Freedom Convoy Organizer Concerned That Most Emergencies Act Inquiry Witnesses Are in Government

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Freedom Convoy organizer Benjamin Dichter says he’s concerned that the majority of witnesses appearing before the upcoming public inquiry into the federal government’s use of the Emergencies Act are in the government.

“You have 65 witnesses of, it looks like, if I’m counting correctly, that [50] of the 65 work for the government. Right away, that’s a problem,” Dichter, who was the Freedom Convoy’s spokesperson, told The Epoch Times.

“It’s quite concerning that you have [50] people who are here, of which many of them, if they don’t toe the party narrative, then they’re putting their careers at risk.”

The Liberal government invoked the Emergencies Act on Feb. 14 in response to the Freedom Convoy protests in Ottawa, granting police extraordinary power to clear protesters from the city’s downtown core and also allowing banks to freeze accounts of convoy protesters and their supporters.

After the invocation of the act, protesters in Ottawa were confronted with heavy police presence, including riot police wielding batons and tear gas. In one incident, mounted police advanced toward a crowd of demonstrators and knocked down at least two people, one of whom needed hospital care.

The act was revoked on Feb. 23.

As required by the act, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the creation of the Public Order Emergency Commission (POEC) in April to “examine the circumstances that led to the declaration being issued and the measures taken in response to the emergency.” Trudeau appointed Ontario Appeal Court Justice Paul S. Rouleau to be the POEC’s commissioner.

On Oct. 11, the POEC released its list of the 65 witnesses it expects to appear throughout the six weeks of public hearings running from Oct. 13 to Nov. 25. The list includes 50 individuals who either hold positions in federal, provincial, or municipal government or are employed in the federal or provincial public sector, such as RCMP and OPP officers.

Eight Liberal cabinet members, including Trudeau, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, and Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino, are listed as expected witnesses.

Freedom Convoy Organizers

Besides Dichter, eight protesters who were present in Ottawa during the Freedom Convoy, including organizer Tamara Lich, are also listed as witnesses, but Dichter says not all of the people listed were part of the Freedom Convoy organizing team.

Dichter said that the Freedom Convoy disassociated itself from protester Patrick King, who the commission lists as a witness, in its first GoFundMe page update.

“Pat King does not speak for [the Freedom Convoy] & only represents himself,” Dichter said on Twitter, quoting the now-deleted Freedom Convoy page on the crowdfunding platform GoFundMe.

“I’d never heard of [King] until the Convoy already started,” Dichter told The Epoch Times.

Dichter said when he became aware in late January of King’s presence at the Convoy protests, he immediately contacted Lich and they agreed that the Freedom Convoy would disassociate itself from King and ask him to leave the protests.

In a video King reportedly posted online on Dec. 16, 2021, King said, “The only way this is going to be solved is with bullets,” although it was unclear what he was referring to by “this.” He also spoke about “a massive revolution on a huge scale.”

King, who has been charged in relation to the protests, was released on bail in July.

Dichter noted that there are also prominent Freedom Convoy organizers whom the commission has not listed as witnesses, such as Chris Garrah.

“[Garrah] was on the ground for a week before the trucks came there, organizing everything, staging it, setting it up. The Ottawa police gave him maps of where the truckers need to park,” Dichter said.

He argues that because of Garrah’s heavy involvement in organizing the Convoy, he should have been listed by the commission as a witness.

“I’m going to have to talk about that in my testimony,” Dichter said.

Peter Wilson

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Peter Wilson is a reporter based in Ontario, Canada.





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