Meet Jim Zinger of Medicine Hat, Alberta. Jim drove his big rig into Ottawa some three weeks ago to take part in the Freedom Convoy, which was unceremoniously dismantled by law enforcement last weekend.
As law enforcement descended upon the convoy assembled on Wellington Street, many truckers drove off on their own accord. Those rigs that remained were towed away.
But here’s the thing when it comes to Jim Zinger’s truck: it was not illegally parked on an Ottawa road; it was not blocking traffic; he was not blaring his horn. Rather, the vehicle was legally parked at a privately-owned parking lot. Jim was paying for the spot, and the lot owner did not request for the vehicle to be removed. What’s more, during the three weeks that Jim’s rig was parked, it had been severely vandalized.
Some of the vandalism involved the truck’s tires being slashed. Thus, Jim needed some time to get his rig repaired so it would be in a drivable condition.
But apparently that was too much of an ask for some members of the Ottawa Police Service. And apparently a rig or a pickup truck donning a Canadian flag (like Jim’s) is akin to displaying a verboten and intolerable political opinion.
And so it was that the police towed Jim’s rig. Jim says police told him that his truck will be impounded for seven days. Naturally, Jim will be on the hook for the tow charge and the storage fees.
And the question arises: even under the Emergencies Act, do police have the right to remove a privately-owned vehicle from a privately-owned parking lot? And what’s more, what harm was being done?
Bottom line: in our view, the towing of Jim’s rig was really more about the police being vindictive, rather than being protective.