1672699484 Confusion Over Announced Cancellation of Freedom Convoy Planned for Winnipeg

Confusion Over Announced Cancellation of ‘Freedom Convoy’ Planned for Winnipeg

The group Canada Unity, which is one of the organizers of last year’s protest in Ottawa, has said it will cancel plans for another rally in late February.

Official Canada Unity Convoy 2.0, scheduled for February 17-20, 2023, enters a 10-7 code – service terminated, group founder James Bauder wrote in a statement posted to Facebook.

But according to another organizer, Ron Clark, others are planning the rally.

In a Facebook post Monday, Ron Clark said he would be online later today to rectify the situation given the confusion surrounding the convoy from what people have been reading for the last few years.

The unit convoy planned for 2023 will take place as planned, he said.

From Ottawa to Winnipeg, security issues

James Bauder originally planned to return to Ottawa for another four-day protest, where participants would gather at an out-of-town location and make daily tours of Parliament Hill.

However, after police indicated they would have a zero-tolerance policy towards such an event, Mr. Bauder announced last December 25 that the event would be moved to the Manitoba capital.

But this plan also failed.

In his Facebook post, Mr. Bauder justified the decision with security risks, without giving any further details, and with personal attacks on him.

Even if Convoy 2.0 were to take place in Manitoba, Bauder is particularly concerned that participants could be charged under Ontario’s new Bill 100, which passed after the first protest last year.

The law prohibits protests at protected transport infrastructure, including airports and border crossings. It also allows police to confiscate driver’s licenses and license plates used in illegal blockades.

Mr Bauder is one of dozens of people arrested during the first convoy in February 2022. He was charged with mischief and disobeying police orders and court orders. One of his bail conditions prevents him from traveling to downtown Ottawa.

Significant impact

The first version of the Freedom Convoy had shut down downtown Ottawa and various border crossings with the United States for several weeks. The federal government used the emergency law for the first time since it was passed to end the demonstration.

In the weeks leading up to the Ottawa protest, Mr. Bauder had drafted a letter of intent and attempted to deliver it to Governor General Mary Simon. He asked her and all of the incumbent senators to sign a deal that would overthrow the government and make Mrs. Simon, senators, his wife Sandra, another man and himself an official in the Canadian government.

This new government would then have ordered all other levels of government to end COVID-19 health restrictions and reinstate workers who had been suspended or fired for not vaccinating.

Mr. Bauder’s group then joined with other organizations to implement the blockade, which also affected several other parts of downtown Ottawa and some provincial legislatures.

However, as events unfolded in Ottawa, Mr. Bauder did not appear to be among the main organizers or leaders.

A public inquiry into the federal government’s decision to invoke the emergency law led to six weeks of public hearings last fall. We were able to discover the details of the chaos and dysfunction that existed both within the various groups organizing the demonstrations and within the police forces.

The final report of this commission of inquiry is expected next month.

The City of Ottawa reported that police and community service costs resulting from the event exceeded $52 million. The city of Windsor, where the closure of the Ambassador Bridge crossing has caused the greatest economic disruption, has estimated police costs at nearly $7 million.

A three-week occupancy in Winnipeg in 2022

Last year, a convoy of truckers also paralyzed a portion of downtown Winnipeg that was occupied from February 4-22. The convoy had lined up in front of the main entrance to the Manitoba Legislative Building. Without having the size of the Ottawa convoy, the rally, honking horns and traffic problems had nonetheless upset the lives of the nearby Winnipeggers.

Three trucks in pretty close-up including one where we can read the word "freedom"parked in front of a bus stop.

In Winnipeg, 2022 truck rally lasted 3 weeks (Archives).

Photo: Radio Canada

After learning another convoy could take place in 2023, opposition group Defend Winnipeg said it fears the Manitoba government, city and police will be unable to handle the situation .

In late December, a spokesman for the Winnipeg Police Service said in an email that police had yet to work with a group organizing the next convoy of truckers.

For its part, the Manitoba government ensures that the right of all to demonstrate does not violate the right of all citizens to live without significant disruption. Actions by participants who do not comply with these principles will be reported to law enforcement, according to a government spokesman.

With information from The Canadian Press