Nadine Ellis-Maffei said the police visit was like the ‘thought police and Big Brother’ knocking at her door
Canadian Prime Minster Justin Trudeau has stepped up his crackdown on Freedom Convoy demonstrators, with police now visiting the homes of people who post in support of the protests on Facebook and a woman forced out of her government job after donating to the demonstrations.
Trudeau on Wednesday was considering using his extraordinary powers under the Emergencies Act to establish ‘no-go’ zones in Ottawa to dispel the remaining protests in the nation’s capital.
Ottawa police fanned out among the demonstrators on Wednesday afternoon, distributing pamphlets saying protesters faced fines, arrests and vehicle seizures, and reading: ‘You must leave the area now’.
As the blockades in Alberta and Manitoba ended peacefully, all focus came to bear on the protest in Ottawa, now in its third week, with demonstrators paralyzing the streets over their demand for an end to vaccine mandates.
Frustration with the failure of Canadian police to lift blockades at the border and in the capital, along with scenes of protesters lounging in hot tubs near Parliament, ultimately drove Trudeau to seek emergency powers earlier this week, sources told Reuters.
Trudeau has been slammed by critics who accuse him of imposing ‘martial law’ to crush the protests over vaccine mandates and other pandemic restrictions
Ontario Premier Doug Ford, appearing to buckle under pressure after weeks of sustained protests, this week announced an end to COVID restrictions and seemed to echo the message of the protesters opposed to pandemic mandates, saying of capacity limits: ‘Let’s just start moving on, cautiously. The world’s done with it, let’s just move forward.’
But in a crackdown on the protests, an Ontario Provincial Police officer knocked on the very door of Nadine Ellis-Maffei’s farmhouse last week to hand her a card and a pamphlet after seeing her post to a Facebook group, video of the incident shows.
‘Because of the protests happening province wide, yes we have been monitoring the protest. So there’s a protest coming up, I’m simply providing information about a peaceful protest,’ the officer said in the video taken last Thursday by Ellis-Maffei.
‘I was flabbergasted,’ the mother of three, who operates a farm in Ontario’s Peterborough County, told the Toronto Sun. ‘I still can’t believe it.’
Ellis-Maffei compared the incident to the ‘thought police and Big Brother’ from the dystopian novel 1984.
An Ontario Provincial Police officer knocked on the very door of Nadine Ellis-Maffei’s farmhouse last week to hand her a card and a pamphlet after seeing her post to a Facebook group about the Freedom Convoy
As well, an Ontario provincial staffer has been forced out of her job after hackers revealed that she donated $100 to the Freedom Convoy protests earlier this month.
Marion Isabeau Ringuette, who was Ontario Solicitor General Sylvia Jones’s director of communications, lost her job 10 days after making the donation, according to the Toronto Star.
After the donor list to a GiveSendGo campaign supporting the protests was stolen and leaked by hackers this week, Isabeau-Ringuette’s identity was apparently deciphered and reported to her employer, although she only used her initials when making the donation.
‘Ms. Isabeau-Ringuette no longer works for the Ontario government,’ Ivana Yelich, Ford’s executive director of media relations, told the Star.
‘We’re not commenting any further as this is a staffing matter.’
Isabeau-Ringuette did not immediately respond to an inquiry from DailyMail.com on Tuesday.
The local news outlet QP Briefing said that it had ‘brought the information to the attention of Isabeau-Ringuette and Premier Doug Ford’s office late Tuesday afternoon’ as Canadian journalists scour the hacked list for donor names and out them to employers. Specifically, the country’s national broadcaster, Canadian Broadcasting Company, has gone through the list to contact and publicly out donors.
It revealed that the former leader of the country’s Progressive Conservative Party Ches Crosbie made an $800 donation. He was unapologetic when confronted by CBC journalists, saying: ‘Indefinite states of emergency, such as we are under in most of Canada, are a dangerous thing, a very dangerous thing. I support the right of peaceful protest and I see the Freedom Convoy as a peaceful protest.’
The CBC also outed a prominent business owner in London, Ontario, as giving the largest single donation to the Freedom Convoy. Holden Rhodes, who owns Killarney Mountain Lodge, donated $25,000.
He was just as unapologetic after being outed by the CBC, telling journalists: ‘The overreach on the last two years has been astounding, but in the last two weeks in Canada it has been absolutely alarming for anyone believes in a peaceful and free society,’ he said. ‘Government at all levels has to realize they are elected to represent the people of Canada rather than lock up and threaten to arrest people for exercising their legal rights of peaceful protest.’
Another donor outed in the leak was Tammy Giuliani, owner of Stella Luna Gelato Cafe in Ottawa, who was forced to shut down her business after she received an onslaught of threats over her $250 donation.
It’s not clear whether she was outed by journalists scouring the data, but her name has appeared online as part of the leak of the hack after she wrote a post on a GiveSendGo message board.
‘We got a call from the team saying, ‘We’re getting phone calls here,” Giuliani told the Ottawa Citizen. ‘I said, ‘What’s going on?’ and they said, ‘They’re threatening to throw bricks through our window. They’re threatening to come and get us.’ We said, ‘Lock the door and we’ll find out what’s going on.’
The executive director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Noa Mendelsohn Aviv, said Trudeau’s ’emergency’ order dangerously bypassed the democratic process.
‘Difficult situations, challenging situations happen all the time. Governments have the tools to deal with them, and the emergency powers are much too large power, that bypasses the democratic process,’ said Aviv in an interview with Fox News.
Meanwhile, four suspects face serious charges of allegedly plotting to murder police officers in connection with a trove of firearms that were seized at the Freedom Convoy border blockade in Coutts, Alberta — though the city’s mayor claims they are all ‘outsiders’ who were not part of the broader protest against vaccine mandates.
Marion Isabeau-Ringuette was forced out of her job as a staffer for the Ontario provincial government after hackers revealed that she donated $100 to the Freedom Convoy protests earlier this month
Protesters show placards at the demonstration in Ottawa on Wednesday, including one opposing the state broadcaster CBC. Canadian news outlets have been hunting down donors to the Freedom Convoy and getting them fired
Police had out information sheets and speak to demonstrators as truckers and supporters continue to protest coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine mandates, in Ottawa, Ontario on Wednesday
Chris Carbert, 44; Christopher Lysak, 48; Anthony Olienick, 39; and Jerry Morin, 40, were arrested on Monday and charged with possession of weapons for a dangerous purpose, mischief, and conspiracy to commit murder.
The allegations are in connection with the trove of weapons seized in a police raid on raid on two camper trailers and a mobile home on 1st Avenue North in Coutts — a property near the border crossing but not part of the actual blockade.
The mayor of Coutts told DailyMail.com that those arrested were not members of the Freedom Convoy, despite them being initially tied to the ongoing anti-vaccine protests.
‘The people who were actually involved in the arrests were not part of the blockade group,’ Mayor Jim Willett said. ‘They were outsiders.’
The mayor described the individuals as outside agitators who came to town after the protest began.
‘As time went on, the protest began to attract people from the outside,’ he said. ‘They were starting to attract the undesirable element. The people who were actually involved in the arrests were not part of the blockade group. They were outsiders.’
Police themselves say that the individuals charged were a ‘small organized group within the larger Coutts protest’ and a ‘small segment of the protest’ with a ‘militant mindset’.
One of the four charged with plotting to kill Mounties in Alberta, Lysak, has ties to a right-wing Canadian movement dubbed ‘Diagolon’ and faces an additional charge of uttering threats.
Mounties in Alberta seized this cache of weapons on Monday morning, but the mayor of the village where they were discovered claims the weapons weren’t part of the Freedom Convoy protest
Chris Carbert, 44, is one of four facing the serious charge of conspiring to murder a police officer
Symbols of the ‘Diagolon’ movement were found on the body armor seized in Coutts on Monday. The movement’s founder claims the police might have planted his flag on the seized material to incriminate his cause
Anti-COVID-19 vaccine mandate demonstrators leave in a truck convoy after blocking the highway at the busy U.S. border crossing in Coutts, Alberta on Tuesday
The Canadian Anti-Hate Network dubs Diagolon ‘a network of far-right accelerationist survivalists’ and says that Lysak was once called the ‘head of security for Diagolon’.
Diagolon founder Jeremy MacKenzie, who podcasts under the moniker ‘Raging Dissident’, issued a video statement in response to images showing the symbol of his movement on body armor seized in the Coutts raid, in which 13 long guns and multiple handguns were recovered by Mounties.
‘I have no idea where those came from, who those belong to, who put them there, who brought them there — did the police put them there?’ said MacKenzie of the Diagolon symbol, a diagonal white band on a black field.
MacKenzie claims his movement was conceived as a joke while ‘pretty stoned on edible marijuana’ and that the name and symbol represent a diagonal swathe from Alaska to Florida, across Canada and the US, of states and provinces that oppose mandates and other pandemic restrictions.
Facing lesser charges in connection with the Coutts raid are: Luke Berk, 62; Joanne Person, 62; Johnson Law, 39; Jaclyne Martin, 39; Evan Colenutt, 23; Ursula Allred, 22; Justin Martin, 22; Eastin Stewart Oler, 22; and Janx Zaremba, 18.
They are charged with mischief and unlawful weapons offences in relation to the blockade, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
‘Monday’s weapons seizure and subsequent arrests speak to the serious criminal activities taking place during this protest and illegal blockade,’ said RCMP Deputy Commissioner Curtis Zablock in a statement.
‘The dangerous, criminal activity occurring away from the TV cameras and social media posts was real and organized, and it could have been deadly for citizens, protesters and officers,’ he added.
Johnson Law, 39, was among those arrested on lesser charges of mischief and unlawful weapons offences in relation to the blockade in Coutts, Alberta
Police vehicles look out over a an empty highway after anti-COVID-19 vaccine mandate demonstrators left following their blockade of the highway at the busy U.S. border crossing in Coutts, Alberta, Tuesday
Anti-COVID-19 vaccine mandate demonstrators leave in a truck convoy after blocking the highway at the busy U.S. border crossing in Coutts, Alberta, Tuesday
Meanwhile, following the resignation of Ottawa’s police chief, Trudeau’s government is considering imposing ‘no-go’ zones in the nation’s capital using special powers under the Emergencies Act.
Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said at a news conference that the action could include declaring ‘certain zones that are adjacent to critical infrastructure like borders, like our national symbols including legislatures, like war monuments … as a no-go zone,’
The Freedom Convoy, a trucker-led movement calling on the government to lift vaccine mandates, is largely based in Ottawa, where parts of the country’s capital city have been occupied by protestors since late January.
The convoy also blocked US border crossings, including a key trade route into Detroit that was cleared by police last weekend.
Now, the only remaining blockade is in Emerson, Manitoba, but the RCMP says that blockade is expected to end peacefully on Wednesday.
In a written statement Tuesday, Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson and Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen thanked law enforcement in the province for ‘respectfully de-escalating this situation without the use of force.’
They also called on the federal government in Ottawa to work toward lifting border restrictions, including the vaccine mandate for truckers that inspired the protests across Canada.
Controversy surrounding how police have managed the protests on Ottawa prompted the abrupt resignation of Police Chief Peter Sloly on Tuesday
A demonstrator holds a Canadian national flag during a protest by truck drivers over pandemic health rules and the Trudeau government, outside the parliament of Canada in Ottawa on Tuesday
Vehicles block a road during a protest by truck drivers over pandemic health rules and the Trudeau government, outside the parliament of Canada in Ottawa on Tuesday
Controversy surrounding how police have managed the protests on Ottawa prompted the abrupt resignation of Police Chief Peter Sloly on Tuesday.
He stepped down after being criticized for not doing enough to stop the unruly protests, which prompted Trudeau to invoke emergency powers on Monday.
Ottawa police did not respond to a request for comment, and Trudeau’s public safety minister said the government had no role in his decision to resign.
Trudeau on Monday invoked the little-used Emergencies Act, signaling the federal government was taking control of a situation local and provincial police have struggled to resolve as protests against pandemic restrictions dragged on.
Discussions on invoking the rarely used powers first began on Thursday as the blockade of the Ambassador Bridge, a key U.S.-Canada trade artery between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, entered its third day, two sources, who are familiar with the discussions, told Reuters.
‘The Windsor police kind of let it happen,’ one of the sources said. All requested anonymity given the sensitivity of the situation. Windsor police asked for more resources, which the province provided.
The bridge blockade led to the temporary shutdown of several car plants before police finally cleared it on Sunday after six days, and after a concerned call from U.S. President Joe Biden to Trudeau.
Meanwhile, protesters who had paralyzed parts of Ottawa since Jan. 28 were getting more entrenched, and there was growing concern about the presence of ‘nefarious elements’ among the protesters. Police in Alberta later seized guns and ammunition from a group linked to a border protest.
‘The prime minister was quite mad,’ said a government source, referring to a Thursday meeting of the federal Incident Response Group, made up of Trudeau’s top advisers. ‘He said we need to get out in front of this.’
‘He was demanding solutions’ at the meeting, a third source familiar with the matter said, adding Trudeau was saying: ‘Let’s put everything on the table and say, what are the good ideas here?’
The third source said the government realized last week that ‘enforcement wasn’t happening’ after initially waiting to see how provincial authorities and local police responded.
‘He also needed to know fully that … we have given it enough time for it to work or not work, or partially work, and think about what more we need to do,’ the source said. ‘He didn’t want to jump ahead of things that were happening.’
A police officer stands guard near trucks participating in a blockade of downtown streets near the parliament building in Ottawa as a demonstration led by truck drivers protesting vaccine mandates continues on Wednesday
Signs of support are attached to a fence that surrounds the parliament building in Ottawa on Wednesday
A police officer speaks with a trucker parked in downtown Ottawa, Wednesday
Ottawa police initially said their objective was to de-escalate. Later they asked both the provincial and federal governments for more resources, saying they were outnumbered.
The addition of chaotic scenes from Ottawa on the weekend, including hundreds of residents turning out to block another convoy from joining the protesters, proved too much, two of the sources said.
Police stood by as protesters bathed in a hot tub and partied into the night directly in front of parliament and below the prime minister’s office.
‘This past weekend in Ottawa really drove some people over the edge, the hot tub, the stage, and … the impotence of the police to do something about it,’ the source said.
Police chief Peter Sloly resigned on Tuesday amid criticism of his force’s performance, city officials said on Tuesday.
The Ottawa protest involves some 360 trucks and vehicles, several hundred protesters, and a large cache of funds from donors in the United States and Canada.
‘If you’re asking for one factor, it was Ottawa … the Ottawa situation is completely out of control. We just went through a third weekend of no enforcement,’ said the second source.
Concerns that protesters may re-occupy border crossings and disrupt crucial trade flows with the United States and affect publicly safety also factored into the decision, the sources said.
Another factor was the specter of violence when police in Alberta on Monday arrested 11 people and seized guns and ammunition.
‘There are organized nefarious elements that are involved with these things,’ said the second source, citing the Alberta gun seizure.
‘There’s an element here that is … trying to subvert the normal course of our democracy, which has to be protected, regardless of who’s the government,’ the third source said.
‘That’s really the difference between this and other protests that we’ve seen.’
Seven of the 11 people arrested were released Tuesday without having to post bail following virtual hearings at a provincial court in Lethbridge, Alberta, while the four facing more serious charges are being held pending bail hearings on Friday.
‘The people who weren’t charged with conspiracy to commit murder got released on consent,’ defense lawyer Yoav Niv, whose firm is representing several of the accused, told DailyMail.com
He wouldn’t comment on specifics of the case, other than to say, ‘Everyone’s presumed innocent until proven guilty.’
Calgary resident Johnson Chichow Law, who was one of those arrested on lesser charges, looks after his two young daughters full-time and is a hard worker, a friend told DailyMail.com on Tuesday.
‘I’m honestly shocked by this news,’ said his friend, who requested to remain anonymous given the contentiousness of the protests.
The Freedom Convoy, a trucker-led movement calling on the government to lift vaccine mandates, is largely based in Ottawa. A protestor is seen lifting a flag in the nation’s capital on February 15, 2022
Pictured: Protest supporters pull fuel cans in wagons in front of Parliament Hill on February 15, 2022
A trucker is pictured lifting weights in between instances of protesting against Covid-19 mandates on February 15, 2022
Joanne Person, also arrested on the lesser charges, posted about her ordeal on a Facebook chat group for the Coutts protesters.
‘Go help us,’ she wrote, omitting the last letter of ‘God.’
‘The full tactical is at my home and they are teloing (sic) us to leave the home and that they are entering. My god. Please help us.
‘They are threating (sic) me. I fear for our lives,’ she added.