In a fully developed bureaucracy there is nobody left with whom one can argue, to whom one can represent grievances, on whom the pressures of power can be exerted. Bureaucracy is the form of government in which everybody is deprived of political freedom, of the power to act…” – Hannah Arendt

The Freedom Convoy protests in January-February 2022 in Ottawa, Canada, and several Canada-USA border points, sought to remove pandemic measures, including vaccine passports and quarantine measures. Since the protests ended with the invocation of the Emergencies Act by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, numbers of protesters have ended up in court. Dozens of protesters have had their charges dropped. But other cases have resulted in convictions. And in some cases, when a defendant is acquitted, the Crown has appealed. What follows is a review of some of the circumstances where protesters have been penalized.

The treatment of these protesters stands in contrast with government responses to ongoing public protests in Canada in the ‘pre-pandemic’ history of the nation. In that normative era of Canadian democracy, government responses to protests — even if protesters were shutting down infrastructure — resulted in court verdicts that were measured and light. Certainly compared to the verdicts sought by the Crown in response to numbers of Freedom Convoy protesters.

The Coutts Three

A jury found the Coutts Three guilty of mischief over $5,000 at a courthouse in Lethbridge, Alberta, on April 16, 2024.[1] Marco Van Huigenbois, Alex Van Herk and George Janzen will appear again in court on July 22 for sentencing.

Van Huigenbois, Van Herk and Janzen were each protesting at the Coutts Blockade in 2022. A traffic blockade near the Coutts-Sweetgrass Canada-U.S. border crossing of Alberta Highway 4 began on January 29, 2022. The protests were in support of the Freedom Convoy protests in Ottawa. Van Huigenbois, Van Herk and Janzen have never been held in custody. They were charged with mischief over $5,000 in September 2022, seven months after the Coutts Blockade.[2]

(The Coutts Three are not to be confused with the Coutts Four – Jerry Morin, Chris Lysak, Chris Carbert and Anthony Olienick — who were variously arrested on February 13 and 14, 2022. Morin and Lysak had all their original charges dropped on February 6, 2024, after serving 723 days in custody without bail. They pled to minor firearms offences that usually result in a fine, a jail sentence.[3] Carbert and Olienick have remained behind bars since their arrests — now for over 800 days).

Freedom Convoy protests began in late January 2022 due to the vaccine mandates imposed on truckers entering Canada. In addition, lockdown measures led to the bankruptcy of 120,000 small businesses in 2020.[4] Government officials argued these measures were intended to safeguard public health by curbing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Yet in August 2021, Dr. Rachel Wallensky of the CDC acknowledged on CNN that the vaccine did not prevent infection or halt transmission.[5]

But the vaccine wasn’t just failing to be effective in preventing infection or stopping transmission. In February 2022, a U.S. court forced Pfizer to release its April 2021 “Cumulative Analysis of Post-Authorization Adverse Event Reports.” The April 2021 report disclosed that by the end of February 2021, Pfizer’s Worldwide Safety Branch knew that once the commercial rollout began, 1,223 consumers had experienced a “fatal” outcome after receiving the company’s vaccine.[6] Pfizer’s internal document was stamped ‘confidential’ on each page. Senior Pfizer executives, and the FDA (USA), hoped the document would remain sealed until 2096.

Fatal outcomes in Canada have been quietly acknowledged by Health Canada, as cited in a February 26, 2024 Epoch Times news article. On the Health Canada website, as of January 5, 2024, it was reported that 488 people had officially died as a result of getting the Covid-19 vaccines in Canada. However, Rodney Palmer, a former reporter of 20 years — including with CTV News and CBC Radio and television — told a forum in Washington DC that the Canadian media have “censored” and suppressed this information.[7]

On Feb. 14, 2022, Marco Van Huigenbos, Alex Van Herk and George Janzen addressed Coutts Blockade protesters. This was as a result of the RCMP display of a cache of weapons at a press conference related to the arrest of the Coutts Four.[8] Van Huigenbos and others convinced the protesters to vacate Coutts, and they complied by February 15, 2022. The CBC reported early on February 15, 2022, that “Van Huigenbos said protesters would have ‘loved to stay’ until more of their goals were met but felt it was in their best interests to leave peacefully.”[9]

During the April 2024 trial, several RCMP officers acknowledged that the Coutts Three co-operated with the authorities, and maintained cordial relations. Despite contentions by the Crown the three “spearheaded” the protest, there appeared to be no validity to the claim.

RCMP officer Greg Tulloch testified that there were several “factions” within the larger protest group. These factions had strong disagreements about how to proceed with the protest.

When Greg Tulloch took the stand, he described how Van Huigenbos and Janzen helped him get through the “vehicle blockade to enter Coutts at a time during the protest when access to Coutts from the north via the AB-4 highway was blocked.” Tulloch also testified that Janzen and Van Huigenbos assisted the RCMP in their negotiations with blockade protesters. Tulloch highlighted how Van Huigenbos and Janzen were “able to help move vehicles at times to open lanes on the AB-4 highway to facilitate the flow of traffic in both directions.”

During a cross-examination by George Janzen’s lawyer, Alan Honner, Tulloch stated that he had noticed two of the defendants assisting RCMP with reopening the highway in both directions. In summary, Honner said, “(Marco Van Huigenbos and George Janzen) didn’t close the road; they opened it.”[10]

Mark Wielgosz, an RCMP officer with over 20 years of experience, served as a liaison between law enforcement and protesters at the Coutts blockade. Testifying, he agreed that there was significant disagreement among the Coutts protesters regarding the direction of their demonstration. Video clips from Rebel News, submitted by both the Crown and defence teams, captured these disagreements as demonstrators gathered in the Smuggler’s Saloon, where many protesters convened to discuss and debate their demonstration. Despite his efforts as an RCMP liaison with the protesters, Wielgosz was unable to identify the protest’s leaders.[11]

The Crown argued throughout the trial that the protest unlawfully obstructed people’s access to property on Highway 4. There were no individual complaints by private property owners. There were up to 20,000 protesters at the Coutts Blockade. Yet, these three men were singled out for punishment.

Canada’s Criminal Code defines mischief as follows in Section 430:

Every one commits mischief who wilfully:

(a) destroys or damages property;

(b) renders property dangerous, useless, inoperative or ineffective;

(c) obstructs, interrupts or interferes with the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property; or

(d) obstructs, interrupts or interferes with any person in the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property.[12]

Rebel News reported that “RCMP Superintendent Gordon Corbett … cried while testifying about a female RCMP officer (who) was startled by the movement of a tractor with a large blade during the Coutts blockade/protest.”[13] This was the climax of the trial: A tractor had blades (which they always do) and was moving some distance away from an officer in rural Alberta. The alarmist interpretation of a tractor in the countryside is on par with catastrophizing testimony heard at the Public Order Emergency Commission about protesters in Ottawa playing with their children. Deputy Clerk of the Privy Council, Nathalie Drouin, had expressed concern that Ottawa protesters were using “children as human shields.”

Crown prosecutor, Steven Johnston, seemed to grasp the dubiousness of the key allegation that the Coutts Three were protest leaders. In his closing arguments, he told the jury, “The Crown does not have to prove these men were the leaders.” The jury simply had to be satisfied they were among the many thousands supporting the blockade. On her Substack, Roxanne Halverson observed, “It would seem then, from Johnston’s perspective, that everyone who participated in the protest at Coutts should be on trial with these three men.”[14]

On her Substack, Halverson reported on the instructions to the jury from the judge at the trial.

“ … the presiding judge, Justice Keith Yamauchi, in his charge to the jury, gave the jurors a pretty wide berth in terms of how to go about their deliberations in determining guilt. He told the jury that the criminality of the Coutts blockade wasn’t in dispute because obstructing traffic on a public road without a legitimate cause is unlawful. What’s in question, the judge said, is whether or not the three defendants were guilty of having blocked the road with vehicles or anything else. Yamauchi also told the jury that saying or doing things that motivate others to commit mischief does not automatically amount to commission of the crime of counselling others to mischief. He said mischief is the wilful obstruction of the lawful use, enjoyment, or operation of property. The jury during their deliberations had one question which was about the crime of mischief.”[15]

The jurors asked Justice Yamauchi if the defendants had to be found guilty of all four parts of Section 430, outlining ‘mischief’ in the Criminal Code. The judge said the jury must conclude the Coutts Three were each guilty on all four elements of the crime.

On the Trish Wood is Critical podcast, Van Huigenbos explained “The jury selection process was done in a very transparent manner. Even some of the administrative portions of that selection process that normally happen (out of public view) … Justice Keith Yamauchi decided to do them in open court …. The selection process was fair. It was a Lethbridge (AB) jury. The people who were summoned to attend for the selection process were” from a cross-section “from the community.” The questions about a potential juror bias, during the jury selection, had been agreed to by the defence lawyers and the Crown. Van Huigenbos had no issue with the transparency and selection of the jury. But he added,

“When you take in a Canadian jury. When we take into consideration all the facts — media banned on all sorts of social media platforms … and corrupt, corporate, mainstream media. When we have the majority of Canadians that don’t have access to the facts, and unless you’re privy to this, the facts aren’t readily available. And we have a mainstream bias in Canadian society that leans completely left, and that supports the narrative of the regime (Freedom Convoy protesters were insurrectionists, racists etc.) the elites … in health, in COVID, every topic, we are fighting against a system that is entrenched. So, to expect a different verdict out of any Canadian jury proceeding, that’s a stretch.”[16]

After the verdict, Alex Van Herk, told the National Post, “There’s a reason we went there (Coutts, AB). What was happening in our country and our province at that time forced good people to do uncivil things to be heard. We tried every other avenue. We tried contacting our MLAs, every level of government. They weren’t listening. So, it’s sad that we had to take these kinds of measures to be heard.” Marco Van Huigenbos said he had no regrets. “I’m proud of what we did. Mistakes were made. But government tyranny, government abuse and government overreach have to be countered to maintain a balance in society.”[17]

The Crown portrayed the Coutts Three as protest leaders due to their volunteering to liaise with the RCMP. Who would risk acting as liaison with police at any future peaceful, non-violent protest in Canada, given the depiction of such roles as constituting being “the leader” of a protest?

Marco Van Huigenbos agreed with Trish Wood that the Coutts Three verdict sends a very clear message to Canadians. And it is this: if you want to protest a government policy, and the government doesn’t like what your protest is about — as Trish Wood summarized, “We’re now living in a time where we know that if certain people protest in a certain way, the regime is just not going to allow it, the people now engaged in those protests must accept the fact that they will likely go to jail.”

He added, “I was participating in something that … was illegal in the eyes of Canadian law … blocking critical infrastructure … was illegal.” He reflects that the laws of the land and morality, in relation to what the government put Canadians through these past few years, are completely out of alignment.

Van Huigenbos, Van Herk and Janzen could face a prison sentence of up to ten years.  Marco Van Huigenbos hunches there were factors that led to being charged seven months after the Coutts Blockade ended. One of the first victims of the Coutts protests was Alberta Premier Jason Kenny, whose own party handed him essentially a non-confidence vote at the United Conservative Party convention in May 2022. (Kenny won the vote with 51%).[18] The premier stepped down shortly after. Van Huigenbos believes that his involvement in pushing for a confidence vote for Jason Kenny may have led to his facing charges in September 2022, surrounding the Coutts Blockade.[19]

Trish Wood underlined that what has happened here in Canada during the ‘pandemic’ is not lost on a lot of people, even as many have ‘put behind’ them what happened. In her interview with Marco Van Huigenbos, she detailed a litany of things proven autocratic governments do to suppress their citizens. At the top of the list are “control over travel, physical monitoring, blacklisting and control over assets …. Whatever the form, the aim is to make the lives of political dissenters and human rights defenders exceedingly difficult …. It almost looks like before the Emergencies Act, they went through a list of what they do in Banana Republics and decided that if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough here, too.”

Wood commented on the disconnect between what has recently occurred in Canada, and international democracy watchdogs still listing Canada “as a free country.” She explains, “that’s because these attacks on civic dissent were perpetrated by people who were attacking what is the globalist favorite narrative …. Whether it’s free or not free has to do with what you are protesting.[20]

Coutts Blockade Protester James Sowery

On February 14, 2022, around 11 a.m., James Sowery was driving his hydrovac truck on Highway 4, near Milk River, Alberta. Sowery was leaving the protest to return to work on his farm. He had been at the Coutts blockade to bring firewood for the protesters to keep warm in freezing temperatures. On the highway RCMP Constable Cory Kornicki had been conducting traffic stops. The officer had orange pylons positioned on the highway. However, Constable Kornicki was in his vehicle as Sowery was approaching. When the officer waved at him, Sowery assumed it was a friendly gesture, not an order to stop. There was no officer standing at a checkpoint. Sowery continued his departure on the highway at posted highway speeds. As Sowery drove past the officer, he hit a pylon. When he heard a noise on the front left side of his truck, he began to slow down. At that point, he saw flashing lights behind him. Sowery stopped his truck, got down on his knees and put his hands up.

Christopher John Kirby, the arresting officer, described the event as a “high-risk takedown,” and drew his weapon at James Sowery during the arrest. At the trial, he said, “I could see pieces of a traffic cone or cones, smashed in on the roadway. Constable Kornicki came around in his vehicle, looked pretty frantic he was grabbing for his radio mic, trying to call out to us, he radioed something … that guy tried to hit him.” After James Sowery got out of his truck and got on his knees with his hands in the air, officer Kirby told the court, “I had my pistol drawn at that time, it was what was called a high-risk takedown, I was concerned for my safety, from what I had just witnessed.”[21]

An RCMP press release stated “After a short period of time, the vehicle accelerated and drove at the officers, who had to run out of the way to avoid getting hit.” Now the story in the news was that not one officer was rattled, but multiple RCMP officers were running away from Sowery’s truck.

Constable Kornicki states that he was visibly shaken by the experience. He contends the James Sowery, who was 36 years old at the time of the incident, swerved toward the officer. Sowery was charged with dangerous driving and assault with a weapon, the weapon being the pylon. In March 2022, the CBC reported that James Sowery was connected to a “white supremacist group.”[22] At a trial by jury in March 2023, James Sowery was found guilty of dangerous driving and assault with a weapon.[23] When the CBC reported on the guilty verdict, they dropped the language suggesting James Sowery was an extremist.[24]

James Sowery spoke to Rebel News reporter Sydney Fizzard about why he was at the protest in Coutts. “I got a call from some friends that they (police) had put a fire ban down there. I felt I had an opportunity I could help out. So, I filled the back of my truck up with firewood and took it down to Milk River …. I got a call for a job back up around Didsbury (AB), and decided my time there (at the protest) was complete. So, I decided to take my hydrovac out of the lineup and head towards work …. Down at the blockade it was all peace, love and unity. There was never an act of violence. To have anything against police officers is not my thing.”[25] He stated he has always had a cooperative relationship with police officers his whole life.

On January 29, 2024, James Sowery was sentenced to ten months in prison. A victim impact statement was read during the sentencing. Constable Kornicki said he was “left in shock and reduced to tears on the side of the highway” and the incident “has left a lasting impact on his life.” Justice Glen H. Poleman took into account of James Sowery’s clean record in handing down the sentence.[26]

However, Roxanne Halverson on her Substack points out “The judge’s sentence, most notably, considered Sowery’s actions to be politically motivated for his opposition to COVID-19 mandate, and that a message of deterrence was need to be sent to like-minded individuals. So in other words, don’t protest government policies — even if they are bad policies or you will be punished.”[27]

At the time of James Sowery’s conviction, he had already been in jail for 45 days, and had been out of jail on conditions. Sowery is appealing his conviction and bail, maintaining he is innocent of the charges brought against him.

Ottawa Freedom Convoy Protester Allen Remley

During the Freedom Convoy protests in Ottawa, Allen Remley was accused by the police of running a ‘mobile gas station.’ This turned out to actually be a children’s wagon filled with jerry cans. At the mischief trial before a judge, Justice Heather Perkins-McVey said in her ruling to acquit Remley, “Based on the evidence before me, the best we have is jerry cans in a wagon 10 feet away with dozens of people milling about. If (Remley had) been charged with parking on a one-way street in the wrong direction, so be it, But this is a Criminal Code offence.” Given Allen Remley’s conduct during the Freedom Convoy, Perkins-McVey commented on the absence of evidence, and the lack of clarity regarding what aims or beliefs Remley held with other protesters.

However, in late January 2024, Superior Court Justice Narissa Somji ordered a retrial for Allen Remley. She ruled that mischief “ … goes beyond directly engaging in activities that directly blocks or prohibit people from using and enjoying property for its intended purpose.” Though she agreed that simply being on the scene of the protest was not sufficient to prove Remley’s guilt, Somji found the lower court decision was flawed. She said the lower court didn’t take into account “the evidence as a whole, including evidence of the ongoing protest.” This suggests that an individual’s mischief charge can be conflated with the conduct of all the protesters writ large. This is a very concerning line of thinking. Now Allen Remley will have to hire lawyers to defend himself in a retrial.[28]

Ottawa Protester Jason (Jay) Vanderweir

On March 19, 2024, Justice Peter Wright ruled that Freedom Convoy protester Jason Vanderweir was guilty of two counts of mischief. The verdict was handed down 25 months after the protests ended in Ottawa in February 2022. The judge reasoned that the Freedom Convoy itself constituted mischief. Therefore, anyone participating in the protest would be guilty of mischief. The defendants’ lawyer, David Anber, commented “Here’s what was interesting is that there’s no specific evidence of what Jason did himself.”[29] The case raises larger questions about constitutional rights of Canadian citizens, and civil liberties. Do Canadians have the right to protest policies that they view constitute government overreach?

Roxanne Halverson notes, “A truck driver and beef farmer from just outside of Niagara Falls, when he decided to go to Ottawa to join the protest Vanderwier took his own accommodations along by putting an ice-fishing hut on the back of his Freightliner truck. Upon his arrival in the city police directed him where to park, which was on Wellington Street, right in front of Parliament where he stayed for the duration of the protest.” Vanderweir installed cameras initially for security. But when satellite internet equipment was provided by a stranger at the protest, the beef farmer began live streaming on YouTube. The disconnect between what his live stream showed going on at the protests, and the mainstream media depiction of the protest as an “insurrection” by a bunch of “Nazis” and “white supremacists” was laid bare. The CBC, CTV, Global News and others were lying to Canadians about the protest.[30]

Vanderweir’s live streaming of the Freedom Convoy protests, showing they were peaceful, even joyful, may have motivated police to make an example out of him. After all, there were as many as 18,000 protesters on different days, for three weeks. Jay Vanderweir is consulting with his lawyer about a decision to appeal the guilty verdict.

Part of the wider context of the Freedom Convoy protest that both Justice Somji and Wright seem to be missing is the legality of the Ottawa protest. Ontario Superior Court Justice Hugh McLean gave a court order on February 7, 2022. His injunction was to have the honking of protest vehicles horns cease from February 7 to 16, 2022. As long as the protesters adhered to the terms of his Order, the convoy protesters “remain at liberty to engage in a peaceful, lawful, and safe protest.”[31] When the Trudeau government invoked the Emergencies Act on February 14, 2022, the language of the proclamation didn’t state that the protest was ‘illegal’.

Part of the wider context Justice Somji and Justice Wright should look to is the Judicial Review by Justice Richard Mosley at a Federal Court. The Judicial Review concluded that Prime Minister Trudeau’s decision to invoke the Emergencies Act, was both illegal, unconstitutional and unjustified. In his ruling, Justice Richard Mosley conceded the protest was annoying and an inconvenience to many Ottawa residents. But he agreed that Canadian citizens were within their constitutional rights to protest the government measures.[32] The government is appealing the Federal Court ruling.

However, it seems the judiciary in the main are ignoring the Mosley decision and pursuing Freedom Convoy protesters in the courts.

The Coutts Two

Tony Olienick and Chris Carbert remain in custody without bail for over 800 days. Their co-accused, Chris Lysak and Jerry Morin — of the original Coutts Four[33] — had all the charges in the original indictment dropped. Olienick has told me that the Crown offered a reduced sentence on charges against him — including conspiracy to commit murder — if he would plea to the charge of sedition. Olienick, who has been in solitary confinement for over 80 days, refused.

Chris Carbert and Tony Olienick will face of jury of their peers in a trial later this spring.

Tamara Lich and Chris Barber

The face of the Freedom Convoy protest was Metis grandmother Tamara Lich. Along with another key volunteer, Chris Barber, she has been charged with mischief. A mischief trial in Canada typically runs for half a day. Lich and Barber’s trial began in September 2023 before Justice Heather Perkins-McVey. It appears the trial will run for nearly 50 non-consecutive days into late August 2024. Given the habit of the Crown not being satisfied when Freedom Convoy protesters are acquitted of their charges, if Lich and Barber are acquitted, the Crown will appeal.

Government Response to Public Protests in Canada Before the Vaccine Mandates

Overlapping the start of the pandemic, between January 4 and March 20, 2020, there were nationwide protests against Canadian government policies by mostly First Nations Canadians. During the protests the construction of a pipeline on the west coast was disrupted. Ferry terminals in British Columbia were faced with protests on and off for weeks leading to cancellation of ferry sailings. Rail line junction boxes were sabotaged. A highway was blockaded. Almost all of the Canadian National Railway service was shut down for over a month from coast to coast, disrupting transport of goods across Canada and into the United States.[34] Shortages of chlorine for drinking water, and propane to heat homes in winter, were among the concerns retail and industry groups expressed to the Trudeau government.[35] Canada’s passenger rail service, Via Rail, was shut down for over a month. This led to layoffs of over a thousand workers.[36] Grocery stores reported seeing some of their shelves go empty, especially dry goods, sugar, toiletries and condiments.[37] Go Transit service for commuters between Toronto and Niagara Falls were disrupted. Throughout almost eleven weeks of protests in 2020, the Prime Minister maintained that it was important to engage in dialogue to resolve matters.[38]

Through the 1980s and up to 1994, there were environmental protests of clear-cut logging, including the old growth forest in Clayoquot Sound on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. In mid-1993, 11,000 protesters shut down private logging roads of the MacMillan Bloedel forestry company.[39] Simultaneously, over 5,000 pro-logging protesters, mostly from the towns of Tofino and Ucluelet, sought to have logging continue.[40] Over 850 anti-logging protesters were arrested. Most got a suspended sentence. Some protesters got fined between $250 and $3,000. Dozens of protesters ended up in jail with sentences ranging between 45 days and six months. At the time, civil unrest could result in serving time in jail. But, compared to the recent charges sought by the Crown for the Freedom Convoy protesters, previous sentences were a slap on the wrist.

Democratic Index

In all of these cases, individual citizens have to raise tens of thousands, and often hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend themselves. Meanwhile, the Canadian Government spends millions of taxpayer dollars fighting these cases. It was learned in late April 2024 that the government spent over $2.2 million fighting the legal challenge to its invocation of the Emergencies Act.[41]

In the spring of 2024, Health Canada continues to push the Covid-19 vaccines as “safe and effective.” Yet, they quietly admit on their website that as of January 5, 2024, 488 Canadians had a “fatal” outcome from taking the product that was rushed to market. Canada has been drifting from the healthy democracy it knew in past decades.[42] It’s not a classic totalitarian regime like East Germany, or Stalin’s Soviet Union. But Canada resembles more and more what Sheldon Wolin describes as being in the zone variously of “Inverted Totalitarianism” and/or a “Managed Democracy.” The Canadian government is exploiting the legal and political constraints of the established democratic system, and seemingly using these constraints to defeat their original purpose.

Dissent may be allowed, but based on how much it pleases the government in power. Meanwhile, the mainstream media serves as a filter. It allows most people with limited time to keep themselves apprised of current events who hear only points of view the media (who are funded largely by the government) deem serious. The state’s continuous use of propaganda prevents the electorate from seeing through the lies and half-truths presented to them as news.[43] As Marco Van Huigenbos notes, many of the facts, and even developments of these, and other cases, are off the radar for most people in Canada.

Senior litigator for The Democracy Fund, Mark Joseph, has made this comment about the legal landscape in Canada during the ‘pandemic era.’ “The Rule of Law requires that laws be published. Why? Because if people don’t know the law, they cannot properly guide their conduct in reference to it. But during the pandemic, governments were making or changing laws weekly, through a legal instrument called Orders-in-council (these things could be issued without the need to consult law-makers or administrative regulators). The problem was that laws were changed so quickly that citizens did not and could not know the state of the law at any one time: we had clients who were charged with breaking a law that was not published until days after the offence date.” [44]


[1]    Graveland, Bill, “Three men involved in 2022 Coutts border blockade found guilty of mischief by jury,” National Post, April 16, 2024. [Newspaper]

[2]    Grant, Meghan, “Fort Macleod councillor, 2 other ‘key participants’ charged in Coutts border blockades,” CBC, September 16, 2022. [Website]

[3]    McGinnis, Ray, “Two of the Coutts Four released in a shocking twist in the case,” Troy Media, February 8, 2024. [Website]

[4]    “120,000 small Canadian businesses closed down during 2020 lockdowns,” Farmers Forum, March 27, 2024. [Website]

[5]    “CDC Director Rochelle Walensky tells Wolf Blitzer that COVID Vaccines won’t prevent transmission,” CNN, August 5, 2021. [Website]

[6]    “5.3.6 Cumulative Analysis Of Post-Authorization Adverse Event Reports Of PF-07302048 (BNT162B2) Received Through 28-FEB-2021,” Worldwide Safety, Pfizer, April 30, 2021, p. 7. [Document]

[7]    Horwood, Matthew, “Canadians Speak at Washington ‘COVID Cartel’ Forum Chaired by Senator,” The Epoch Times, February 26, 2024. [Website]

[8]    Macfarlane, Bill, “Analysis of guns and ammunition seized near Coutts, Alta. Blockade,” CTV, February 15, 2022. [Website]

[9]    “’Threat was very serious’: RCMP provide update on Coutts arrests after blockade ends,” CBC, February 15, 2022. [Website]

[10] Kraychick, Robert, “Coutts Three found guilty of mischief over $5,000 by jury, maintain moral position of protest,” Rebel News, April 17, 2024. [Website]

[11] Kraychick, Robert, “Coutts Three trial: RCMP officer agrees that ‘strong disagreement’ existed among protesters,” Rebel News, April 10, 2024. [Website]

[12] “Criminal Justice: Mischief: Section 430,” Government of Canada, April 16, 2024. [Website]

[13] Kraychick, Robert, “RCMP Superintendent Gordon Corbett…,” Twitter, April 11, 2024, 12:16PM [Twitter]

[14] Halverson, Roxanne, “Coutts Three Found Guilty but Have No Regrets About Their Roles in the Protest,” The Intrepid Viking, April 19, 2024. [Website]

[15] Ibid.

[16] Wood, Trish, “Marco Van Huigenbos: Protest and Prison,” Trish Wood is Critical, April 21, 2024. [Website]

[17] Graveland, Bill, “Jury Finds Coutts Blockade Leaders Guilty Of Mischief,” National Post, April 17, 2024. [Newspaper]

[18] Bellefontaine, Michelle, “Alberta Premier Jason Kenny resigning as UCP leader despite narrow win in leadership review,” CBC, May 17, 2022. [Website]

[19] Wood, Trish, “Marco Van Huigenbos: Protest and Prison,” Trish Wood is Critical, April 21, 2024. [Website]

[20] Ibid.

[21] Fizzard, Sydney, “Coutts blockade supporter hopes to overturn dangerous driving, assault verdicts,” Rebel News, April 4, 2023. [Website]

[22] Grant, Meghan, “Police vs. vehicles: RCMP lay more charges connected to Coutts protests,” CBC, March 16, 2022. [Website]

[23] Fizzard, Sydney, “Breaking: Coutts blockade supporter found guilty on charges,” Rebel News, March 24, 2023. [Website]

[24] Grant, Meghan, “Coutts protester guilty of assault at checkstop for driving truck at officer,” CBC, March 23, 2023. [Website]

[25] Fizzard, Sydney, “Coutts blockade supporter hopes to overturn dangerous driving, assault verdicts,” Rebel News, April 4, 2023. [Website]

[26] Jones, Sarah, “Alberta man sentenced 10 months for charges laid during Coutts protest,” Global News, January 29, 2024. [Website]

[27] Halverson, Roxanne, “Not Good News for the Lich-Barber Trial, the Coutts Four or Others Charged in Freedom Convoy,” The Intrepid Viking, February 1, 2024. [Website]

[28] Osman, Laura, “Protester’s overturned acquittal could have impact on convoy protest case: expert,” Ottawa Citizen, January 31, 2024. [Website]

[29] Lavoie, Alexandra, “Freedom Convoy trucker found guilty of mischief over two years after Emergencies Act invocation,” Rebel News, March 22, 2024. [Website]

[30] Halverson, Roxanne, “Judge Says Convoy Itself was ‘Mischief’, Ergo – Protester Charged with Mischief, Must be Guilty,” The Intrepid Viking, March 25, 2024. [Website]

[31] “READ COURT DOCUMENT: Lawyer says judge sees the Freedom Convoy protest as peaceful and lawful,” Farmer’s Forum, April 13, 2022. [Website]

[32] Mosley, The Honourable Mr. Justice Richard, “Reasons for Judgment: Jeremiah Jost, Edward Cornell v Governor in Council…,” January 23, 2024. [Website]

[33] McGinnis, Ray, “Coutts Four Denied Bail, in Prison in Canada for over 500 Days without Trial. Are they Political Prisoners?,”, July 25, 2023. [Website]

[34] D’Amoure, Rachael, “CN Rail layoffs will ‘further complicate’ tangled supply chain, industries say,” Global News, February 19, 2020. [Website]

[35] Draaisma, Muriel, “Rail blockades to lead to shortages of propane and consumer goods, 2 national groups say,” CBC, February 16, 2020. [Website]

[36] “Via Rail issues temporary layoffs to nearly 1,000 workers as blockades continue,” CBC, February 19, 2020. [Website]

[37] Wakerell-Cruz, Roberto, “As anti-pipeline blockades continue, grocery stores are starting to run out of goods,” Post Millennial, February 24, 2020. [Website]

[38] Tasker, John Paul, “Trudeau calls for ‘dialogue’ as blockade cripples rail network, while Sheer says clear out the protesters,” CBC, February 14, 2020. [Website]

[39] Penner, Derrick, “Pivotal War in the Woods protester says arrests, pressure in Clayoquot changed B.C. forestry forever,” Vancouver Sun, August 30, 2023. [Newspaper]

[40] Harter, John-Henry, “Environmental Justice for Whom? Class, New Social Movements and the Environment: A Case Study of Greenpeace Canada, 1971-2000,” Canadian Committee on Labour History, Fall 2004, [Website]

[41] “Ottawa spent ‘excessive’ $2.2 million fighting Emergencies Act challenge,” Canadian Constitution Foundation, April 22, 2024. [Website]

[42] See note 7.

[43] Wolin, Sheldon S., Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism, (Princeton University Press, 2017). [Website]

[44] Joseph, Mark, “Defending Civil Liberties: Reflections on Pandemic-era Legal Practice,” The Democracy Fund, May 11, 2024. [Website]

(Featured Image: “Freedom Convoy 2022 Ottawa February 4-15” by ΙΣΧΣΝΙΚΑ-888 is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.)


  • Ray McGinnis

    Ray McGinnis is author of Unanswered Questions: What the September Eleventh Families Asked and the 9/11 Commission Ignored (2021). Previously, he authored Writing the Sacred: A Psalm-inspired Path to Appreciating and Writing Sacred Poetry (2005). Since 1999, Ray has taught journal writing workshops for people dealing with grief and loss, to first responders and in health care facilities. He has also taught poetry writing and memoir workshops across North America. Ray is interested in the stories we tell, the narratives we trust, and how this shapes our world. This includes not just personal stories, but news headline like the Narrative about September 11, and other headlines that saturate citizens with slanted media messages. Earlier in his career, Ray was a program staff in education for the United Church of Canada, serving in several congregations, as well as at the denominations national office (1986-95). He lives in Vancouver, Canada.

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