A memo produced by Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) during the Freedom Convoy admitted that Nazis were not representative of protesters who gathered in Ottawa last winter, and those waving offensive flags represented a “very small” portion of the crowd.
“The Canadian flag was the most prevalent flag on display in the crowd, likely reflecting participants’ belief they are patriotic Canadians standing up for their democratic rights,” said the secret memo, first reported by Blacklock’s Reporter.
“A small number of flags (both purchased and self-created) reflected racist and bigoted world views. The presence of these flags however is not unique to this event and are often seen at anti-lockdown events across the country,” wrote CSIS in a secret memo titled Freedom Convoy 2022: The Imagery and Significance of Flags.
The memo suggests that agents compiled social media posts to analyze the convoy protests. “Within the crowd were a very small number of flags bearing racist or bigoted imagery,” wrote analysts.
Agents also acknowledged that many protesters “added a swastika to their flag, not necessarily to self-identify as Nazis but to imply the Prime Minister and federal government are acting like Nazis by imposing public health mandates.”
“The convoy is part of the broader anti-public health restrictions movement,” said the memo dated Feb. 2. “As with any movement only a small, fringe element supports the use of violence or might be willing to engage in it.”
“The Service is unaware of the presence of ideologically-motivated extremist groups at this weekend’s protests,” wrote the memo. “Freedom of expression is constitutionally protected in Canada.”
On Feb 16. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused Conservative MP Melissa Lantsman for standing “with people who wave swastikas.” Trudeau has yet to apologize to Lantsman, who is Jewish and a descendent of Holocaust survivors.
Early in the protests, Trudeau denounced protesters and described them as supporters wearing “tin foil hats”. He referred to “hateful rhetoric,” “Nazi symbolism” and “racist imagery” when characterizing the convoy.
The Inquiry into the invocation of the Emergencies Act is set to begin on Oct. 13 where many high-profile figures are set to testify including organizers Tamara Lich and Chris Barber. Justin Trudeau is set to make an appearance as well.