Sep 1/95: Gustafsen Lake-RCMP strategy


Re: The Sundancers at the Gustafsen Lake Site

Sources: Gustafsen Lake Trial; Crown Disclosures

Date: Sept. 1, 1995
To: Supt. Olfert
From: Sgt. Montague

As per our discussion, I am forwarding suggested media strategy.

Issue One:

Mr. CLARK's most recent demand regarding a letter to the Queen suggesting that such a letter being sent will end the standoff.
We can only anticipate that such a ludicrous demand will be given the appropriate negative response by the Attorney General. Regardless, if the RCMP has forwarded the letter to the Attorney General, then the RCMP has already acted on the demand. However the Attorney General responds, it is not our business. If his response is a resounding "no", and I am led to believe it will be that, then the RCMP should take an immediate position on our next move. At this time I am assuming that position will be further negotiation.

RCMP should hold a news conference to announce that we did forward the letter to the Attorney General as per Mr. CLARK's demand. The RCMP should make a statement relative to our intentions respecting our next move in the criminal investigation. This should be done today.

Issue Two: Wolverine and His Band of Thugs

Wolverine (IGNACE) is an advocate of violence in order to advance his political agenda. By definition, he is a terrorist. He attempted to promote violence at Adams Lake and was shunned by the local Natives. He is an opportunist and has completely manipulated a mentally deficient person, Percy ROSETTE. ROSETTE is allowed on the said property by permission of Lyle JAMES and that position has never changed.
The RCMP should send out a clear and concise message which will bring the proper focus to this issue. The agenda being promoted is one of violence engineered by Wolverine and his thugs. The public knows nothing about Wolverine et al and their criminal background. Before the Force makes a physical move the public should be made aware that our actions are being precipitated by the criminal actions of proven criminals.

At a media conference, profile the criminal backgrounds of the occupants.

Issue Three:

The RCMP has put an enormous effort into this operation. Remarkable restraint has been demonstrated. Considerable tax dollars are being spent.
The public should be made aware of this effort. The public must see that the RCMP is capable of flexing its muscle and will only do so if absolutely necessary. Presently, the public might be getting the idea that we are not capable of dealing with this impasse, thus their confidence in the Force could possibly be diminished.

Full media coverage of our resources. Not the operational plan itself, but just the resources. Manpower, ERT, PSD's, FLIRS, Helicopters, Communication Experts, Financial Support, Psychologist, Weaponry, Gas, etc. Provide the media an opportunity to see our new warehouse headquarters.

Issue Four - Morale of Members:

Media is interested in this area. They are always asking. There is a potential danger that members might express views not consistent with our official messaging.
The Force should never allow such a negative message to leak out. If we can prevent internal turmoil from becoming a story, we should. Many members expressed displeasure because they are not well informed on how the decision and strategies are developed. This is due to the quickness of the plan and the remoteness of the area.

Involve the media in a session where you or another commander along with Dr. WEBSTER are explaining the dynamics and soundness of the decision to negotiate a peaceful resolution. With the media present explain how our containment of the area is necessary to preserve evidence respecting the criminal investigation. The ingredients of our operational plan would obviously not be discussed in front of the media.

Issue Five

The terrorist sympathizers have spread the rumour that the ambush was staged by the RCMP.
The RCMP should not allow this rumour to fester.

The RCMP should conduct a news conference showing the damaged vests plus pictures of members injuries. Members will not be identifiable. A qualified ERT person (i.e. Staff Sergeant Hugh STEWART) should participate.


Presently, the media coverage has the general public on our side. The Force has great support and we should strive to ensure that this continues. It can be accomplished by continuing to have a solid pro-active media program. The main component of such a media plan is to have the RCMP available to the media in order to respond to their requests and thereby keeping our position clear on a daily basis.


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