Freedom Convoy 2022 Organizers Go On Trial in Ottawa

Freedom Convoy 2022 Organizers Go On Trial in Ottawa

In January 2022, Tamara Lich and Chris Barber came to Ottawa as the self-proclaimed leaders of the Freedom Convoy 2022 leaders. On September 05, 2023, they returned to Ottawa and a downtown courthouse to stand on trial for their actions with the Convoy during their 3 weeks occupation of the streets of Ottawa.

BBC England and Washington POST newswires are just two global newspapers writing stories about this trial.

The crown prosecutor, Tim Radcliffe, said that Ms Lich and Mr Barber are not on trial for their political beliefs against COVID-19 public health orders but for the means the two convoy protest organizers used to try and end them.

The Crown will paint a picture in the 16-day trial of Lich and Barber as being at the heart of the protest that gridlocked downtown Ottawa near Parliament Hill for three weeks in January and February 2022. Finally, police moved in to clear the streets.

The story created global attention at the time.

“This occupation was anything but peaceful,” said Radcliffe.

Whereas the rest of Canada, and even Ottawa, may not have felt the inconvenience of the downtown being occupied by the Convoy Protestors, downtown Ottawa was essentially placed into lockdown. Inhabitants feared to leave their residences. Businesses closed up shop, and essential services to the elderly and infirm and most anyone living in downtown Ottawa came to a halt. Downtown Ottawa became a no-go zone. Defecation and urination were ongoing events on the city streets, along with 24-hour-a-day continuous honking of truck horns.

It was not a proud moment for the country or the protestors.

Lich is from Medicine Hat, Alta., and Barber is from Swift Current., Sask. They were part of the original group that mobilized a convoy of big rigs and other vehicles that drove to and then arrived in downtown Ottawa to protest COVID-19 public health orders and the Federal Liberal Government.

They are charged with mischief, counselling others to commit mischief, intimidation and obstructing police. Barber is also charged with counselling others to disobey a court order that banned loud honking in the city’s downtown core. He owns a trucking company in Saskatchewan.

Both Lich and Barber signed an admission acknowledging that the actions of “certain individuals” interfered with the lawful use, enjoyment and operation of property and businesses in downtown Ottawa during the protest.

In a separate document signed by Lich and Barber, Lich admitted that she was a leader, organizer and authorized spokesperson for the convoy protest.

Both appeared in court and sat quietly on a front bench before the Judge as the Crown laid out its case.

Radcliffe told the court that Lich and Barber not only counselled people to come to Ottawa but to remain there, using what the lawyer called their “infamous’; hold the line’; rallying call.”

He said the pair also “pressured decision-makers” and exerted “control and influence” regarding where vehicles were parked, all to achieve the political purpose of ending pandemic health orders, such as vaccine mandates.

“This case is not about their political views,” Radcliffe told the court. “What’s at issue … is the means they employed, not the ends.”

In other words, the actions of Lich and Barber not the results of their actions.

Freedom Convoy was about personal freedoms and choices for the participants of the Convoy; what was ironic is that the occupation of downtown Ottawa and the disrespectful behaviour of the protestors ended up denying the personal freedoms, choices and the day to-day lives of Ottawa citizenry.

Democracy will be on display in an Ottawa courtroom this month. It will be an interesting reveal.