Freedom Convoy organizer Tamara Lich attended a second ceremony on Aug. 11 honouring her with the annual George Jonas Freedom Award from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF).
Lich delivered an acceptance speech at the award dinner in Calgary before a sold-out crowd, with guest speaker and former Newfoundland premier Brian Peckford also giving a speech.
“The new Canada taking shape does not resemble anything I want for my grandchildren,” Lich told the audience. “In fact, for many of us, we hardly recognize our beloved country anymore.”
The JCCF, a legal advocacy organization, has awarded the George Jonas Freedom Award for the past five years to honour “one individual each year who has contributed significantly to advancing and preserving freedom in Canada.”
The JCCF officially presented Lich with the award for the first time on June 16 in Toronto.
Lich received the award for “[inspiring] Canadians to exercise their Charter rights and freedoms by participating actively in the democratic process, and [for taking] the initiative to help organize a peaceful protest and serve as one of its leaders.”
She said in her speech that basic freedoms in Canada are under attack.
“All the routine pleasures—the stable life, your belief that people are fundamentally good—that you naively took for granted, they’re all dissolving before our very eyes,” she said.
Lich was arrested and charged with counselling to commit mischief and obstruction of police in mid-February during the Freedom Convoy protest in Ottawa. She was released on bail after spending 18 days in prison under the condition that she stay off social media and not participate in any COVID lockdown or vaccine protests.
She was re-arrested after attending the first award ceremony in Toronto after a court ruled it to be a breach of her bail terms. She was again released on bail on July 26.
Attendees at the Calgary dinner paid $200 for regular tickets and $500 for VIP.
“If you thought the last two years were tough, were nonsensical, then you’d better prepare yourself for the future,” Lich said in her speech. “People are going to lose their minds, and one big challenge is for us to keep sane and keep focused and not let hatred and division get the better of us.”
Speaking after Lich, Peckford said the federal government abused Canadians’ charter rights during the pandemic in unprecedented ways.
“When the so-called pandemic came along two and a half years ago, the Canadian administrative state culled this fertile ground and they wasted no time in doing so,” he said.
The George Jonas Freedom Award is named after the Hungarian-born Canadian author, poet, and columnist who “made freedom a consistent and important theme in all of his writings,” says the JCCF.
The Canadian Press contributed to this report.