In the News
Canadians Need to Prepare for What Comes Next
Charges Laid in Ottawa Occupation
The Ottawa Police Service issued its latest “Update on Police Operations to Remove Unlawful Protesters” at 4:20 pm on February 21 which reported that there had been 196 arrests and that of those arrested, 110 have been charged with various offences. Penalties for the offences depend on how the courts decide to proceed. The crime of mischief or counseling to commit mischief, for example, carries penalties that range from fines of $1,000 to imprisonment for up to ten years.
The police website gives details on only four individuals, including self-proclaimed leaders of the Ottawa occupation. Those charged were:
– Tyson George Billings of High Prairie, Alberta. Billings has been a participant in the convoy from the start and runs the Facebook site Freedom for Us All. He was arrested for encouraging protestors to defy police orders to disperse. He was charged with Mischief, Counselling to Commit the Offence of Disobey Court Order, Obstruct Police and Counselling to Commit the Offence of Obstruct Police. His bail hearing was scheduled for February 22. No information on his bail hearing has been reported.
– Patrick James King of Red Deer, Alberta. King is a purveyor of racist conspiracy theories who has described COVID-19 as a “man-made bioweapon that was put out to make people sick,” and warned of an “endgame” to “depopulate the Anglo-Saxon race.” In a livestream in December about pandemic public health measures he said “The only way this is going to be solved is with bullets.” King was charged with Mischief, Counselling to Commit the Offence of Mischief, Counselling to Commit the Offence of Disobey Court Order, Counselling to Commit the Offence of Obstruct Police. His bail hearing started in the morning of February 22 and continued into the afternoon.
– Tamara Lich of Medicine Hat, Alberta. Lich was one of the first organizers of the convoy and was the secretary of the Maverick Party until her resignation early in February to concentrate her full attention on the convoy. She was charged with Counselling to Commit the Offence of Mischief. On February 22 she was denied bail until at least her next court appearance on March 2. The judge denied bail, saying she was not convinced that Lich would go home, stay there and stop her alleged counselling.
– Christopher James Barber of Swift Current, Saskatchewan. Barber owns a trucking company and employs four drivers besides himself. He was charged with Counselling to Commit the Offense of Mischief, Counselling to Commit the Offence of Disobey Court Order and Counselling to Commit the Offence of Obstruct Police. He was released on bail, on a $100,000 bond with conditions that he leave Ottawa within 24 hours and not associate with others who have been charged.
It is noteworthy that Daniel Bulford, clearly “an influencer,” has not been charged with anything. Bulford is a former RCMP officer and has been referred to as the head of security for the Freedom Convoy. His last post was with the Emergency Response Team at National Division which he says he resigned in December because of opposition to the vaccine mandate. Bulford says he turned himself in to police on February 18 and was arrested for mischief and that he was released 12 hours later after being told by police that he was not being charged. Video of his explanation can be seen here. Nothing is said about why his case did not merit charges. In another video filmed in the context of the Emergencies Act having been invoked and protesters standing their ground, he calls on people to come and join them with signs asking the police to “stand up for Canadians’ rights and freedoms,” adding that “if the enforcement arm stands up for Canadians’ rights and freedoms, this is over!” showing how cagey he is. The video can be seen here.
Officials have also not addressed the significance of having active and former members of police and military at the centre of the activities of the “Freedom Convoy.”
(Renewal Update, posted February 22, 2022)