CSIS met with jailed Ottawa firebomber before parole denied

The man who firebombed an Ottawa bank in 2010 in the name of First Nations rights was denied parole a few months after CSIS met with him prison, APTN National News has learned.

By Kenneth Jackson and Jorge Barrera
APTN National News
Ottawa – The man who firebombed an Ottawa bank in 2010 in the name of First Nations rights was denied parole a few months after CSIS met with him prison, APTN National News has learned.

According to a friend of the former federal civil servant, CSIS agents sat down with Roger Clement in September 2011 and told him they still considered him to be a domestic terrorism threat.

Clement was later denied parole after a hearing on Mar. 28, 2012.

At that hearing Clement was asked to name the other people involved in the May 18, 2010 firebombing of the Royal Bank branch on Bank St. in the city’s trendy Glebe neighbourhood.

Since his arrest Clement has refused to give up who helped him.

Police believe there are at least two other people involved but he’s the only person who has been convicted of the crime. Police arrested Claude Haridge and Mathew Morgan-Brown along with Clement but charges against them were dropped.

Police called the bombing domestic terrorism.

Clement was sentenced to four years in prison but was credited for five months time served.

“You have not disclosed the identity of your accomplices to the police and told the board today that to do so would violate your principles,” the parole board said in its decision obtained by APTN National News.

The board said he has skewed judgment.

Despite his unwavering belief to not identify his accomplices the parole found Clement to be an otherwise model inmate with a great chance to do well outside prison. A community assessment team also recommended him for day parole.

Clement is serving his sentence at a Kingston, Ont. prison and tests showed he was at a low risk to reoffend.

“Your reintegration potential and motivation are currently assessed as high,” the board stated.

Clement spoke about his accomplices in his hearing and described them as “like-minded people who wanted to draw attention to an issue about which they feel passionate.”

A psychological assessment completed on Feb. 13, 2012 showed Clement is able to distinguish between peaceful social activities and the “violent activities of anarchists” the report stated.

“The psychologist reports that…’tests portrays a clinical profile of an intelligent person who is pro-social in orientation, shows no aggressive/violent tendencies, has heightened skills and abilities for self improvement and is of a low general criminal risk potential,'” said the report.

However, the parole panel of two, said because he won’t name his accomplices it “demonstrates ingrained criminal values to the board.”

Ottawa police were on to the firebombers almost from the start.

It was learned after the arrests the group of “anarchists” had been infiltrated by an Ontario Provincial Police officer who called himself Francois and would attend meetings and demonstrations.

Clement said he joined the group due to the loss of his sister a few months prior and found they lifted his spirits.

It took police just a few hours to identify the truck and the man who rented it. Police then followed Clement to an Internet cafe in Chinatown and watched as he uploaded a video the firebombers recorded of them setting fire to the bank. The video showed two men leaving the bank and the firebomb going off.

The video then had rolling text.

“Royal Bank was a major sponsor of the recently concluded 2010 Olympics on stolen indigenous land. This land was never legally ceded to colonial British Columbia. This hasn’t stopped the government from assuming full ownership of the land and its resources for the benefit of its corporate masters and to the detriment of aboriginal peoples, workers and the poor of the province,” the statement said.

An Ottawa police officer then watched as Clement discard pieces of a broken hard drive and drive three hours to Peterborough, Ont, where he buried the laptop.

APTN National News was able to speak with Clement prior to his arrest after tracking down the SUV used in the firebombing to an Ottawa car rental company near the airport where he had used his credit card to rent the vehicle. In that meeting with APTN, Clement originally denied any involvement in the bombing but was worried he was being followed. Police told APTN that investigators could have arrested Clement earlier but were trying to see if the others would say something over wiretapped phones.

Arrests were made June 18, two months later.

Police said they waited to strengthen their case to support charges of domestic terrorism. Those charges never developed.

Clement pleaded guilty to intentionally causing damage by fire and mischief over $5,000. The Crown’s case against the other two suspects quickly fell apart and were dismissed.

According to the parole report Clement said at the hearing the group of assailants arrived around midnight going to several pubs in the area to observe the bank. They had determined several days earlier the best time to strike was around 3 a.m. when it was less likely cleaners would be in the bank or passers-by in the street.

Clement said one person was designated as a lookout and was to videotape the bombing. Their planning for the attack began in March 2010.

Once they entered the bank Clement poured gasoline on the floor of where ATMs are while an accomplice prepared a Molotov Cocktail.

“It immediately ignited and exploded, causing flying glass and debris in the area,” the report stated. “You told the board you experienced fear immediately afterwards and for a period of some weeks as you hadn’t anticipated significant damage.”

Clement has said throughout he regretted his actions and wouldn’t reoffend. Since his incarceration, Clement has been employed with the inmate committee office and also takes care of common rooms and does repairs.

If he got out he was going to work for a renovation company. Clement told the board he was willing to participate in any required interventions recommended by the board and Correctional Service of Canada.