Freedom Convoy organizer Chris Barber is testifying today at the Public Order Emergency Commission. Brigitte Belton is expected to testify next, then Lich.
When Chris Barbar walks up to the stage, several audience members clap, but many reporters in the media room don’t like that. Barber starts by saying he owns a trucking company. During the pandemic, restaurants and bathrooms were closed for truckers. Barber said this made it difficult to work.
Two weeks into the pandemic, I remember thinking, ‘this isn’t worth it.’ But the customer demand kept climbing, so I stayed.”
Barber said he was interested in Belton’s trucker protest idea to “speak my part, to do my part to protest, to try and get the government to start listening to us.” Barber adds he had several TikTok accounts because he kept getting suspended for trolling.
Several protest organizers, including Barber, Tamara Lich, and Pat King, are facing criminal charges related to their involvement.
The inquiry investigates the events leading up to the federal government’s emergency declaration on Feb. 14, weeks into demonstrations that had gridlocked downtown Ottawa and spilled into border blockades elsewhere.
It has so far painted a picture of confusion and chaos among police forces and levels of government as officials tried to figure out how to respond.
By all accounts to date, the idea for the convoy to Ottawa appears to have been inspired by a TikTok video of two truck drivers.
Here is one of the protest organizers, Tom Marazzo, tonight proposing to participate in a coalition of opposition parties with the Governor General, a variant on the bonkers MOU pushed by Canada Unity. pic.twitter.com/qJ70JF2xx7— Glen McGregor (@glen_mcgregor) February 8, 2022
Convoy Organizer Chris Barber is on the stand at the EA inquiry. “I wasn’t allowed in certain restaurants.” Then he is admitted to being fully vaccinated. That explains why he always says, “I seen…”.
When Barber is asked about fellow organizer James Bauder’s controversial (and legally-dubious) “memorandum of understanding,” which was sent to the federal government, he replies, “I have no clue what’s in the document, and I will never read it.”
Back at the Public Order Emergency Commission hearings today. First up on the witness list today is Chris Barber, who is the first of anyone affiliated with the convoy to testify. Here he is with Tom Marazzo, Tamara Lich, and lawyer Eva Chipiuk. pic.twitter.com/y6IaLyDNai— Andrew Lawton (@AndrewLawton) November 1, 2022
Barber was an early organizer, driving from his Saskatchewan home to Ottawa in January, with Lich at his side for much of the journey.
The two are co-accused of criminal mischief, obstructing police and counselling others to commit mischief and intimidation for their actions during the protest.
Protesters began to arrive in Ottawa on Jan. 28 to express their anger and opposition to the federal government and to COVID-19 restrictions, including vaccine mandates.
The protest quickly evolved into what police and government officials have described as an all-out occupation, with demonstrators blocking traffic, blaring truck horns and setting up camp in city streets.