Despite an instruction to cease such actions, Canadian Special Forces flew a surveillance aircraft above downtown Ottawa protesters. The directive required vehicles and troops of the Canadian Forces to avoid the Ottawa demonstration. However, Canadian Special Forces officials reasoned that they were not required to comply with the instruction since a private defense contractor owned the jet. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged that the flights were part of military training but said that the aircraft was not engaged in monitoring protesters. In anticipation of the arrival of new surveillance aircraft, Canada’s Special Forces performed exercises.
The surveillance technology aboard the modified small passenger aircraft enables the collection of mobile phone calls, radio broadcasts, and other forms of communication. Electro-optical sensors would also allow airplane personnel to monitor the movement of people and vehicles on the ground. The Canadian government paid the United States $188 million for the aircraft.