Former Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall texted advice to convoy organizer, CTV report says

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Former Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall texted advice to a convoy organizer, according to documents obtained by CTV News. (Mark Taylor/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Former Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall texted advice to a convoy organizer, according to documents obtained by CTV News. (Mark Taylor/The Canadian Press - image credit)

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe is facing questions after it was revealed his predecessor had given advice to Freedom Convoy organizers in February, as reported by CTV.

CBC News has reached out to Wall for comment.

According to CTV, Ottawa police obtained the texts, which were sent in February between Wall and convoy organizer Chris Barber, who is from Swift Current, Sask., as is Wall.

The convoy and eventual protest on the streets of Ottawa lasted more than three weeks. Barber and other organizers were later arrested and charged. In February, Barber was granted bail and ordered to leave Ottawa.

According to CTV, Wall's messages to Barber included:

  • Telling him "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."

  • Saying the convoy was "creating elbow room for provinces to move away from the mandates."

  • Saying organizers could declare "a victory of sorts" after provinces started to remove COVID-19 measures.

  • Advising that the organizers donate some money to charity, and suggesting a headline for a potential press release.

On Jan. 25, Wall posted a video and message on his Facebook account of people cheering on the convoy as it travelled east near Maple Creek, Sask.

Wall wrote those heading east had "an earnest message not about the vaccines but about mandates and what they strongly believe to be the wrong policy for Canada."

He wrote "we live in a province that is on high alert when it comes to the prospect of the erosion of freedoms. I'm very thankful for that."

No contact with Barber, did not discuss convoy with Wall: Moe

On Tuesday, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said he did not have contact with Barber and has not discussed the convoy with his predecessor.

"I've had numerous contacts with former premier Brad Wall, we haven't talked about this. To my recollection, I don't believe I've talked to him about the convoy in any way."

When asked about Wall's texts, Moe said Wall is a private citizen who was speaking to a former constituent.

Referring to the CTV story, Moe said Wall's advice was fine.

"Separate yourself from the extreme factions that might find their way into this. Look for opportunities to make your point and leave the area, so it doesn't become an illegal protest. So, I think the advice as you read the article was quite sound.

"When you look at the communication that has come to light it's pretty sound communication."

Moe called Wall's leadership as premier "exemplary."

Travis Reddaway/CBC
Travis Reddaway/CBC

Moe said Tuesday the province will be testifying at upcoming hearings into the federal government's use of the Emergencies Act: "We don't believe the criteria was met to enact the Emergency Act, and we don't believe law enforcement asked for it."

On Jan. 29, as the convoy was converging in Ottawa, Moe issued a letter of support to truckers.

In his post, Moe said federal border policies affecting unvaccinated truck drivers "make no sense."

He pledged support for the message of ending border mandates for truck drivers, and said he would be removing Saskatchewan's proof-of-vaccination or negative test policy.

Less than two weeks later, Moe announced the policies would be ending.

Organizers charged

Barber was initially charged with counselling to commit mischief, counselling to disobey a court order, counselling to obstruct police, and mischief that interferes with the use and enjoyment of property.

In March, the Crown submitted an information sheet from Ottawa police laying out six charges for Barber. He is accused of:

  • Mischief.

  • Counselling mischief.

  • Obstructing police.

  • Counselling to obstruct police.

  • Counselling intimidation.

  • Intimidation by blocking and obstructing one or more highways.

Kirk Hill/Facebook
Kirk Hill/Facebook

Barber's bail conditions stipulate he cannot support the Freedom Convoy in any manner, which includes verbally. He's not allowed to finance the convoy, except to assist other protesters to leave the city, though only through his funds.

Barber is also not permitted to contact fellow organizers Tamara Lich, Daniel Bulford or Patrick King, except in front of lawyers as part of legal proceedings.

Wall's communication not 'out of bounds'

Jim Farney said Wall's messages reported by CTV News "didn't seem that far out of bounds to me or out of bounds at all really."

Farney, a director and associate professor at the Johnson Shoyama graduate school of public policy at the University of Regina, says he found it odd that Wall has not come out and say he does not agree with protesters who are facing criminal charges.

"[Wall] seems to have stopped interacting with folks a week before the Emergencies Act came in, and was saying they needed to marginalize the racists in the party," he said.

Farney said Saskatchewan MPs including former Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer, posed for pictures with protesters in Ottawa early on.

"[Wall] is clearly trying to be the moderate or establishment voice of western alienation," he said. "In the course of engaging with people who are less moderate, he's in conversation with aggrieved and fairly radical folks and that's an indication of how mobilized those groups and those communities are right now."

Farney said he thinks the story is one that "blows up on Twitter and will pass over fairly quickly."

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