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Ontario MPP Randy Hillier arrives outside Ottawa Police Services headquarters this past March, a few weeks after the end of the convoy protests on Parliament Hill.Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

The Ontario Provincial Police’s intelligence efforts during last winter’s convoy protests included preparing a detailed profile of a provincial politician who was advocating against pandemic restrictions, along with similar profiles of a former RCMP sniper, a far-right group, several convoy organizers and others, newly released documents show.

The politician, Randy Hillier, was at the time a member of the Ontario Legislature. The OPP profiled him about a week after hundreds of big rigs, pickup trucks and other vehicles streamed into downtown Ottawa, where protesters opposed to the federal government and pandemic mandates entrenched themselves for more than three weeks.

The OPP calls these documents “person of interest” profiles. They catalogue subjects’ connections to the protests, along with their biographies, social-media activity, home addresses, vehicle registrations and any criminal history.

The profiles were tabled earlier this month at the Public Order Emergency Commission, a public inquiry probing whether the federal government broke the law when it invoked the Emergencies Act in response to the protests. While names in the documents are mostly redacted, apparent redaction errors and unredacted biographical details made it possible to identify certain people.

Emergencies Act inquiry to hear from convoy protest organizers this week

The person of interest profiles were created by the OPP’s Provincial Operations Intelligence Bureau, a police document shows. OPP Superintendent Pat Morris, who heads the intelligence bureau, told the inquiry earlier this month that such profiles are put together only when police have reasonable grounds to suspect the people being profiled will be engaged in criminal or illegal activity that might pose a risk to public safety. The OPP completed at least 37 profiles of people or groups linked to the protests.

Several people who were profiled – who mostly could not be identified because of redactions in the documents – have serious criminal charges listed, including one who is a convicted sex offender.

The commission, headed by Justice Paul Rouleau, has completed 12 days of hearings. Witnesses have told the inquiry about what they have characterized as a dysfunctional Ottawa Police Service response to the protests, including issues related to the sharing and assessment of intelligence.

Supt. Morris told the commission that the OPP’s intelligence bureau is responsible for Project Hendon, an intelligence initiative focused on large-scale protests that affect public safety. Hendon’s situation reports – and warnings they contained about protesters possibly remaining in Ottawa for a significant period of time – have been discussed extensively throughout the commission hearings.

Wesley Wark, a senior fellow with the Centre for International Governance Innovation and an expert in national security and intelligence issues, called the release of the OPP profiles “unprecedented” and “staggering.” He said he is not aware of any other person of interest profiles being made public in Canada in the past 40 years.

At some point on Thursday, the profiles were removed from the commission’s website. By Sunday, they had reappeared. While some references to people’s full names had been removed, others had not been.

In response to a detailed list of questions, including about the apparent redaction errors, OPP spokesperson Bill Dickson said the service is not commenting on the commission while its hearings are under way.

During the convoy protests, Mr. Hillier was an independent MPP representing Ontario’s Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston riding. He did not run for re-election in June. While the OPP’s profile of Mr. Hillier redacts his name, it identifies him as a politician and names his former riding. In addition, before the files were removed on Thursday, the document’s file title on the commission website included his full name.

Mr. Hillier is a “regular speaker at anti-Covid events” and was rallying support for the convoy protests in Ottawa, according to the profile, which is dated Feb. 4.

“[Redacted] has been arrested/charged by Provincial Statute numerous times for violating COVID-19 health measures,” it adds. (In 2021, for instance, Mr. Hillier was charged for attending a large church service in Aylmer, Ont., despite pandemic restrictions. The charges were recently dropped.)

The profile also details more than half a dozen complaints the OPP had received about Mr. Hillier, including that he had sent e-mails “advocating for overthrowing the government and preparing for war,” called on people to “bring tar and feathers for the sitting of the Provincial Parliament” and tweeted messages that “verge on counselling an offence.”

Additional OPP profiles appear to focus on two of Mr. Hillier’s children: Chelsea and Dillon Hillier. While Chelsea’s name is redacted from the document itself, the file title for it on the commission website initially included her name. The apparent record for Dillon also redacts his name, but it does reference “his book” and lists the full title of a memoir he published in 2016. Biographical details in the records also match the pair.

Mr. Hillier did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

The OPP also trained their intelligence apparatus on a former RCMP officer named Daniel Bulford, according to documents tabled with the commission. A former sniper and intelligence officer, Mr. Bulford was part of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s security team, but resigned in 2021 because of vaccine mandates, a person of interest profile notes. While most documents about Mr. Bulford redact his name, at least one does not, and several file titles initially included his name.

The profile of Mr. Bulford, dated Jan. 30, says he had been co-operative and “forthcoming with peaceful intentions.” It does not show any criminal charges.

After the profile was written, e-mails show, the OPP wanted to learn more about Mr. Bulford. In one message, dated Feb. 4, Supt. Morris writes to the RCMP, inquiring, “What is his tactical training?” The RCMP’s response is redacted.

According to the e-mails, an OPP analyst pointed out Mr. Bulford had been identified as “Head of Freedom Convoy Security.” This has “obvious security concerns,” the analyst wrote, as Mr. Bulford has, at minimum, “an expert and specialized training-level” tactical knowledge of the Parliament Hill area.

Mr. Bulford told The Globe last week that he never proclaimed himself to be the head of security for the convoy. That was a misrepresentation made by independent media, he said. He characterized the role he performed throughout the convoy protests in Ottawa as “volunteer security co-ordinator and police liaison.”

He refuted the suggestion in the e-mails that he posed a security risk. “I’ve never revealed any kind of sensitive information or revealed any kind of tradecraft that would be protected under the Security of Information Act,” he said.

The OPP also profiled several convoy organizers, including Tamara Lich and Benjamin Dichter. While Ms. Lich’s name is redacted, her profile includes biographical detail sufficient to identify her. An apparent redaction error explicitly identifies Mr. Dichter. Both are slated to testify before the commission, likely this week.

Ms. Lich and Mr. Dichter’s profiles do not list criminal charges, but Ms. Lich was later charged with mischief and other offences related to her role in the protests.

In an e-mail, Mr. Dichter said he would “normally be annoyed” to be profiled by the OPP, “however during the commission, we have seen confirmation of what my friends in law enforcement have been telling me for years – that most of the police brass and political ‘leaders’ are grossly incompetent and politicized to the point they are dangerous.”

Keith Wilson, a lawyer representing Ms. Lich, said that, while she would like to respond to questions sent by The Globe, her bail conditions do not allow her to make public comments about COVID-19 mandates or topics related to the convoy.

Two nearly identical profiles on Christopher Saccoccia, a well-known anti-mask and anti-lockdown figure, were tabled with the commission. In one version, his name is redacted throughout, while in the other it is included on the title page.

Mr. Saccoccia is “known to antagonize and then livestream/photograph interactions with law enforcement,” the OPP profile says. “He is a COVID-19 denier, conspiracy theorist and espouses strong anti-government, misogynistic and anti-Semitic ideologies.”

He has been charged with a number of Criminal Code and provincial offences stemming from his opposition to COVID-19 measures, the document says. Some of those charges date from 2021, when he allegedly threatened to kill Ontario Premier Doug Ford and drove his car at police who were trying to arrest him.

In an e-mail, Mr. Saccoccia said he records videos of officers to “hold them accountable.” He called the charges against him “politically motivated” and “false,” and said they were meant as attacks on his character.

Several other profiles detail lengthy histories of involvement with police, though the subjects’ identities generally could not be determined. One man’s profile leads with the warning, “Caution: HATES POLICE.” Another’s criminal history makes reference to assault and harassment.

A different man’s profile reads: “UNCONFIRMED REPORTS OF HAVING EXTREMIST IDEOLOGY AND BRINGING GUNS TO THE PROTEST IN OTTAWA.”

The police also tracked a pastor who had been involved in protesting COVID-19 measures, as well as a conspiracy theorist who calls herself “the Queen of Canada.”

The OPP also profiled the anti-government far-right group Diagolon. A Feb. 10 profile of the organization says its members are encouraged to possess firearms and ammunition. According to another document tabled with the commission, an OPP officer said in a police meeting on Feb. 11 that Diagolon members were “on ground in Ottawa and in Toronto.”

Someone police believe is linked to the group was charged with assault for throwing gravel at Mr. Trudeau months before the protests, the OPP profile notes. A separate individual profile, dated Feb. 7, appears to correspond with that person. It says he may be carrying weapons and drugs and is marked as “violent” in a national police database. He is wanted “for firearms-related offences” and “awaiting disposition for assault with a weapon,” it notes.