On Tuesday, The Federal Court of Canada decided in favour of the Freedom Convoy protestors. The court ruled that the decision to use the War Measures (Emergencies) Act to respond to the Freedom Convoy was unreasonable and excessive and that the invocation of the Emergencies Act violated sections of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Lawyers from across Canada rejoiced on hearing the news that the Emergencies Act was deemed unconstitutional by the Federal Court of Canada, True North reported.
Now that the court has ruled the government acted without legal justification, what about the protestors who were punished, arrested and, more urgently, those who are still in jail?
The following is the section titled ‘Punishing Protestors’ in the article titled Justin Trudeau’s Canada: A Cautionary Tale of Receding Freedoms, written by Hannes Sarv and published by Freedom Research.
Jordan Peterson warns us that we should pay close attention to how Canada is curbing freedoms. He is right to do so and not only because of his own experience.
“This is where the reader should pay careful attention, Canadian or otherwise, because this is what lies ahead in the West, given the course our [Canadian] leaders and their still-blind and deaf followers are charting,” Peterson wrote in an opinion piece last week.
Peterson’s case is not an isolated incident of how a citizen might be treated in Canada if his or her opinions are not what those in power would expect. The way the Canadian state has behaved towards its citizens in recent years was vividly illustrated in the covid crisis and its aftermath.
Just think of the brute force used by the Canadian state in February 2022 to disperse the people who had been protesting for several weeks in the capital Ottawa, led by truckers, against the vaccine coercion and the senseless covid rules. In addition, the state froze the assets of people and companies involved in the protests.
It is important to note that the protest was entirely peaceful, but the Trudeau government decided to use the Emergencies Act to disperse it. Under this law, the federal government can declare a state of national emergency if something seriously endangers the health and safety of Canadians or seriously threatens the sovereignty, security, and territorial integrity of Canada.
In essence, it is a law to be used in a situation of war – in 1988 it replaced the previous War Measures Act and since then the new law has never been used. The Act gives the federal government a great deal of power – for example, the right to ban and disperse assemblies or to freeze and confiscate the property of individuals.
The unprecedented use of the law was already heavily criticised two years ago, and on Tuesday a Canadian court ruled that its use was not justified.
“I have concluded that the decision to issue the Proclamation (of the Emergencies Act) does not bear the hallmarks of reasonableness – justification, transparency and intelligibility – and was not justified,” Ottawa federal judge Richard Mosley wrote in a statement of the decision. The Trudeau government promised to appeal.
The way in which the organisers of these protests have been treated is also remarkable. Tamara Lich, for example, was arrested on 17 February 2022 and initially refused bail by the court. She was only released on 7 March 2022.
On 7 June of the same year, she was arrested again, accused of violating the conditions of her first release. In particular, this was attributed to her attendance at a gala where she accepted an award for organising protests. The state interpreted this as a breach of the conditions of her release, as she was forbidden to meet other protest organisers who were present at the same gala. In addition, she was banned from social media, but she did participate in one podcast. Again, her bail application was initially rejected and she had to spend almost a month in prison before a higher court agreed to her release.
Although she has not been jailed since then, the story cannot yet be put to bed. Along with another trucker protest organiser, Chris Barber, they still face criminal charges and have to defend themselves in court. They are accused of mischief, obstructing police, counselling others to commit mischief and intimidation. The long and gruelling proceedings themselves are a punishment in this case. But at least Lich was recently allowed back on social media – the ban on its use ended on 21 December last year.
It has been 22 long months since I have been allowed to log in to my Twitter account. @elonmusk did anything interesting happen while I’ve been away???!!?!— Tamara Lich (@LichTamara) December 21, 2023
A Polish-Canadian pastor, Artur Pawlowski, who protested against the restrictions imposed during the covid crisis, was forced to endure a similarly lengthy trial. For failing to comply with the restrictions, he was fined more than 40 times, repeatedly arrested, and kept under house arrest.
He was eventually charged with taking part in the same Freedom Convoy protests. Only instead of Ottawa, he was taking part in blocking a bridge linking Canada to the United States in Coutts. A significant proportion of trade between the two countries passes over this bridge. Pawlowski’s involvement meant he gave a speech to the people protesting there. He was therefore found guilty of mischief for urging truckers to continue the border protest, i.e. blocking traffic on the bridge. For this, he was eventually sentenced to 60 days in prison.
Outside the Covid issue, other recent examples of abuse of power can also be highlighted. We recently wrote in our news round-up about how David Menzies, a reporter for the alternative publication Rebel News, who tried to interview Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, was obstructed by the police and arrested. The whole event was filmed and the police’s conduct led to widespread criticism. It is probably for this reason that Menzies was quickly released and not charged.
Some of the Protestors Are Still in Jail, Years Later
Four Alberta men attended the Coutts, Alberta, blockade in support of Freedom Convoy protests in Ottawa.
On 13 and 14 February 2022, lineman Jerry Morin, landscaper Chris Carbert, electrician Chris Lysak and gravel truck operator Anthony Olienick were arrested on charges of mischief over $5,000. Charges of conspiracy to commit murder were soon added. They were dubbed the Coutts Four.
At 4:30 pm on 14 February, Justin Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act. At the Public Order Emergency Commission in Ottawa, many government officials testified that the arrests in Coutts underscored the need to declare a national emergency.
The Coutts Four have been in custody for 23 months, over 700 days. Denial of bail in Canada is rare. People charged with serious crimes routinely get bail. Even people charged with first-degree murder of a police officer.
Canada has descended into an extremely dark place, Carlson said.
“The freedom Convoy in Ottawa was crushed [with Royal Canadian Mounted Police] smashing the windows of trucks [and] beating up peaceful protesters,” Magill said.
The Coutts Four were at the Freedom Convoy protest exercising their rights to object to government policies, Magill explained. “Due to very powerful forces, they’ve been caught up and railroaded, really, by the government and sort of used as used as pawns.”
After the Freedom Convoy ended, and was crushed by Trudeau and the government, there was an inquest called the Public Order Emergency Commission. Justice Paul Rouleau was appointed Commissioner.
“Justice Rouleau, in his conclusion, about the question of whether or not Justin Trudeau was justified in imposing the Emergencies Act … reluctantly agreed that Trudeau was within his rights,” Magill said. “And most of that hinges on this case in Coutts, which once you investigate it isn’t much of a case at all.”
“These four regular working-class dudes who are at the protest site have now been imprisoned for almost two years. They were denied bail. They’re kept in what’s called remand because they haven’t been convicted of anything. They haven’t faced trial yet so they don’t get the rights afforded to convicted prisoners; they’ve been subject to long stints of solitary confinement and denial of certain medical care.”
“They’ve treated these guys like crap,” Magill said and explained how the Coutts Four have been set up with a false narrative created by state-funded media and a state-funded social justice group called Anti-Hate Network.
Trudeau is vindictive, Magill said. “He can’t be wrong; he can’t admit that the largest peaceful protest in Canadian history was just that, [a peaceful protest].”
Magill has started a Give Send Go campaign for the Coutts Four to raise money for “more robust and competent legal representation” than they have received so far; to “get these men out of jail and re-unite them with their long-suffering families.” You can support the ‘Trudeaus Political Prisoners’ campaign HERE.
If you are unable to watch the video above on Rumble, you can watch it on YouTube HERE.