Alberta legislature gives ‘Freedom Convoy’ organizer a hero’s welcome

One of the most controversial parts of budget day in Alberta has nothing to do with the budget itself. As Shilpa Downton reports, there’s plenty of heated debate over ‘who’ independent MLA Drew Barnes invited to sit in the gallery.

The Alberta government provided a hero’s welcome to “Freedom Convoy” organizer Tamara Lich, which is being slammed online.

Before the province announced the latest budget on Tuesday, Drew Barnes, a Medicine Hat independent MLA, invited Lich to sit in the gallery.

She is set to go on trial in September on charges including mischief for her role in last year’s Ottawa convoy.

“It is my distinct pleasure to welcome one of my constituents. She is a grandma, a musician, and a true leader within the freedom movement,” Barnes said.

“She gave hope to all of Alberta, Canada, and the world. She was proud to stand strong and free in the face of the worst government overreach in a generation, Tamara Lich.”

After saying she received the support of “tens of thousands of Canadians,” Lich stood up to raucous applause from the chamber.

After clips from the legislature were shared on Twitter, reactions have mostly slammed the independent MP and the Alberta government.

“Learning that Tamara Lich was introduced to the Legislature as someone who ‘gave hope to all of Alberta, Canada, and the world’ fills me with disgust. I actually feel a pit in my stomach,” said one tweet, which received nearly 900 likes.

Another said, “Every person who applauded should be ashamed of themselves.”

“This absolutely disgusts me. What a slap in the face to so many Albertans. And other Canadians. Introducing Tamara Lich to the Leg as a Freedom hero? UCP HAVE GOT TO GO,” said one person in a tweet.

Related Stories:

Marco Van Huigenbos, an organizer in the Coutts blockade and Fort Macleod town councillor, was also invited by MLA Todd Loewen.

He is facing charges of mischief over $5,000. The RCMP alleges he was among a group of four that was integral in organizing the Coutts border blockade.

Representing ‘all Albertans’

CityNews spoke with Calgary resident Anjli Acharya, and she believes every Canadian has the right to participate respectfully within the political system.

And while there were issues with Lich being a guest, her issue isn’t necessarily with her being there.

“[It] speaks to our political system and our representative government that allows us to have that voice, and I’ll always support the right to have that voice,” Acharya told CityNews.

But in terms of whether that represents all Albertans … I would question it, and I would encourage individuals who are evaluating whether that particular representative is representing all Albertans, and we’re going to have to question that moving forward.”

Acharya says that the word “freedom” has been thrown around loosely by protestors and is a relative term.

Meanwhile, she says all Albertans were faced with a choice whether or not to follow public health measures, which she strongly believes were valuable in protecting vulnerable Albertans.

“When we made those choices to follow public health guidelines, it was the betterment for our families and for the communities that we lived in, and those are the core values of, I think most, Albertans,” Acharya said.

Lich and the convoy occupied the capital of Canada from Jan. 22 to Feb. 23, 2022. Over 120,000 truckers seized the capital without much interference from police.

The convoy also drafted a “memorandum of understanding” for the federal government to cease all COVID-19-related restrictions.

Prime Minister Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act on Feb. 14, 2022, for the first time since it replaced the War Measures Act in 1988, which granted extraordinary powers to police and governments to limit the protesters’ right to assembly.

Related Stories:

In addition, the bank accounts of protestors were frozen in the hopes of clearing the demonstrations and preventing protesters from returning.

While it received controversy, the Public Order Emergency Commission said it was justified but “regrettable” that it happened.

-With files from Cormac McSweeney

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today