OTTAWA (LifeSiteNews) – On the 13th day of the trial for Freedom Convoy leaders Tamara Lich and Chris Barber, a Crown witness admitted that city truck idling bylaws were changed mid-protest to lower the temperature a truck was allowed to idle its engine in an attempt to “freeze” out the truckers.
During testimony in court last Friday, the former Chief of Staff for Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson spoke about being at a meeting when a February 9, 2022, injunction was signed to lower the permissible temperature for trucks to idle from 5C to minus-15C.
Serge Arpin was asked directly by Lich’s lawyer, Lawrence Greenspon, if the amendment to the idling bylaw was made with the goal being to “freeze out” the truckers, as noted by The Democracy Fund (TDF), which is crowdfunding Lich’s legal costs, in its court update.
“[Ottawa city] Council, at the February 7 meeting you were present for, was attempting to freeze out demonstrators in [the] area,” Greenspon said to Arpin, asking him also to explain if the bylaw was meant for the “demonstration zone.”
In response, Arpin admitted that this “appears to be the intent.”
Not satisfied with Arpin’s answer, Greenspon pressed him, saying, “I can’t speak to intent of council,” adding, “I spoke to intent of bylaw. But you don’t disagree with me that the effect of this bylaw was an attempt by the city council to freeze out the demonstrators in the red zone, correct?”
Arpin then replied, “I believe that would be the outcome.”
During testimony, Arpin admitted that he had been at every meeting in 2022 with the mayor, so he must have been at the meeting regarding the idle injunction placed against the Freedom Convoy.
He admitted that it was possible he could have “stepped out” when the injunction meeting was held but said he was not part of the decision to change the city idling bylaw.
This bylaw was changed by the city council.
During testimony on the 12th day in court, Arpin testified that he sent an email to Lich in mid-February 2022 asking the convoy leaders to move their trucks as a “goodwill” measure.
Arpin also told the court that truckers agreed to move their rigs from downtown Ottawa only minutes after being asked to do so by the former chief of staff to the city’s mayor and after officials realized they were not a threat.
In court on Friday, a series of text messages between Arpin and the Freedom Convoy’s then-lawyer Keith Wilson, concerning the removal of trucks from downtown Ottawa, was talked about.
It was revealed that the city appeared to renege on its deal with the truckers to allow them to move out some trucks.
“Wilson informed Arpin that 40 more trucks were ready to move. Arpin acknowledged that if these trucks had been removed from residential areas, it would have fulfilled the agreement with the city,” the TDF noted.
“In a February 16 text, Arpin apologized to Wilson for the city and police’s role in preventing the removal of trucks. He saw this as a failure to assist in the goodwill arrangement.”
On Friday, Arpin testified that he did not get “direct knowledge as to why” the deal between Ottawa city officials and the Freedom Convoy was canceled by Ottawa Police.
Lich and Barber are facing multiple charges from the 2022 protests, including mischief, counseling mischief, counseling intimidation and obstructing police for taking part in and organizing the anti-mandate Freedom Convoy. As reported by LifeSiteNews at the time, despite the non-violent nature of the protest and the charges, Lich was jailed for weeks before she was granted bail.