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Freedom Movement Plans Reunion at Parliament Hill 2 Years After Emergencies Act Invocation

Many people who participated in the Freedom Convoy will return to Parliament Hill for a reunion on Feb. 17, two years after the federal government invoked the Emergencies Act in response to the trucker protest.

“This weekend, we’re planning a commemoration, is probably the best way to put it. We didn’t choose the weekend and the date by accident; this is the time that the Emergencies Act was invoked,” Chris Dacey, one of the organizers, told reporters on Parliament Hill on Feb. 16.

“So we’re going to remember that, we’re going to get together and network, and we’ve got some fun stuff planned as well.”

Mr. Dacey said the event is set to begin at 11:00 a.m., followed by speeches at noon. He said a march is also planned for 2:00 p.m., but organizers are still planning the exact route alongside the Ottawa Police Service.

Mr. Dacey said he was not aware of any vehicles set to join the event, except for a group of people driving to Ottawa to drop off donations at the Capital City Bikers’ Church in Vanier before coming to Parliament Hill.

In a statement to The Epoch Times, the Ottawa Police Service said it was aware of the upcoming event and was “preparing accordingly” by consulting with city, provincial, and federal partners. They said an operational plan is also in place to ensure that no vehicle-based protests happen in the downtown core, which may result in temporary road closures.

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Following Major Court Victory

The event comes a few weeks after a major victory for Freedom Convoy protestors. Federal Court Justice Richard Mosley ruled that the Liberal government’s use of the Emergencies Act did “not bear the hallmarks of reasonableness—justification, transparency, and intelligibility—and was not justified in relation to the relevant factual and legal constraints that were required to be taken into consideration.”

The justice found that the invocation of the act infringed the Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Section 2(b), which deals with “freedom of thought, belief, opinion, and expression,” and
Section 8, which deals with the “right to be secure against unreasonable search seizure.” The freezing of protesters’ bank accounts was also not “minimally impairing,” Justice Mosley said, as the directive was overly broad and there were “less impairing options available.”

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said the Liberal government would appeal the judge’s decision, claiming that their decision to invoke the act was done following “careful deliberation” and was “the necessary thing to do.”

Emboldened by the court ruling, the original organizers of the Freedom Convoy filed a
$2 million lawsuit on Feb. 13 against the federal government for violating their Charter rights when invoking the Emergencies Act. On Feb. 14, a total of 20 people who had their bank accounts frozen due to the Act also
filed a tort lawsuit against federal ministers and financial institutions behind the decision.

Similar Events Held in the Past

The upcoming event is one of several similar protests that have been held since the original 2022 Freedom Convoy, which was started in response to a COVID-19 vaccination mandate and other pandemic restrictions and culminated in vehicles converging in the nation’s capital.

That protest came to an end on the weekend of Feb. 16, after the federal government invoked the Emergencies Act for the first time in Canadian history, giving law enforcement expanded powers to arrest demonstrators and freeze the bank accounts of some protesters. Police officers pushed the demonstrators out of the downtown core in a sophisticated operation that saw nearly 200 people arrested and 76 vehicles towed.

Groups associated with the original Freedom Convoy have since held other events in Ottawa, such as the “Rolling Thunder” biker rally in April 2022 and August 2023, a march alongside Canadian Armed Forces veteran James Topp in June 2022, and a rally in solidarity with Dutch farmers in July 2022.

To avoid a repeat of the Freedom Convoy, which saw vehicles occupy the downtown core and disrupt some residents for three weeks, Ottawa police have set up “vehicular exclusion zones” in response to several of the events. Such measures have not always been successful, with convoys of vehicles managing to sneak downtown during a march held the day before the Rolling Thunder rally, and during the Dutch Farmers’ protest.

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