The RCMP billed taxpayers nearly a quarter-million dollars for buffets at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier while officers cracked down on Freedom Convoy protesters in Ottawa this February. 

An Access to Information and Privacy request obtained by True North reveals that the total costs for breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets in the luxury hotel’s Canadian Room was $234,995.79. 

“The enclosed invoice for the lodgement of RCMP officers, other police services and staff at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier totals $234,995.79 and consists of costs pertaining to meals provided in conference rooms used as shelter/down rooms from February 11th to 25th,” the RCMPs National Division of Financial Management told True North. ”At no time did RCMP members stay in accommodations at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier between January 20, 2022 and March 3, 2022.”

Since officers did not use accommodations at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier, the total bill for their stay in Ottawa is likely much higher.

Lodgement was billed under “events” on the invoice, and dinner buffet services cost up to $12,240. Lunch buffets cost up to $11,340 while the hot breakfast buffet was priced at $9,312. 

Records indicate that the RCMP’s use of the luxury hotel began over a week before police moved in on protesters on Feb. 18. Fairmont Chateau Laurier invoices note the RCMP’s arrival as Feb. 10, with a planned departure date of Feb. 27. 

On Feb. 11, Ontario premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke to US President Joe Biden about ending border blockades. Around the same time, a new Integrated Command Centre was created to allow better coordination of law enforcement. 

Three days later, Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act for the first time ever to quash the Freedom Convoy demonstrations. By Feb. 18, a joint force of federal, provincial and municipal police had established a red zone in Ottawa’s downtown core and had begun to arrest protesters. 

Reports from the time show that police began to move out from their headquarters at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier early in the morning, pushing protesters back from the hotel toward Wellington street. 

The amount billed to the RCMP for buffets suddenly spiked on Feb. 19 and continued at a higher price until the last available invoice on Feb. 23, suggesting a larger number of diners. 

Buffet costs spiked from an average of $4,000 to over $10,000 for the remainder of the stay.