Freedom Convoy Organizers Launch $2 Million Lawsuit Against Federal Government Over Charter Violations

by EditorL

Crowds of protesters demonstrate against COVID-19 mandates and restrictions during the Freedom Convoy protest in downtown Ottawa on Feb. 12, 2022. (Jonathan Ren/The Epoch Times)

The main organizers of the Freedom Convoy have launched a new $2 million lawsuit against the federal government on the two-year anniversary of the Emergencies Act being invoked, claiming that Ottawa violated their Charter rights when invoking the act to end the demonstrations.

“Our goal was, has always been, and will continue to be, holding our federal government agencies and our institutions accountable for breaching the Charter Rights & Freedoms of Canadian Citizens,” protest organizer Tamara Lich told The Epoch Times.

“We will continue our quest for justice and accountability and will exhaust every tool available in order to ensure such violations never occur against the Canadian people again.”

According to lawyer Keith Wilson, organizers Ms. Lich, Chris Barber, Tom Marazzo, Danny Bulford, and “other protestors who were targeted by Justin Trudeau and Chrystia Freeland” submitted lawsuits on Feb. 13.
The Freedom Convoy protest was started as a response to a mandate requiring COVID-19 vaccination for truck drivers crossing the Canada–U.S. border, and resulted in vehicles converging in the nation’s capital. The protest evolved into a larger movement against pandemic mandates and restrictions, with similar protests being held at several Canada–U.S. border crossings.
To end the protests, the federal government invoked the Emergencies Act on Feb. 14, which gave law enforcement expanded powers to arrest demonstrators, freeze the bank accounts of some protestors, and require towing companies to remove protesters’ vehicles from Ottawa’s downtown core.

In a Statement of Claim for Mr. Marazzo filed in the Ontario Superior Court Justice, which was obtained by The Epoch Times, he says his bank accounts and credit cards were frozen on Feb. 15, 2022, after the federal government invoked the Emergencies Act.

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Mr. Marazzo claims that the freezing of his accounts caused “immediate financial instability and fear” as he was unable to access funds to pay for essential services. He says the federal government froze the bank accounts of organizers and protestors to punish them for the “exercising of fundamental Charter rights in the form of protesting government Covid-19 mandates and restrictions.”

The Statement of Claim noted that the text of the Feb. 15 Emergencies Order (EO) prohibited Canadians from participating in public assemblies that “may be reasonably expected to lead to a breach of the peace” by disrupting the movement of persons or goods, interfering with the functioning of critical infrastructure, or supporting threats or acts of violence against persons or property.

“The Plaintiff did not engage in activities listed as a EO Breach of the Peace and should not have been treated as a Designated Person by being deprived of financial services and surveilled by the police and government security agencies,” the statement says.

Court Decision Spurs Lawsuits Against Government

The Statement of Claim accuses the Canadian government of interfering with the plaintiff’s Section 8 Charter Rights, which deal with unreasonable search and seizure. It claims Ottawa did not have lawful authority to issue the EO and freeze Mr. Marazzo’s bank account.

The document also accuses the federal government of Interference with an Economic Interest of the Plaintiff by compelling third-party financial services to deny banking and credit card services to Mr. Marazzo; committing Abuse of Process by barring him from financial services; committing the Tort of Intimidation by forcing him to comply with demands; and committing the tort of Misfeasance of Public Office by exceeding their powers as public officials.

The lawsuits come weeks after a Jan. 23 ruling by Federal Court Justice Richard Mosley, who wrote 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.”
Justice Mosley ruled that invocation of the act infringed the Charter’s 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.” He also ruled that the freezing of protestors’ bank accounts was “not minimally impairing,” as the measure applied everywhere in Canada—including in areas where no protests were occurring—and because there were “less impairing alternatives available” to Ottawa.
Three of the plaintiffs who brought forth the lawsuit that led to that ruling also said they plan to take further legal action against the federal government, the financial institutions that froze bank accounts, and the police officers who brought the protest to an end. They have established an initiative called “The Accountability Project” to fundraise for the planned lawsuit, but are still deciding whether the litigation will take the form of a class-action or a tort suit.

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