by Joe Martino, The Pulse:
Our team spent 25 days in Ottawa during the Freedom Convoy and got to see first hand the disparity between what was presented in mainstream media about the event and what was actually happening on the ground.
This, like many other moments in the last few years, can feel frustrating as you have millions of people believing something that simply isn’t true. At the same time, moments like this act as a big wake up call for people who decide to venture out of the mainstream narrative and either go see things for themselves or turn on independent media.
TRUTH LIVES on at https://sgtreport.tv/
I personally heard from many people in Canada who previously trusted mainstream media and did not watch independent media. For these people, the Freedom Convoy made them question mainstream media, and now, they compare narratives with independent media more regularly. Some have even stated they are not sure they will trust mainstream media ever again.
I feel that what happened during the Freedom Convoy will provide a wake up call for years to come. One of the ways I wanted to contribute to that awakening was through Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) requests. This is where regular citizens or journalists can reach out to governments asking for transparency about decisions they made or discussions they had. You can get access to things governments don’t want to reveal pubilcly but have to if people ask.
FOIA requests have been the backbone of some of the biggest stories in more modern history. They provide the ‘proof’ that can’t easily be denied by corrupt governments.
Witnessing how the Canadian Federal government, led by Justin Trudeau, and how local governments portrayed the story of the Freedom Convoy to Canadians, I was very intrigued to find out what these governments were saying behind the scenes.
I know that they, the government and mainstream media, know they were manipulating the narrative around the Freedom Convoy, and I thought it was a good idea for Ontarian’s and Canadians to see the truth. So, I sent approximately 10 FOIA requests to various branches of governments around specific inquiries.
Today I want to provide an update on one request that is still outstanding, and how the Ontario government is giving me the run around with it.
Avoiding My Request?
In late April 2022 I sent in a specific request I thought would reveal the ways in which the Ontario government was figuring out how to handle the Freedom Convoy in the early days. It included a look into what some higher ranking government employees were discussing about the event at the time. This would likely reveal strategy, perhaps narrative fabrication, and one other detail I’d like to keep quiet until I get my request back.
From here, the government now has 30 days to respond to me.
I got a phone call in late May from a case worker letting me know this would be a ‘bigger’ request and that we’d need to setup a private and secure inbox for the documents to be transferred when they are ready. A private inbox has been requested before, but never had I received a phone call in the previous 15 or so FOIAs I’ve sent. I’ve also received bills the same as what I got for this request, so I’m not sure what was so “big” about this request. Nonetheless, everything seemed to be on track.
About 35 days later, on June 27, 2022, I received a notice of a 60 day extension on my case, just as their time was running out. This has happened before, so it was no big deal. 3 days later, on June 30, 2022, I received a notice of fee estimation, which was about $2000. As per normal course, I had to pay 50% upfront and agree to pay the other 50% once the work was completed. I paid within days and we move on.
The government now had until August 27th, 2022 to provide documents related to my request.
Here is a quick note on Ontario’s legislation on FOIA request extensions as this will become important later.
“The legislation allows a time extension where it is unreasonable to complete the request within the 30 day time limit. The legislation is not explicit about the amount of allowable time so any time extension must be reasonable and justifiable.”
August 27, 2022 comes along and I was excited to get a notification of my documents as their extension deadline was coming up. But, I didn’t receive any emails or documents.
“I’ll give them a few days” I said to myself, but it’s here and through September 2022 where I forgot about the request as I was busy with other stories and projects.