John Carpay – Western Standard
On March 7, 2022, Ontario Superior Court Justice John M. Johnston released Tamara Lich from jail, in accordance with her Charter right to be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. While upholding one of her Charter rights, this judge also violated Tamara Lich’s Charter freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly through the following bail conditions:
“You are not to log on to social media or post any messages on social media. … You are not to allow anyone else to post messages on Social Media on your behalf or indicate your approval for any future protests so long as this release order is in place. … You are not to verbally, or in writing, financially, or by any other means, support anything related to the Freedom Convoy. …”
The violation of a bail condition can result in a fine, imprisonment, or both.
A person who is arrested or put in prison because of his or her political beliefs is a political prisoner. This also holds true for anyone who is wrongfully arrested under trumped-up criminal charges when the real reason for the arrest is having publicly and peacefully opposed government laws, policies or practices.
Tamara Lich was in Ottawa in February as one of many Canadians peacefully protesting for the return of our Charter rights and freedoms, taken away from us two years ago. Ottawa’s police chief, Ontario’s premier and Canada’s prime minister took turns denouncing the truckers as dangerous, racist, violent, Nazis, white supremacists and criminals. In response to this vilification, the peaceful protesters (of many different faiths and ethnicities) shoveled snow, picked up garbage, fed the homeless, waved Canada and Quebec flags, danced in the streets, sang our national anthem, and set up bouncy castles for children.
Tamara Lich called on Canadians to exercise their Charter freedoms of expression, association and assembly, and to do so peacefully and respectfully. In return, she was criminally charged with counselling to commit a criminal offence. She was arrested February 17, 2022, and spent 18 nights in jail. A mother and grandmother, Tamara Lich has no criminal record and poses no danger to anyone. There is simply no justification for stripping her of the basic rights and freedoms that every Canadian citizen enjoys.
Banana republics and fascist dictatorships do not respect the rule of law. Likewise in Canada, the law is not applied equally to all. Protesters for environmentalist, aboriginal and anti-racist causes can get away with criminal activity because governing authorities sympathize with these causes. For example, on July 1, 2021, protesters proudly and publicly vandalized and toppled a statue of Queen Victoria at the Manitoba Legislature while police stood by and watched.
They damaged and destroyed property in violation of section 430, the same Criminal Code section that Tamara Lich and other truckers are now charged with. The vandals were not charged or arrested for their obviously criminal behaviour. In 2020, anti-racism protesters violated public health edicts that prohibited large gatherings, but these protests were approved by government health officials and by politicians, including Prime Minister Trudeau. When protesters harmed Canada’s economy by shutting down railway lines in BC, Ontario and Quebec in February and March of 2020, the Emergencies Act was not even considered, let alone used. “Trudeau will not direct police to break up pipeline protests, sticks to negotiated strategy,” explained one Globe and Mail headline.
In stark contrast, when Canadians protested peacefully in Ottawa against the ongoing violation of their Charter rights and freedoms, a national emergency was declared. Protesters were trampled by police horses and beaten by police truncheons, people were arrested and jailed, and hundreds of Canadians suffered the freezing of their bank accounts.
As one of the fundraisers for the Freedom Convoy, Tamara Lich was arrested on dubious charges and jailed for 18 days. While no longer in jail, she is much like a political prisoner: unable to exercise her Charter freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly. All of this due to having the “wrong” political views, and not because of the fragile charges against her. Her bail conditions are under appeal.