Court Denies Bail for Freedom Convoy Organizer Tamara Lich

Court Denies Bail for Freedom Convoy Organizer Tamara Lich
Tamara Lich, organizer for the Freedom Convoy, accompanied by supporters calling for an end to COVID-19 vaccine mandates, delivers a statement during a news conference in Ottawa, on Feb. 3, 2022. (The Canadian Press/Adrian Wyld)
Andrew Chen

An Ontario court has denied bail for Tamara Lich, one of the key organizers of the Freedom Convoy protest that took place in Ottawa’s downtown core opposing federal COVID-19 mandates and restrictions.

An Ottawa court judge issued the decision on Feb. 22, after Lich said during a hearing that she would give up advocacy of the protest and return to Alberta.

Lich, who was arrested in Ottawa on Feb. 17 and charged with counselling to commit mischief, appeared before Ontario Court Justice Julie Bourgeois in a bail hearing on Feb. 19. Bourgeois reserved her bail decision on Lich until today.

“I cannot be reassured that if I release you into the community that you will not reoffend,'' Bourgeois said during the ruling.

“Your detention is necessary for the protection and safety of the public.'’

In addition to holding Lich in custody, Bourgeois ordered Lich to have no contact with other convoy organizers Benjamin Dichter, Christopher Barber, and Daniel Bulford.

Barber was arrested the same day as Lich and released on bail on Feb. 19. Bulford was arrested on Feb. 18 and released 12 hours later with no charges.

Meanwhile, the House of Commons voted on Feb. 21 in favour of the federal government’s use of measures under the Emergencies Act to respond to the protests.

The Liberals and NDP voted to approve the measures, while Conservatives and Bloc Québécois voted against it.

The Senate is scheduled to start its own debate on the measures on Feb. 22.

On Feb. 14, the Liberal government invoked the Emergencies Act to give authorities sweeping additional powers to clear out the protesters that had parked in Ottawa’s downtown core for three weeks, including the ability to compel towing companies to remove trucks from the city’s downtown core.

Several financial measures were also brought in to reduce funding for the protests, such as the broadening of anti-money laundering regulations to encompass crowdfunding platforms and digital currencies. Under the new measures, banks are also able to freeze the accounts of individuals and corporations involved in the protests without a court order.

A majority of provincial premiers have said it was unnecessary to invoke the Emergencies Act.
In a video posted on social media, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney pointed to Alberta and Ottawa’s success in resolving the recent protests blockading the Canada-U.S. border crossings, which were in solidarity with the protests in Ottawa, without the need for additional powers.
Ottawa police said in a statement that as of 8 a.m. Feb. 21, officers have made 196 arrests, with 110 facing a variety of charges. The police also said 115 vehicles connected to the protest have been towed.
The Canadian Press contributed to this article.