OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has taken a stand for democracy but, sadly it was not about democracy in his own nation.
“Russia’s flagrant disregard for the independence of a sovereign nation is a serious threat to security and stability in the region and around the world,” the prime minister said, as his Royal Canadian Mounted Police crackdown on the trucker Freedom Convoy, The National Post reported.
“Canada and our allies will defend democracy. We are taking these actions today in a stand against authoritarianism,” he said.
“We are taking these actions today to stand against authoritarianism,” the prime minister said. “The people of Ukraine, like all people must be free to determine their own future. We will continue working with our international of partners to safeguard Ukraine’s territorial integrity and prevent further Russian aggression.”
Trudeau followed U.S. President Joe Biden and European leaders in condemning Putin’s actions as he delivered Canada’s response alongside Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly and Defence Minister Anita Anand.
Canada is sending an additional 460 troops to reinforce the NATO military alliance in eastern Europe, Trudeau said. That includes a 100-soldier artillery unit to Latvia, which will join 540 other Armed Forces members leading a NATO battlegroup in the Baltic state.
A Canadian frigate, the HMCS Halifax, and a CP-140 Aurora patrol plane are also being deployed to eastern Europe, with all the promised forces expected in theatre by the end of March.
The prime minister said the measures are intended to “reinforce our commitment to NATO and promote peace and security in the region.”
“One of the things that we have seen with Putin’s demands around Ukraine and NATO presence that far from seeing a reduction of Western forces in eastern Europe,” he said. “Vladimir Putin has achieved the opposite.”
It is nice to see him stand for democracy, but doing it at the same time that truckers are being arrested and, in some cases, denied bail for participating in the Freedom Convoy.
Take the case of one of the convoy’s organizers, Tamara Lich, who was denied bail because the judge was not convinced that she would go home and follow the conditions she would have to, The CBC reported.
Lich, the Alberta woman behind a now-halted GoFundMe campaign that raised over $10 million to support the protest in Ottawa, was arrested and charged Thursday with counselling to commit mischief.
Before her arrest, she told journalists she wasn’t concerned about being arrested, didn’t think the protest was illegal and also said her bank account was frozen.
Arrested, no bail, bank accounts frozen and sitting behind bars for the crime of “mischief.”
“This community has already been impacted enough by some of the criminal activity and blockades you took part in and even led,” Justice Julie Bourgeois said.
“You have had plenty of opportunity to remove yourself and even others from this criminal activity but obstinately chose not to and persistently counselled others not to either.
“In Canada, every citizen can certainly disagree with and protest against government decisions but it needs to be done in a democratic fashion in abidance with the laws that have been established democratically,” the Justice said.
Tamara Lich and Christopher Barber were arrested late Thursday as interim Ottawa Police Steve Bell implored truckers taking part in the protests to leave the city.
Dagny Pawlak, a spokeswoman for the convoy, told The Washington Post that Lich was arrested and charged with “aiding and abetting mischief.”
Earlier in the day, Lich, who is a resident of Alberta, told CBC News that authorities had frozen her personal bank account and she was aware that she would soon be jailed.
According to Fox News, Barber’s arrest was announced on the floor of Parliament.