The Ottawa City Council was "trying to freeze out truckers and their families," said Lawrence Greenspon, defence counsel for Tamara Lich, on Friday, the thirteenth day of her trial in Ottawa, Ontario.
Lich and Chris Barber are co-defendants in the trial. The two are being charged with mischief, intimidation, obstructing police, and counselling others to commit mischief and intimidation. Their charges are related to their organizational roles with the 2022 Freedom Convoy, a peaceful demonstration in Canada's capital city in opposition to governmentally imposed edicts, decrees, and mandates ostensibly for the purposes of "public health."
While cross-examining Serge Arpin, former chief of staff for former Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, Greenspon reflected on a change made to a local bylaw regarding idling vehicles. Prior to 2022, the City of Ottawa permitted idling of vehicles when the outdoor temperature was five degrees Celsius or lower. The city then lowered the temperature required to -15 degrees Celsius during the Freedom Convoy.
Arpin acknowledged during cross-examination that the city's management was focused on ending the demonstration, and that its decisions — including the above-mentioned bylaw change — occurred within that framework. He further acknowledged that the expected result of the bylaw change was to reduce the Freedom Convoy's number of protesters.
Dianne Magas, Barber's attorney, asked Arpin about his involvement in and knowledge of the city's communications and negotiations with Keith Wilson, a lawyer who operated as a de facto intermediary between the city and defendants.
Arpin said he had apologized to Wilson after the city essentially ended its negotiations with the defendants. He described this as a failure on the city's part to uphold "good faith" in its negotiations.
The trial will now be on hiatus until its resumption on October 13.