreciate that. It is a news article, right? It’s not from a court document itself. So hence my hesitancy.


  130. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    I don’t believe it’s fair. That’s not my understanding.


  131. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    No, we weren’t aware of them on February 5th.


  132. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    As I mentioned earlier, we became aware of potentially a cache of weapons on the 9th of February.


  133. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Again, I’m very hesitant to comment.


  134. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Thank you.


  135. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    I saw this document just very briefly before I took the stand here this evening.


  136. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Again, I’m not -- I wouldn’t say I'm familiar with the document, sir. I just had it put in front of me a short time ago.


  137. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)



  138. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    I’m not sure that I understand your question.


  139. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    It seems to suggest that, yes.


  140. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    That’s correct.


  141. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)



  142. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Nothing comes to mind at this particular moment.


  143. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    You're asking a very hypothetical question. I don't know that I can comment.


  144. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Thank you.


  145. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Correct. They refused or some were unable to. There were I'll say various reasons why they were not able to assist.


  146. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    I'm sorry, is that a question?


  147. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    And your question is?


  148. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Yes, in regard to the operators in the United States that was some of the feedback we received when we made some of that contact.


  149. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    It could be.


  150. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    I'm not certain.


  151. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    It seemed that when that was put in place on January 15th that the activity in relation to convoys and protests increased.


  152. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)



  153. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)



  154. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Sure. Certainly. So when we sought that assistance after it had fallen through, we learned that some of the companies were subjected to online harassment, negative comments, they -- some were subject to harassing phone calls to their place of work. We also heard that, in particular, one company had been offered a donation, a financial donation in return for withdrawing their assistance or not assisting the police with that situation. So there were a variety of reasons. We -- other responses were, "no, we're busy, we have other work we're doing" and so and so forth. So some seemed connected to Coutts and others perhaps weren't.


  155. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    So I think it started as a protest around the public health measures that had been put in place, both provincially and federally. And as I mentioned earlier, the convoy aspect of protests seemed to initiate or perhaps increase after the January 15th announcement around international travel restrictions.


  156. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    I think they wanted to be heard. I think they wanted the health measures to be revoked or removed or stood down. It seemed that that was the gist or the thrust of their concern.


  157. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    They made that announcement on February 8th, that's correct.


  158. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Well, unfortunately it did in the context of prior to the 8th there was one lane of traffic in each direction open through the port. It was shortly after the announcement on February 8th that the protesters blocked that free lane of travel and communicated to us that they weren't happy with the announcement.


  159. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)



  160. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    That's my understanding, yes.


  161. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Well, there were about six incidents, you know, not unlike I described earlier, where we had to take -- well, let me be more clear. There were approximately six incidents where large equipment, tractors, trucks went through barricades, around barricades, in essence, you know, breaking the perimeter that we had set up. And I would call it a perimeter, but it was a very loose perimeter given the geography of the area, and as I mentioned earlier, the ability to travel through medians and ditches and across fields. So -- but nonetheless, there were about six incidents that really concerned us and the safety of our police officers at that site.


  162. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Yes, it appears to be.


  163. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Yes, it is.


  164. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    So there was another individual that was charged under the Critical Infrastructure Defence Act as well, but not charged in relation to the criminal investigation within the protest group. And I believe one of the individuals that fled -- went through a barricade, and again, the incident where our police officer had to take evasive action, I believe that individual was charged as well.


  165. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    No, that's what I said. There were -- my understanding is there were 12 in relation to the investigation and then the 13th was later that day. Wasn't arrested on site.


  166. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Appears to be.


  167. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Okay. Thank you.


  168. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    About the possibility of additional blockades?


  169. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Doesn't look familiar to me, but I'm sure I can interpret it.


  170. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    So this is subsequent to the dismantling of the blockade?


  171. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    On the 17th at 0900. Okay. No, I don't know that I was privy to that information.


  172. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    I believe I have. If you could scroll to the bottom, that may be helpful. Yes, I have seen this document.


  173. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    My understanding it was used on February 18th as we had, I'll say, stragglers at checkpoint 10 that were still occupying -- not blocking the roadway, but occupying aspects of the roadway in the immediate areas, median, so on and so forth. And they remained at checkpoint 10 even after the dismantling of the main site or the main blockade at the port of entry. And as I understand it, our staff, our police officers presented or handed out this document, this pamphlet to those individuals, encouraging them to disperse or move to a lawful protest site.


  174. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    I believe they did. I believe they eventually did, yes.


  175. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    No, I'm not familiar with it at all.


  176. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)



  177. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)



  178. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    For certain I can tell you that I received that delegation from the Commissioner, and I subsequently made delegations to, I believe, four of my senior officers as well in Alberta. I would assume it was also made in the context of the commanding officer of British Columbia to give him that ability to ---


  179. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    --- do the same.


  180. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    No, they are. As I read here, you know, this individual is indicating his office staff experienced abusive behaviour and threats and so on. It also appears that they have a towing contract with the RCMP, or for the RCMP at Surrey, but because of that, they were reluctant or unable to fulfil that.


  181. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)



  182. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    I believe I do, but I wouldn't mind if we were able to scroll down through it ---


  183. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    --- just quickly. Yes, I do recognize it.


  184. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)



  185. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    I do.


  186. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    That is, yes.


  187. Curtis Zablocki, D/Comm (GC-RCMP)

    Thank you.