Freedom Convoy Organizer Tamara Lich Arrested in Alberta

By Omid Ghoreishi
Omid Ghoreishi
Omid Ghoreishi
Senior Reporter
Omid Ghoreishi is an Epoch Times reporter based in Toronto.
June 27, 2022 Updated: June 28, 2022

Freedom Convoy organizer Tamara Lich was arrested in her hometown of Medicine Hat, Alberta, on June 27.

Ottawa Police confirmed the arrest in a post on Twitter on June 28, saying it was due to “breach of court conditions.”

“She will be returned to Ottawa to appear in Court,” Ottawa Police Service said.

Eric Granger, a criminal defence lawyer who is representing Lich, said very limited information related to her arrest is available at this time.

“We look forward to receiving further information in due course,” Granger told The Epoch Times in an email.

“Given that Ms. Lich’s conditions were relaxed to some extent at a recent bail review where her strong performance on bail was noted by the judge, we look forward to learning more details in relation to this matter so that we can determine the appropriate next steps in her defence.”

Lich was charged with counselling to commit mischief and obstructing police, among other charges, when she was first arrested in Ottawa on Feb. 17.

She was denied bail on Feb. 22 in a decision by Ontario Court Justice Julie Bourgeois, who said that Lich’s detention was “necessary for the protection and safety of the public.”

Lich appealed the decision, and on March 7, Ontario Superior Court Justice John M. Johnston overturned Bourgeois’s decision by granting her bail. Johnston said Bourgeois’s ruling was too subjective in its assessment of the gravity of Lich’s offences, weighing them against the impacts on Ottawa’s residents rather than other offences in the Criminal Code.

Lich was released after being in custody for 19 days on a $25,000 bond with several bail conditions, including avoiding contact with fellow convoy organizers and refraining from using social media or having someone do so on her behalf.

Epoch Times Photo
Tamara Lich, an organizer of the “Freedom Convoy” that demonstrated for over three weeks in downtown Ottawa to oppose federal COVID-19 mandates, embraces supporters as she leaves the courthouse in Ottawa after being granted bail, on March 7, 2022. (The Canadian Press/Justin Tang)

On June 16, Lich attended a ceremony in Toronto where she received the annual George Jonas Freedom Award presented by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms.

Prior to the award ceremony, crown prosecutors argued that Lich had breached her bail conditions by agreeing to accept the award. But Ontario Superior Court Justice Kevin Phillips ruled on May 25 that she hadn’t violated her bail terms, saying his decision was based on how well Lich’s surety has supervised her, that she had  followed her bail conditions, and that she had a low risk of reoffence after having had “a taste of jail.” Phillips also said that the “courts are not a thought police,” adding that “the objective was to keep a highly problematic street protest from reviving or reoccurring … No court would ever seek to control the possession or manifestation of political views.”

Tom Marazzo, a military veteran who acted as a spokesperson for the Ottawa Freedom Convoy protest in February, urged supporters to remain calm in reaction to Lich’s arrest.

“I know Tamara well enough to know that she would expect us to remain calm,” Marazzo said on Twitter. “Yes, her arrest is shocking. However, we cannot use this as an excuse to behave poorly or break laws in defiance of her arrest. We are, and have always been, a peaceful group. We’ll prove it yet again.”

The Freedom Convoy protest started as a demonstration against the federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate imposed on cross-border truck drivers in January, but expanded into a bigger movement with many joining the cause to protest various COVID-19 mandates and restrictions.

The protests in Ottawa lasted for around three weeks, and ended after the federal government invoked the Emergencies Act on Feb. 14, with police clearing the protests in an escalated operation in a few days.

Andrew Chen and The Canadian Press contributed to this report.

Editor’s note: This article was updated in the morning of June 28 to add more details and comments from Lich’s lawyer. 

Omid Ghoreishi
Senior Reporter
Omid Ghoreishi is an Epoch Times reporter based in Toronto.