Canada dispatch: Ottawa Convoy protestors say they’re ‘dug in’ and awaiting weekend reinforcements
© JURIST (Andrew Warkentin)
Canada dispatch: Ottawa Convoy protestors say they’re ‘dug in’ and awaiting weekend reinforcements

Law students from the University of Ottawa are filing dispatches for JURIST on the “Freedom Convoy” protest in Canada’s capital that has paralyzed the city for over a week. Here, 3L Andrew  Warkintin reports.

In a press conference in downtown Ottawa Wednesday afternoon, “Freedom Convoy” organizers and supporters doubled-down, saying they’re still dug in and intend to remain in Ottawa’s core for the long-haul. This comes amidst attempts by Ottawa police to limit protest activities and an injunction from the Ontario Superior Court to stop continuous honking from trucks within the City of Ottawa.

In attendance at the presser were Randy Hillier, a member of the Ontario provincial legislature, People’s Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier, Pastor Henry Hidebrandt, Dr. Roger Hodkinson, Dr. Paul Alexander, and several other protest organizers. All were adamant in their support for the truckers that are currently log-jamming the nation’s capital. They were also unanimous in their condemnation of current public health orders and vaccine mandates, citing reasons from government overreach to the divisiveness that mandatory vaccinations supposedly pose to society.

All speakers at the press conference reiterated that morale and spirits among the protesters remain high. They also suggested that the number of protestors may increase in the coming weekend upon the arrival of what they called the “Blue Collar Convoy.”

Hillier described this “Blue Collar Convoy” as a group of tradespeople and construction workers that will be joining the protestors in Ottawa this weekend. The scale or number of individuals however remains unclear, with Hillier describing them only as “a large contingent.”

Hillier’s words come on the heels of attempts by Ottawa police to prevent protesters from accessing fuel in order to run their trucks. On February 6, police officers seized 3,200 liters of fuel that was being stored in a parking lot off Coventry Road in Ottawa that was being used as a resupply camp by the protestors.

In addition to these fuel seizures, protestors were dealt a further blow on February 7 when an interlocutory injunction was granted which prohibited the use of horns by the protestors in the City of Ottawa for 10 days. This order comes as part of a class action lawsuit launched by an Ottawa resident seeking $9.8 million in damages. Protestors who violate the order now face possible arrest.

There have also been growing concerns expressed regarding the approximately 100 children who accompanied their parents to the Freedom Convoy protest and are now living in trucks in and around the downtown core. These concerns are currently being discussed among police and the local Children’s Aid Society, which is evaluating next steps. Fumes, noise levels, and living conditions such as cold weather and access to sanitation, make the situation of these children potentially problematic.

At the press conference, a man only identified as Stacey declared that he had made the journey to Ottawa from his ranch in Alberta with his 3 children in tow. JURIST asked Stacey to explain why he did this, despite the groans of supporters who were in attendance. He replied: “They’re learning a lot about their world they live in…they’re seeing the Canada we all knew existed and didn’t know was here.”

The effectiveness of recent court orders and the fuel cut-offs will likely be put to the test this weekend as the number of protestors is likely to increase again. As for the children currently living in the protest zone, time will tell what will happen to them as authorities evaluate their situation on a continuous basis.