Freedom Convoy organizer Tamara Lich is a “political prisoner” targeted by the federal government for holding political views that run counter to its own, says Conservative leadership candidate and MP Leslyn Lewis.
Lewis, who is a lawyer and has tracked Lich’s case, criticized how the Canadian legal system has been “eroded” by a “political vendetta.”
Lich was first arrested on Feb. 17 on charges of mischief, counselling to commit mischief, obstructing police, among other charges, after the Liberal government invoked the Emergencies Act to quell the convoy protest this winter in Ottawa over federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
After initially being denied bail, she was released in March on a number of conditions, including having no contact with fellow convoy organizers.
The Crown presented as evidence a photograph of Lich and fellow convoy organizer Tom Marazzo taken at the event, and a video briefly showing Lich sitting at a table where Marazzo and others were seated.
Lich’s defence had argued that the “less than three-second congratulatory interaction” after Lich had delivered a speech at the awards dinner wouldn’t lead to any illegal activity.
Her new bail conditions included not setting foot in Ottawa except for court appearances, tighter rules around communication with other convoy organizers, and another $37,000 bond. Her initial bond was $25,000.
“Tamara Lich is just one example of what happens when government uses its power to control Canadians, to inflame hate and division and to infest independent institutions with political operatives,” Lewis said in her email.
“Sadly, over the past two years under COVID-19, [Prime Minister] Justin Trudeau and the Liberals have created an environment that has undermined our institutions for political gains," she added.
Checks and BalancesThe current political climate “normalized” acts such as charging and disciplining of doctors with dissenting views, freezing bank accounts, confiscating property of protesters, and "publicly shaming and disclosing the addresses of people who donated to a democratic movement," Lewis said.
“The only solution to cure the fragility of our democracy is to have citizens of all political stripes acknowledge the dangerous course that we are on, and to have courageous leaders involve checks and balances that will compel institutional actors to publicly declare conflicts as well as amend the Emergencies Act to require a minimum of 2/3 of parliament to invoke it,” she said.
“As a prime minister, I will not control who goes to prison, because I am not responsible for making arrests or making judgments—police and judges must make those decisions,” Poilievre answered.
He added that it would be a “disaster” if Canada becomes a country where politicians have the power to “choose who goes to jail.”
“I’m not going to tell you … what kind of sentence anyone is going to get, because it’s not the role of a prime minister—that’s the job of police to lay charges, for Crown attorneys to prosecute charges, for defensive lawyers to defend against the charge, and for judges and juries to deliver verdicts and sentences,” he said.
“I agree with Preston Manning. Under my leadership, Canada will conduct a National Commission of Inquiry into Trudeau’s COVID response, including his unprecedented and irresponsible use of the Emergencies Act,” Charest said.