‘I Felt Cast Out’: Military Vet Tells Court Why He Spoke Against Vaccine Mandates

James Topp says the mandates were imposed in a ‘coercive’ way and ‘done in haste.’
‘I Felt Cast Out’: Military Vet Tells Court Why He Spoke Against Vaccine Mandates
James Topp gives instructions to a group of supporters walking with him on the last day of his trek in Ottawa on June 30, 2022. (Noé Chartier/The Epoch TImes)
Noé Chartier

Military veteran James Topp told a court martial he spoke out publicly against federal vaccine mandates because he felt “cast out” of the organizations he had served in for decades and needed to take a stance.

“I had a very hard time with it because of the way that I felt it was coercive, I felt that it was done in haste,” said Mr. Topp about the vaccine mandates.

The 30-year veteran pleaded guilty to two counts of conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline on Nov. 14 during a court martial in New Westminster, B.C., for having spoken publicly against the mandates.

Two other charges of wearing the uniform inappropriately were dropped by the prosecution.

Vaccine mandates were imposed by the Liberal government in October 2021 and Mr. Topp was affected as a Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) reservist and a civilian employee of the RCMP.

Having been put on leave without pay by the federal police force and in the process of being kicked out of the CAF, Mr. Topp found a job as a tow-truck driver.

“It was a meaningful experience for me because I felt cast out and turned away from these organizations,” he said.

While his new job meant he could provide for himself, Mr. Topp said he was struggling mentally.

“I got to a point where I did not want to live anymore,” he said emotionally. “So I thought about it and in February I decided I needed to do something. So I did.”

It’s what he did at that time that landed Mr. Topp in front of a military judge.

The military veteran with more than 25 years in the Regular Force infantry, with five operational tours under his belt, wore his dress uniform and filmed himself on Feb. 12, 2022.

The two videos he produced resulted in the two charges of conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline, according to section 129 of the National Defence Act.

“I do not believe that the state should have the power over my body and what goes into it,” he said in one of the videos. “End of story.”

Mr. Topp also announced that in protest he would march from Vancouver to Ottawa. Mr. Topp left Vancouver on Feb. 20, 2022, and arrived at the War Memorial in Ottawa four months later on June 30. After travelling to Newfoundland, he completed his cross-country trek by walking back to Ontario.

A sentencing hearing was ongoing on Nov. 15 as of publication. The maximum penalty for Mr. Topp’s actions is a dishonourable discharge.

Noé Chartier is a senior reporter with the Canadian edition of The Epoch Times. Twitter: @NChartierET
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