The heavy police presence in Ottawa on Canada Day has hampered freedom of speech, lawyers say.

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Numerous police deployed in Ottawa during the Canada Day celebration were about to be fined for hindering Canadians’ freedom of speech and expression by raising a flag on the sidewalk near the Capitol that day. Two lawyers said.

Adam Blake-Gallipeau, a lawyer for the statutory charity The Democracy Fund, said he found anomalous enforcement of the Articles of Incorporation on “trivial” issues and did not require the presence of heavy police seen in Ottawa during national leave. rice field. He said “on top”.

“Obviously, it was just an unnecessary police presence,” he told The Epoch Times. “People were waving flags and they were there with their children. They were celebrating Canada Day, celebrating freedom, celebrating free expression and freedom of assembly.

“Instead, what they got was what looked like a few blocks of police occupation in front of Congress.”

Epoch Times Photo
Heavy police presence in Ottawa, Ontario, when people headed to the capital to commemorate Canada Day on July 1, 2022. (LiminZhou / The Epoch Times)

Blake Gullipo and his colleague Mark Joseph headed to Ottawa as “Charter Investigators” on July 1 to observe how Ottawa Police Services (OPS) officers enforced the ordinance. Later, I learned that the city had fined certain actions. For national holidays, especially when it comes to “unnecessary noise” and “screaming” statement Published on June 29th.

They stood that day on the sidewalk near Wellington Street and Metcalfe Street in Ottawa, with banners containing information about their organization, the Democracy Fund. Around 5:30 pm, a group of 5-6 police officers approached them and asked a lawyer to remove the banner within 5 minutes. Otherwise, you will be given a $ 1,000 ticket.

Blake Galipo said the banner was not a fixture that required a permit to be installed, and he and his colleagues did not block others on the sidewalk. However, police insisted on the enforcement of the Articles of Incorporation and demanded that lawyers keep the flag off the ground.

“It was anxious,” he said.

“The last thing I checked was that there was still freedom of assembly, freedom of speech and freedom of expression in this country, but it didn’t look like that at all in Ottawa on Canada Day. “

Breaking News: Our lawyer was threatened with a $ 1000 Articles of Incorporation ticket to display this banner in downtown Ottawa on Canada Day. pic.twitter.com/QHDa17ilwf

— Democracy Fund (@TDF_Can) July 2, 2022

When asked about the two cases, OPS refused to provide further comments and instead news release Published on July 5 regarding major police activities for the five days from June 29 to July 3. Neither case was mentioned in the release, but said a total of 12 people were arrested and 50 criminal charges were filed during that period.

Joseph said their interaction with the police reflected a conflict between the government’s desire to maintain public order and morals and the rights of those who support freedom.

“There is always a tension between freedom of speech and freedom of assembly and articles of association, allowing demonstrations, parades and protests,” he said. “Generally speaking, I don’t think the government can say,” Free speech, but only with permission. ” It probably won’t be accepted in court. “

He also has discretion over when police apply these bylaws, but often for the public good during protests or rallies, unless the case poses a danger or obstruction to the public. Said.

Joseph also pointed out another incident in the capital given the man that day. $ 1,130 fine For writing “Free Tamara Lich” on the street with chalk.

Tamara Lich was the main organizer of the “Freedom Convoy” protest earlier this year, calling for the mandatory federal COVID-19 vaccine and the removal of other pandemic-related restrictions. During the three-week demonstration, numerous trucks and protesters camp in the heart of downtown Ottawa until the Free Government enacted an emergency law on February 14. Operations escalated in a few days.

Andrew Chen

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Andrew Chen is a Toronto-based Epoch Times reporter.



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