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News Analysis Mar 21, 2022 9:20 PM EST

Liberals, media spread hoax that freedom protesters committed arson attack on Ottawa apartment building

"There is no information indicating MCDONALD was involved in any way with the Convoy protest which was going on when this arson took place," Ottawa Police wrote Monday.

Liberals, media spread hoax that freedom protesters committed arson attack on Ottawa apartment building
Mia Cathell The Post Millennial

After a fire was lit in a downtown Ottawa apartment over one month ago by a purple-haired suspect and a mask-wearing co-conspirator, Trudeau Liberals and mainstream media reporters fell for the apparent hoax attempting to frame the protesters supporting the weeks-long Freedom Convoy as arsonists.

The updated Ottawa Police Service press release Monday on the month-long arson investigation into the Feb. 6 apartment fire says 21-year-old Connor Russell McDonald, of Ottawa, was charged with one count each of the following: arson disregard for human life, arson causing property damage, mischief to property endangering life, mischief to property, and possessing incendiary material.

"There is no information indicating MCDONALD was involved in any way with the Convoy protest which was going on when this arson took place," police said.

McDonald will appear in court on April 21. A second man is still wanted by police.

The hoax pointing the finger at the pro-freedom protesters was ignited by a tenant living in the Ottawa apartment complex whose Twitter thread that fateful Sunday sparked a social media firestorm. Apartment resident Matias Muñoz disclosed purported harrowing details of the sensational story tying the crime to the Freedom Convoy in a 14-tweet Twitter testimony that sparked public outcry from officeholders and the shaken press—all who added fuel to the proverbial fire.

True North journalist and senior research fellow Cosmin Dzsurdzsa posted a social media clip to Twitter on Monday evening that compiled "every time a Liberal/NDP MP falsely smeared protestors as arsonists in the House of Commons."

Quillette editor Jonathan Kay had compiled an extensive Twitter thread of his own spotlighting the "elite cdn twitteratti who got duped by the hoax arson story."

Kay was at the helm of the self-designated team of citizen journalists who worked to debunk the hoax while the rest of the legacy media apparatus propagated it.

"Aaaaannnnywaayyyy, important thing is that Canadian journalists & politicians are definitely *not* credulously tweeting out this allegation of a mass murder plot without first ensuring that it was fact-checked by, like, anyone... bcuz that'd be crazy, rite? i mean who does that," Kay mocked as the woke mob typed with fury.

"[H]ey remember yesterday, when Cdn twitter cuckoobanana'd over protestors caught RED HANDED in an act of mass murder? cops confirm no one called until 10 hrs later (superintendent reporting burn marks on rug)," Kay quipped Monday.

Kay then referenced convicted American hate crime hoaxer Jussie Smollett.

"It requires a lot of 'emotional labour' for me to keep track of the journalists & politicians who fell for this hoax. I imagine they're in the process of 'correcting' their feeds. But if anyone wants to use this thread as a screenshot catalog, I would appreciate your #allyship," Kay told his thousands of Twitter followers.

"The 'protest' in Ottawa is now insurrection and attempted murder," former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann sounded the alarm, attempting to paint the protest as Canada's own Jan. 6. "There is no excuse for Canada to let it continue. Learn from our failures here in America - get deploy whatever forces are required, and arrest or detain however many thousands must be stopped for the public good."

Global News reporter Rachel Gilmore, a Twitter-verified journalist, broadcasted Muñoz's characterization of events. "Taped. The. Doors. Shut. I feel sick," Gilmore reacted after quote tweeting the downtown Ottawa resident's initial Twitter thread.

"The 'what ifs' here are horrifying," Gilmore tweeted Sunday evening.

"Wow ... so many blue ticks feeling 'sick' about this hoax," Kay commented, posting a screenshot of Gilmore's tweet. "We're gonna need a bigger barf bag."

Gilmore vouched for Muñoz's reputation in the local community and wrote a glowing post that revealed his "irreplaceable music venue," Cinqhole, was forced to close during the COVID-19 pandemic. "Tell me how trying to burn down the home of someone who lost their business during COVID helps your cause," she said.

Toronto Sun columnist Warren Kinsella fired back at a Twitter user who questioned plot holes in the current "arson" narrative. "Apparently nobody called the cops? Ottawa Police Arson Unit boss had to hear about it on Twitter the next day and had to reach out to the person who posted the video?" the skeptic asked.

"So you're saying it didn't happen? Want to to talk to my two friends who have a kid and a grandkid in that building? Would they convince you? Or is Twitter detective work preferred?" Kinsella bombarded the skeptical Twitter user, who was asking the writer pointed questions, with an offended how-dare-you tone.

Kinsella had earlier called the purported arson "mass attempted murder."

When another Twitter user agreed with Kinsella's portrayal of the incident, the columnist further fostered panic: "At a time these bastards knew people would be in there and asleep. And the taping of the doors clearly shows their intent."

"This thread is so chilling and gives a sense of just how dangerous it has become in Ottawa for the people who live here," Columbia University fellow Catherine McKenna, former Minister of Environment and Climate Change, tweeted. "Which also happens to be the nation's capital. It is far beyond time for the city, with the federal government and the province, to end this occupation now."

"This is a disturbing thread," tweeted Parliament Hill reporter Cormac Mac Sweeney for CityNews, mirroring the pearl clutching across the press.

PressProgress editor Luke LeBrun also reacted to the "disturbing thread," stressing that the fire was set "in the middle of the downtown Ottawa truck occupation."

"Metcalfe has been the source of relentless intimidation and harassment by the #OttawaOccupation crowd," Timmins-James Bay NDP MP Charlie Angus commented on Twitter, stating that the "allegations in this thread are very serious" and that he is "pleased that the Ottawa Police arson unit are looking into it."

Far-left extremist Chad Loder, an Antifa member who has glorified violence, was among the unsavory characters who promoted the viral claim placing blame on the Freedom Convoy participants. "This thread details an attempted mass murder by arson attack against an apartment building by Ottawa convoy protestors," he said.

"Extremely peaceful protesters," wrote National Observer columnist Max Fawcett.

Self-described "pro-democracy advocate" Fred Wellman, former Lincoln Project executive director, asked GOP Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, the Lone Star State's Gov. Greg Abbott, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis: "[A]re these your patriots?"

"The anti-vaxx protesters in Ottawa just tried to burn down a residential building," AMERICAblog News editor and attorney John Aravosis tweeted.

"This takes the unlawful behaviour of protesters in Ottawa to another level," tweeted Whitby MP Ryan Turnbull, jumping on the Liberal bandwagon.

"If anyone doubted the threat this protest posed to residents of downtown #Ottawa — this incident shows the kind of danger the community has been living through. The Ottawa Police need to strictly enforce the law and end this occupation," Ottawa Centre MP Yasir Naqvi exhorted, right after Muñoz's post.

"For 12 days Ottawa citizens, businesses and social service agencies have been telling the rest of Canada what these occupiers are doing. And now we can add arson and attempted mass murder," NDP MLA Nahanni Fontaine wrote. "Why hasn't the army been called in to help resource Ottawa police and protect citizens?"

"Looking forward to the 'it's just a couple bad arsoni- uhh, apples' discourse today," ice hockey commentator Jeff Veillette joined in Monday morning.

"The police told people when the occupation started everything would be recorded, and they still pulled a stunt like this. Bunch of rocket scientists, these folks," commented Trudeau's former aid and longtime friend Gerry Butts, who's threatening to sue Dr. Jordan Peterson over a Twitter feud. Peterson has since replied with a fiery response to the disgraced ex-Trudeau advisor's legal threat.

"Chilling and very disturbing," tweeted University of Alberta law professor Ubaka Ogbogu, claiming they're "criminals, not protesters" in downtown Ottawa.

"A bunch of people almost died. This is NOT a 'peaceful protest.' This is basically terrorism," LGBTQ activist and author Amanda Jetté Knox wrote.

CityNews Edmonton reporter Courtney Theriault described the shocking Sunday morning event as "[a] bone-chilling tale of near terror out of Ottawa."

Global News senior political reporter Amanda Connolly followed suit and called it "bone-chillingly horrifying," regurgitating language used by the Twitter press pool.

"I've never seen anything like this in my life," an aghast David Cochrane, a CBC News senior Parliamentary reporter, wrote on Twitter. "It's chilling."

"They taped the doors shut. I shudder to think what could have happened had that bystander not been walking by at that exact moment," reporter Catherine Griwkowsky, a member of Alberta's legislative press gallery, wrote on Twitter.

"JFC. This is awful," tweeted NDP MP Alistair MacGregor.

"This is horrifying," activist-lawyer Caryma Sa'd tweeted.

"This thread is terrifying!" exclaimed TV personality Brandon Gonez.

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