A ‘Freedom Convoy’ organizer says he plans a reunion in Ottawa in February.
James Bauder, the founder of Canada Unity, a group calling for an end to all vaccine mandates, posted on Facebook calling for a ‘Freedom Convoy 2.0’ February 17 to 21 in Ottawa.
“Bookmark these dates,” Bauder said in the magazine post. “Freedom Convoy Reunion Theme Will Be ‘Olive Branch Edition’.”
Bauder was arrested on February 20 in Ottawa as police cleared the occupation, which brought the city to the fore for three weeks. He faces charges of mischief to obstruct property, disobeying a lawful court order and obstructing a peace officer.
He was released on a condition not to return to downtown Ottawa.
Bauder’s Facebook post about the Freedom Convoy 2.0 plans calls for a two-week “Canada Unity-Fest” in February 2023.
“The simple fact is that we cannot have unity without reconciliation, which must come from ‘We The People’ and not from our government,” he wrote. “Let’s grow up and start addressing the root of division, discrimination and segregation in Canada by changing our focus away from division to one word ‘UNITY’.”
An Ottawa police spokesman said the service is aware of Bauder’s Facebook post.
“The Ottawa Police Service is aware of information posted to social media channels,” the spokesperson said in an email. “Ottawa police are continuously monitoring for upcoming events, protests and demonstrations that may impact the city. Once identified, we plan accordingly in collaboration with our city partners and other agencies.”
Bauder was among the convoy organizers who testified earlier this month on the commission investigating the government’s decision to invoke the Emergencies Act in response to the Ottawa occupation and blockades at the US border.
In October 2021, before the Convoy protests took over downtown Ottawa, he staged a much smaller protest called the ‘Convoy for Freedom’.
The fewer than 100 protesters defied public health rules in shops and restaurants and planned to block streets in front of the prime minister’s and governor-general’s residences.
Bauder told the commission he delivered a “memorandum of understanding” to the Senate and the governor general on that trip.
His hope was that they would agree to work with his group to overturn COVID-19 measures and ask the prime minister to resign for “committing treason and crimes against humanity.” He later retracted the note on Feb. 8, he testified.
Bauder told an Ottawa courtroom last month that he planned to apply to change the venue of his criminal trial. A one-day hearing to hear that application was scheduled for February 3, 2023.
With files from The Canadian Press