Last Updated on February 22, 2022
Tamara Lich, who emerged as one of the primary leaders of Ottawa’s Freedom Convoy protest, has been denied bail. Lich and other protest leaders were arrested last week and slapped with multiple charges, including “conspiracy to commit mischief”, which could lead to a lengthy jail term.
During the bail hearing, Lich promised to leave Ottawa by car and disavow the protests, saying she would need several days to make those arrangements because she does not have the required vaccine passport enabling her to fly and because her bank accounts are now frozen.
Ultimately, Ontario Court Justice Julie Bourgeois ordered Tamara Lich to remain incarcerated. Bourgeois said she was confident that the protest leader would “reoffend”, even though Lich has yet to be convicted of a crime. “I cannot be reassured that if I release you into the community that you will not reoffend,” Bourgeois said. “Your detention is necessary for the protection and safety of the public.”
In addition to continued imprisonment, Bourgeois ordered Lich to cease contact with fellow organizers Chris Barber, Pat King, Benjamin Ditcher and Daniel Bulford. All were arrested last week and charged with similar offences, though Barber was granted $100,00 bond. King is scheduled for a bond hearing later today.
The Tamara Lich bail decision comes a day after the Canadian House of Commons voted to support the government’s use of extreme measures under the Emergencies Act. The Senate is scheduled to start its own debate on the matter later today. The debate came after Trudeau unilaterally invoked Canada’s Emergencies Act for the first time in the nation’s history, leading to a brutal law enforcement response and financial asset seizures. This response came despite the protest movement remaining entirely peaceful, a sentiment that was echoed by Tamara Lich and other protest leaders in a video statement made shortly before their arrest.
Canada’s brutal protest crackdown has been condemned by numerous U.S. and European politicians. “The prime minister of Canada, the way he’s behaving right now – he’s exactly like a tyrant, like a dictator,” said Cristian Terheș , who serves as a member of the European Parliament. Several U.S. lawmakers have issued similar statements in commendation of the Trudeau government’s actions.
Ottawa Police have reported 196 arrests and have towed 115 vehicles used in the protests.