NEW WESTMINSTER, British Columbia (LifeSiteNews) — A notable former member of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) who supported the Freedom Convoy has been hit with a $4,000 fine along with a “severe reprimand” for speaking out against COVID jab mandates by marching across Canada last year.
Former CAF member and veteran James Topp learned his fate in a New Westminster court Thursday after pleading guilty on November 14 to two counts of prejudice to good order and discipline in relation to him protesting a military COVID jab mandate.
Topp had made two videos in February 2022 that specifically called out COVID jab mandates. This was at the same time the Freedom Convoy protests of COVID jab mandates were taking place across Canada and specifically Ottawa.
The videos Topp made in which he said the government has no business telling one what should go into their bodies (COVID shots) showed him wearing his CAF uniform. The court ruled this was in breach of regulation. Topp said he was responsible for his actions.
His defense had sought a complete discharge and the prosecution wanted him fined $5,200 with a “severe reprimand.”
Military Judge Commander Julie Deschênes ruled that an absolute discharge of Topp would go against the public’s interest, adding that his sentence would serve as “general deterrence and denunciation.”
“What this means is that I must impose a punishment that would send a strong message for others to be deterred” from doing what Topp did, the judge said.
Topp gained inspiration from the Freedom Convoy and decided to trek from Vancouver to Ottawa on foot. He later kept on going to the East coast of Canada.
According to Topp, his top three main priorities were the repeal of COVID mandates, that people who were fired from their jobs for not getting the COVID jabs be reinstated, and that they receive restitution and repair.
Deschênes claimed that the case was not about vaccine mandates but “about the commission of two offences for making statements that were opposed to the Government of Canada policy.”
Topp’s lawyer, Philip Millar, said that the judge issued a “well-reasoned decision,” adding that in his view she “respected Warrant Topp.”
Millar noted that Topp’s “severe reprimand” will go on a conduct sheet, but as he was expelled from the CAF for not going along with the COVID jab mandate, it will not impact him.
Topp had testified that he spoke out against the COVID mandates, which included one from CAF that all service members have the shot, as he had a “very hard time with it (jab mandates) because of the way that I felt that it was coercive, that it was done in haste and I felt that it was going to open the door on other practices that were going to just inhibit the way we live our lives.”
Topp noted that he was “concerned with the safety of the product,” and that to him mandates were “something that was being done in a state of fear and very hastily.”
He said that he made the social media videos because he “thought was happening to me, and what was happening to others, was wrong.”
Canada’s military imposed a COVID jab mandate for all its personnel. As a result of the mandate, many who refused were kicked out of the armed forces via an administrative process called the 5F release.
Those who did not get the jab were not charged, however, and the legality of the military jab mandate has been questioned.
Last month, a former member of the CAF revealed to LifeSiteNews his story of the abuse and coercion he faced from his commanders after he declined the COVID-19 jab.
LifeSiteNews reported on how hundreds more CAF members joined a second lawsuit against the Canadian federal government for mandating that military members get the COVID jabs.
In June, current and former CAF members filed a $500 million class action lawsuit against military leaders over the imposition of “unlawful” COVID jab mandates. The members called for the court to summarily rule in their favor after the Crown urged the court to dismiss the case.