Plans for another ‘Freedom Convoy’ in Canada scrapped

Jan 1, 2023, 10:04 PM | Updated: Jan 2, 2023, 12:07 pm

OTTAWA, Canada (AP) — Plans to host a repeat of the “Freedom Convoy” in the Canadian city of Winnipeg have been called off by one of the antigovernment protest groups.

Canada Unity, one of the groups behind the protesters that descended on the capital city of Ottawa last year, made the announcement Monday.

“The Canada Unity Official Freedom Convoy 2.0 Reunion that was scheduled for Feb. 17 to 20th, 2023, is hereby officially being issued a 10-7 ‘out of service,´´ James Bauder wrote on the group’s Facebook page.

Bauder was among dozens of people arrested in February 2022 during the first convoy. He faces charges including mischief, and disobeying court orders and the police. One of his bail conditions bars him from traveling to downtown Ottawa.

In the weeks leading up to the first protest in Ottawa, Bauder penned a “memorandum of understanding” and tried to deliver it to Governor General Mary Simon. It asked her and all sitting senators to sign an agreement that would overthrow the government and make Simon, the senators, Bauder, his wife Sandra and one other man the formal Canadian government.

They would then order all other levels of government to end every COVID-19-related restriction and reinstate workers who were suspended or fired for not being vaccinated.

Organizers said Winnipeg had been chosen for this year’s event because it was in the middle of the country. They said it would be a “peaceful, multi-day assembly,” featuring speeches, ceremonies, events and guest speakers.

The original convoy blocked several areas around Parliament Hill for three weeks. Demonstrations also shut down at least four border crossings elsewhere in the country.

The blockades resulted in the federal government’s decision to invoke the Emergencies Act for the first time.

Bauder, who founded Canada Unity, said in December he would bring a four-day event back to Ottawa, staging it at an undisclosed spot outside the city and making daily trips to Parliament Hill. After police in Ottawa indicated they would have zero tolerance for such an event, Bauder said he would move it to Winnipeg instead.

He has now called that off, too.

Bauder said he is worried he or others could be charged under Ontario’s new Bill 100, which was passed last year after the first convoy protests.

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Plans for another ‘Freedom Convoy’ in Canada scrapped