OTTAWA – Events are set to take place in Ottawa in late June through Canada Day and the rest of the summer for what organizers say are to protest remaining COVID-19 pandemic-era restrictions. 19.
Veterans for Freedom steering committee member Andrew MacGillivray said in an interview posted on YouTube that he will be holding a three-day conference in Ottawa next week, Wednesday through Friday.
Veterans for Freedom describes itself on its website as a group of Canadian veterans working to “restore basic freedoms for all Canadians” and “enforce Canadian laws.”
The organization has partnered with other groups who oppose pandemic mandates, including those calling themselves Police on Guard and Canadian Frontline Nurses.
The “Freedom Convoy” protest, which took to the streets of downtown for three weeks earlier this year, is still fresh in the memory of many Ottawa citizens.
Members of the Veterans for Freedom steering committee all have ties to previous protests, including one person who was among the spokespersons for the convoy. Others have appeared in YouTube videos supporting convoy protesters.
MacGillivray said the group’s goal is to have the federal government repeal the remaining warrants, reinstate federal workers who have lost their warrant-related jobs, and pay those workers for lost wages.
He said his group planned to hold a meeting on Wednesday with up to 17 MPs, who are “mostly Conservative”, and that the next two days would be public events with key figures from the “freedom movement”.
On June 30, Veterans for Freedom is coordinating a route for James Topp and his supporters through neighborhoods in Ottawa to the National War Memorial. The road received a police escort, MacGillivray said.
Topp is a Canadian soldier who was charged by the Department of National Defense in May after publicly denouncing federal vaccine requirements while in uniform.
He left Vancouver in February to march to Ottawa to protest pandemic mandates, according to the Canada Marches website.
In the YouTube interview, MacGillivray shared her plans for the Canada Day celebrations, which will take place on the lawn in front of the Supreme Court of Canada, which will include a march to City Hall and a dance party on the Parliament Hill that evening.
Canadian Heritage said this year’s Canada Day celebrations will largely take place in the city’s LeBreton Flats Park.
Asked about any planned “freedom” related events, Ottawa police said they would share information Friday afternoon in partnership with Canadian Heritage on their safe approach to Canada Day.
MacGillivray said he will also establish a semi-permanent camp east of Ottawa called “Camp Eagle” and hold events throughout the summer. The camp is about 40 minutes from town on private property.
“Basically, we’re going to stay there all summer. We will implement our strategy and plan to rely on the government through education, information, etc.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on June 16, 2022.
This story was produced with the financial assistance of Meta and the Canadian Press News Fellowship.