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COVID-19

Freedom Convoy leaders’ lawyers argue defendants encouraged peaceful protesting

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From LifeSiteNews

To Anthony Murdoch

Freedom Convoy leader Chris Barber’s legal counsel argued that text messages he sent to both police and fellow protesters during the convoy prove he was not encouraging people to commit crimes

On day 30 of the trial against Freedom Convoy leaders Tamara Lich and Chris Barber, the defense detailed to the court how text message exchanges from one of the leaders showed he was trying to ensure protestors were as respectful as possible and wanted to work with police.  

According to a day 30 update from the Democracy Fund (TDF), which is crowdfunding Lich’s legal costs, defense counsel for Barber, Diane Magas, said that a text conversation between Barber and an “individual known as ‘Big Baller,’” show that “Barber expressed his efforts to cease honking and persuade other truck drivers to follow suit,” in attempt to abide by law enforcement’s request.

Magas also highlighted how a text message exchange between Barber and an Ottawa Police Services (OPS) officer, asking for a “slow roll” on Parliament Hill, “received police support.” 

“These instances, according to Magas, illustrated Barber’s intent for a lawful protest,” noted TDF. 

Magas questioned the Crown’s allegation that the leaders had planned a conspiracy, noting a February 12, 2022, agreement letter between the convoy protesters and the mayor’s office. 

“She questioned whether the Crown implied the mayor’s office was part of the alleged conspiracy,” noted TDF. 

“Magas highlighted a TikTok video on February 16, 2022, with Barber and Canadian lawyer Keith Wilson, where Wilson emphasized that the declaration of the Emergencies Act still permitted peaceful protests. Magas concluded her submissions by asserting that, considering the totality of evidence, the court couldn’t find an agreement for the alleged conspiracies without speculation.” 

In response, the Crown’s counsel said that a “directed verdict would be appropriate if there were no evidence of criminality,” but again argued for their Carter application to proceed.  

On Monday, which was Day 28 of the trial, the defense argued that a Crown request to make it so that criminal charges against one leader should apply to the other leader as well, and vice versa, should not be allowed to take place, as there is no evidence the pair worked in a conspiratorial manner. 

The Crown’s so-called “Carter Application” asks that the judge consider “Barber’s statements and actions to establish the guilt of Lich, and vice versa,” TDF stated.   

TDF noted that this type of application is very “complicated” and requires that the Crown prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that there was a “conspiracy or plan in place and that Lich was a party to it based on direct evidence.”   

On Wednesday in court, the Crown claimed that they did not think of the protests as violent, but “disputed the defense’s characterization of the protests as peaceful.” 

The Crown claimed that non-violent protests could still be “disruptive and result in criminal charges,” as noted by TDF, adding that the court should consider limitations to Charter rights when looking at charges made against the leaders.  

In court, Judge Heather Perkins-McVey reminded the Crown that not everyone involved in the Freedom Convoy was working together. The Crown agreed this was the case.  

On Day 29, Lich’s legal counsel argued that her use of the rallying cry “hold the line” during the 2022 protests did not imply she was calling for people to engage in illegal activity.  

Lich and Barber are facing multiple charges from the 2022 protests, including mischief, counseling mischief, counseling intimidation and obstructing police for taking part in and organizing the anti-mandate Freedom Convoy. As reported by LifeSiteNews at the time, despite the non-violent nature of the protest and the charges, Lich was jailed for weeks before she was granted bail.    

The defense’s application came after the Crown abruptly decided to end its case last Monday, telling the court it would not call forth any new witnesses.    

In early 2022, the Freedom Convoy saw thousands of Canadians from coast to coast come to Ottawa to demand an end to COVID mandates in all forms. Despite the peaceful nature of the protest, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government enacted the Emergencies Act on February 14.  

During the clear-out of protesters after the EA was put in place, one protester, an elderly lady, was trampled by a police horse, and one conservative female reporter was beaten by police and shot with a tear gas canister.   

Lich and Barber’s trial has thus far taken more time than originally planned. LifeSiteNews has been covering the trial extensively.   

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Freedom Convoy organizer sues Trudeau gov’t for freezing his bank account

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From LifeSiteNews

By Anthony Murdoch

the day the EA was invoked, Canadian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland mandated certain bank accounts be frozen under the EA. In total, close to $8 million in funds from 267 people were locked. Additionally, 170 Bitcoin wallets were frozen.

Chris Barber, one of the leaders of the 2022 Freedom Convoy protests against COVID mandates, is suing the federal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for freezing his bank account and hundreds of others involved with the demonstrations after a recent court ruling declared the Emergencies Act (EA) was unconstitutional and unreasonable.

Barber’s lawsuit comes shortly after a Canadian federal court last month ruled that the Trudeau government’s use of the EA to quash the Freedom Convoy in 2022 was unconstitutional. The court ruled that the use of the EA was a direct violation of the Charter and thus “not justified.”

A trucker from Saskatchewan, Barber was heavily involved in the Freedom Convoy, which saw thousands make their way to Ottawa in protest of COVID vaccine mandates and lockdowns. His lawsuit claims that his Charter rights were violated through the dictates of the federal government.

The lawsuit was filed two weeks ago in the Court of King’s Bench in Saskatoon. Among its claims is a section alleging that the federal government abused its power to go after the truckers.

The EA controversially allowed the government to freeze the bank accounts of protesters, conscript tow truck drivers, and arrest people for participating in assemblies the government deemed illegal.

On February 14, 2022, the day the EA was invoked, Canadian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland mandated certain bank accounts be frozen under the EA. In total, close to $8 million in funds from 267 people were locked. Additionally, 170 Bitcoin wallets were frozen.

The freezing of bank accounts by Freeland without a court order was an unprecedented action in Canadian history and was only allowed through the Liberal government’s invocation of the never-before-used EA.

As a result of Freeland’s order, Barber’s bank account was frozen. He owns a trucking company, and according to the lawsuit, the frozen bank account resulted in missed payments as well as defaulting on loans, which negatively impacted his credit rating.

“This disruption deprived (Barber and his wife) of the ability to conduct basic financial transactions and live normal lives, leading to severe inconvenience, hardship, embarrassment, exclusion from modern society, and damaged personal and business relationships,” a portion of the lawsuit reads.

 As for the freezing of bank accounts, Barber’s lawsuit alleges that the Trudeau government’s decision to do this was for the “improper purpose of dissuading and punishing” Freedom Convoy protesters who were exercising their Charter rights.

The lawsuit also lists Barber’s wife along with his trucking business as lead plaintiffs.

At this point, no statement of defense has been filed by the Trudeau government, Global News reported.

According to the lawsuit statement, Barber’s bank personal and business bank accounts were frozen only a day after the Trudeau government enacted the EA. He was not able to withdraw or deposit money or use his credit cards, and even his automatic bill payments were stopped.

According to the lawsuit, Barber “suffered and experienced fear and anxiety due to the anticipated loss of income.”

Barber and Freedom Convoy leader Tamara Lich have been involved in a lengthy trial after being charged and taken to court by the government. The trial has been put on hold, with its resumption date uncertain. It is also not yet clear how the recent court ruling will affect the trial.

LifeSiteNews reported just over a week ago that Lich, Barber and a host of others filed a $2 million lawsuit against the government.

Freedom Convoy lawyer Keith Wilson said Section 24 of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms “gives Canadians the right to sue their government for damages when Charter rights are violated.”

“Doing so affirms the seriousness of respecting Charter rights and is intended to deter future governments from breaching Canadians’ fundamental rights,” he said.

An investigation into the use of the EA, as per Canadian law, was launched by Trudeau. However, it was headed by Liberal-friendly Judge Paul Rouleau, who led the Public Order Emergency Commission. Unsurprisingly, the commission exonerated Trudeau.

Federal and provincial politicians have come out in support of the truckers. Last week, LifeSiteNews reported that newly elected Conservative Legislative Assembly of Alberta (MLA) member Eric Bouchard praised the Freedom Convoy protesters for doing what “was right” in opposing to COVID mandates.

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Trudeau gov’t appeals federal court ruling that Emergencies Act use was ‘not justified’

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From LifeSiteNews

By Clare Marie Merkowsky

Trudeau’s appeal will be heard in the Federal Court of Appeal where he personally appointed 10 out of the 15 judges.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government has appealed the ruling which found that its use of the Emergencies Act in 2022 to crush the Freedom Convoy was “not justified.”

On February 22, the Trudeau government filed an appeal against Federal Court Justice Richard Mosley’s decision that the enactment of the EA to end the 2022 Freedom Convoy protesting COVID mandates violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.   

“The Federal Court erred in fact and law in declaring that the Regulations infringed subsection 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” a copy of the appeal obtained by CBC News alleges.  

The appeal requested that the January decision be overturned, claiming that measures did not violate Charter rights and was justified considering the circumstances.  

The document further claimed that Federal Court’s decision was not accurate because it had the “benefit of hindsight” which the Trudeau government did not have in 2022.  

It argued that the court should have examined if the Trudeau government “had reasonable grounds to believe” that the EA was justified.  

Notably, in the Federal Court of Appeal, where the case will be heard, 10 out of the 15 judges were appointed by Trudeau.    

In addition to 10 of the court justices, Chief Justice Yves de Montigny likewise owes his position to Trudeau. While he was appointed to the court by former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, he was promoted to the role of Chief Justice by Trudeau in November 2023.    

The appeal comes after the landmark decision that Trudeau was “not justified” in invoking the EA to shut down the 2022 Freedom Convoy which protested COVID regulations and vaccine mandates.     

Furthermore, the ruling pointed out that there were other means to end the protest, such as provisions in the Criminal Code, which the province of Alberta had argued at the time.    

The decision stated that, in addition to being an unnecessary measure, the EA had violated Canadians’ Charter rights, specifically infringing on freedom of thought, opinion, and expression.    

On February 14, 2022, the EA was enacted to shut down the Freedom Convoy protest which took place in Ottawa. The popular protest featured thousands of Canadians calling for an end to COVID mandates by camping outside Parliament in Ottawa.     

Measures taken under the EA included freezing the bank accounts of Canadians who donated to the protest.    

Trudeau revoked the EA on February 23 after the protesters had been cleared out. At the time, seven of Canada’s 10 provinces opposed Trudeau’s use of the EA. 

Trudeau had disparaged unvaccinated Canadians, saying those opposing his measures were of a “small, fringe minority” who hold “unacceptable views” and do not “represent the views of Canadians who have been there for each other.”     

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