‘Freedom Convoy 2.0’ being planned for February 2023

An organizer of the ‘Freedom Convoy’ says he’s planning a reunion in Ottawa in February.

James Bauder, the founder of Canada Unity, a group that called for an end to all vaccine mandates, posted on Facebook calling for a ‘Freedom Convoy 2.0’ Feb. 17 to 21 in Ottawa.

“Bookmark these dates,” Bauder said in the post. “Freedom Convoy Reunion theme will be the ‘Olive Branch Edition.'”

Bauder was arrested on Feb. 20 in Ottawa as police cleared the occupation, which gridlocked the city’s downtown for three weeks. He is facing charges of mischief to obstruct property, disobeying a lawful court order and obstructing a peace officer.

He was released under a condition not to return to downtown Ottawa.

Bauder’s Facebook post about the Freedom Convoy 2.0 plans calls for a two-week “Canada Unity-Fest” in February 2023.

“The simple fact is we can’t have Unity without Reconciliation which has to come from “We The People ” and not from our Gov.,” he wrote. “Let’s be grown-ups and start addressing the root of division, discrimination, and segregation in Canada by changing our focus away from division to that of one word ‘UNITY.'”

An Ottawa police spokespserson said the service is aware of Bauder’s Facebook post.

“The Ottawa Police Service is aware of information posted to social media channels,” the spokesperson said in an email. “The Ottawa Police continually monitors for upcoming events, protests, and demonstrations that may impact the City.  Once identified we plan accordingly in a collaborative manner with our City partners and other agencies.”

Bauder was among the convoy organizers who testified earlier this month at the commission investigating the government’s decision to invoke the Emergencies Act in response to the Ottawa occupation and blockades at the U.S. border.

In October 2021, before the convoy protests took over downtown Ottawa, he staged a much smaller protest called the ‘Convoy for Freedom.’

The fewer than 100 protesters flouted public health rules in stores and restaurants and planned to blockade streets in front of the prime minister and governor general’s residences.

Bauder told the commission that he delivered a “memorandum of understanding” to the Senate and the Governor General on that trip.

His hope was that they would agree to work with his group to overthrow COVID-19 measures and ask the prime minister to step down for “committing treason and crimes against humanity.” He later withdrew the memorandum on Feb. 8, he testified.

Bauder told an Ottawa courtroom last month he planned to apply to change the venue for his criminal trial. A one-day hearing to hear that application was scheduled for Feb. 3, 2023.

With files from The Canadian Press

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