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Who will testify at the 'Freedom Convoy' commission? Here's the list of anticipated witnesses

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Hearings as part of the Public Order Emergency Commission’s national inquiry into the federal government’s unprecedented use of the Emergencies Act begin Thursday.

Ahead of the public testimony Commissioner Paul Rouleau has released a list of 65 “anticipated” witnesses, and it includes convoy organizers, government officials, local residents, law enforcement officers and other key players.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — who is on the list of anticipated witnesses — invoked the Emergencies Act for nine days in February to help dismantle the “Freedom Convoy” protest that blockaded some border crossings and gridlocked downtown Ottawa for weeks. CTVNews.ca breaks down who is on the docket to testify over the next six weeks of hearings, and why their testimony is being sought.

CONVOY ORGANIZERS, KEY PROTESTORS

Tamara Lich — Lich was a central figure throughout the protests. A lead organizer who travelled across the country as part of the convoy, Lich was arrested just days after the Emergencies Act was invoked, ahead of police moving in to clear out the trucks and protesters in Ottawa. There was outcry and a flood of support from protestors when Lich breached the conditions of her bail in June, but she was once again released with new bail conditions in late July. She, along with other convoy organizers, has asked that $450,000 in donations received during the protests be unfrozen to pay for them to stay in Ottawa and testify at the public inquiry.

Patrick King — King was a protestor and conspiracy theorist who livestreamed his arrest from his truck in February. Court documents obtained by CTV News showed King was in frequent contact with the other convoy organizers, despite denials of his participation. He was arrested on several charges, including intimidation, counselling intimidation, and obstructing police. King was released on bail in mid-July.

Benjamin Dichter — Truck driver and convoy organizer Dichter was one of the movement’s official spokespeople.

Tom Marazzo — Marazzo was a convoy spokesperson and the leader of Veterans 4 Freedom, which also organized rallies in Ottawa during Canada Day.

Chris Barber — Barber was a truck driver and convoy organizer who was arrested on Feb. 17 on several charges. He was released on bond with conditions. He is expected to go to trial in Sept. 2023.

Brigitte Belton — Belton is a trucker and protestor, and one of the named defendants in the class-action lawsuit on behalf of Ottawa residents and businesses.

James Bauder —Bauder is a convoy protest organizer and the founder of Canada Unity, an anti-mandate group that was involved in much of the initial organization of the protests. He has posted several conspiracy theories online. He was arrested in Ottawa in February and released on a promise to appear later in court.

Steeve Charland —Charland is a protestor from Grenville, Que., who was arrested nearly a week after the demonstrations were dismantled on charges of mischief and counselling to commit mischief.

Marco Van Huigenbos — Marco Van Huigenbos was one of the organizers of the Coutts, Alta., blockade that limited access to the border with the United States.

Ottawa City Councillor for Somerset Ward Catherine McKenney participates in a “community safety walk” with Centretown residents in reaction to a protest against COVID-19 restrictions in Ottawa that is continuing into its second week, on Friday, Feb. 4, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

KEY OTTAWA PLAYERS, RESIDENTS AND ELECTED OFFICIALS

Zexi Li — Zexi Li is the downtown Ottawa resident who launched the class-action lawsuit on behalf of residents and businesses in the city that were impacted by the three-week protests. The lawsuit is seeking more than $300 million in damages.

Jim Watson — Outgoing Ottawa Mayor Watson called a state of emergency in the city, made repeated calls for an end to the protests, and called the situation ‘completely out of control’ before the Emergencies Act was invoked.

Catherine McKenney — Ottawa City Councilor and mayoral hopeful McKenney represents Somerset Ward, which encompasses most of the Centretown neighbourhood and the area around Parliament Hill, where the majority of the protesters stayed for three weeks. McKenney was a vocal advocate for stronger police enforcement and took to the streets to document the experience from the perspective of a downtown resident.

Mathieu Fleury — Ottawa City Councilor Fleury represents the Rideau-Vanier Ward, which also included parts of the protest zone and was heavily impacted by the demonstrations.

Steve Kanellakos — Kanellakos is Ottawa’s city manager. In June, he told the parliamentary committee that’s looking into the government’s use of the Emergencies Act, independently of the public inquiry, that while he didn’t request the Emergencies Act, in a separate memo he stated it provided police with additional necessary powers.

Serge Arpin — Arpin is the chief of staff to the mayor of Ottawa.

Diane Deans — Ottawa City Councilor and former chair of the Ottawa Police Services Board, Deans was ousted from her position as chair of the police board in mid-February after she appointed an interim police chief without consultation.

Nathalie Carrier — Executive director of ZAC Quartier Vanier Business Improvement Association, which represents more than 466 property and business owners in Ottawa’s Vanier neighbourhood.

Kevin McHale — Executive director of the Sparks Street Business Improvement Association, which represents businesses along Sparks Street in the downtown core, one of the most heavily impacted parts of the city by the trucker protest. Sparks Street is within the “Occupation Zone” as designated by the class-action lawsuit.

Police officers walk on Wellington Street in front of Parliament Hill as it is clear of trucks and protesters, after police took action to end to a protest, which started in opposition to mandatory COVID-19 vaccine mandates and grew into a broader anti-government demonstration and occupation, on its 23rd day, in Ottawa, Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS

Steve Bell — Ottawa Police interim chief Steve Bell took over from Peter Sloly during the protests in February after the latter resigned. He told a parliamentary committee looking into the use of the Emergencies Act that it was not explicitly requested by police forces.

Peter Sloly — Sloly is the former Ottawa Police chief, who resigned during the protests amid heavy criticism that OPS was not doing enough to dismantle the protests and evict the truckers from the city.

Patricia Ferguson — Ferguson is the acting deputy chief of the Ottawa Police Service, a role she held during the convoy, often participating in OPS press conferences.

Robert Drummond & Robert Bernier — Drummond is an OPS Constable and Bernier is an OPS staff sergeant.

David Vigneault — Vigneault is the director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), which investigates possible security threats to Canada, and during the protests worked with law enforcement to provide intelligence about the demonstrators and help assess the risk level.

Michelle Tessier — Tessier is the deputy director of operations for CSIS.

Marie-Hèlene Chayer — Chayer is the executive director of the Integrated Threat Assessment Centre at CSIS

Brenda Lucki — Lucki is the commissioner of the RCMP, which was involved in policing the weeks of protests and played a key enforcement role at border blockades and in the eventual crackdown on Ottawa protesters.

Michael Duheme — Duheme is the RCMP’s deputy commissioner for federal policing.

Curtis Zablocki — Zablocki is the RCMP deputy commissioner for K Division in Alberta

John Ossowski — Ossowski was the president of the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) during the convoy protests, but retired in June.

Jason Crowley — Interim deputy chief for the Windsor Police Service

In addition to these law enforcement officers, there are several Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officers on the list, including OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique, Craig Abrams, Carson Pardy, Pat Morris, Russell Lucas, Marcel Beaudin and Dana Earley.

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, Justice Minister and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti and President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair stand behind Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as he announces the Emergencies Act will be invoked to deal with protests, Monday, February 14, 2022 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — The prime minister said shortly after invoking the Emergencies Act that it was “time-limited and targeted, as well as reasonable and proportionate.” He reiterated Tuesday the act was used as a “last resort.”

Minister Chrystia Freeland — Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Freeland announced after the invocation of the Emergencies Act that the bank accounts of some protestors had been frozen.

Minister Marco Mendicino — Public Safety Minister Mendicino has repeatedly defended the use of the Emergencies Act and insisted on it being critical to ending the trucker protests. He has been accused of misleading Canadians by saying several times law enforcement officials asked for the Emergencies Act to be invoked, before many said at a parliamentary committee inquiry they had not explicitly requested use of the act.

Minister Bill Blair — Emergency Preparedness Minister Blair called the protests and blockades a “critical situation” before the Emergencies Act was invoked. He later called the measures “effective” and “critical.” He told a parliamentary committee he didn’t hear police ask the federal government to invoke the Emergencies Act, calling it a “decision of government,” but adding the police “were clearly having difficulties” restoring law and order.

Minister Omar Alghabra — Canada’s Transport Minister said in January, two days after the trucker protests began in Ottawa, that the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for cross-border truckers had not had an impact on the volume of trucks at the border.

Minister Anita Anand — National Defence Minister.

Minister David Lametti — Justice Minister and Attorney General of Canada.

Minister Dominic LeBlanc — Intergovernmental Affairs Minister.

Michael Keenan — Canada’s deputy minister with Transport Canada

Christian Dea — Transport Canada’s chief economist.

Michael Sabia — Canada’s deputy finance minister. The cities of Windsor, Ont., and Ottawa have said the protests and blockades cost their municipalities millions of dollars in lost revenue and policing needs.

Rhys Mendes — Mendes is on secondment from the Bank of Canada to Canada’s department of finance, where he’s working as an assistant deputy minister for the economic policy branch.

Isabelle Jacques— An assistant deputy minister in Canada’s department of finance for the financial sector policy branch.

Cindy Termorshuizen — Associate Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Joe Comartin — Former MP and current consul general of Canada in Detroit, Michigan.

Jody Thomas — National security and intelligence adviser to the prime minister, Privy Council Office.

Jacquie Bogden — Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet (Emergency Preparedness and COVID Recovery), Privy Council Office

Janice Charette — Clerk of the Privy Council, secretary to the Cabinet.

Nathalie Drouin — Deputy Clerk of the Privy Council, associate secretary to the Cabinet.

Rob Stewart — Deputy Minister of Public Safety

Dominic Rochon — Senior Assistant Deputy Minister for Public Safety Canada

Anti-mandate demonstrators gather as a truck convoy blocks the highway the busy U.S. border crossing in Coutts, Alta., Monday, Jan. 31, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

NON-OTTAWA ELECTED OFFICIALS

Drew Dilkens —Dilkens is the mayor of Windsor, Ont., where protestors blockaded the Ambassador Bridge linking Canada to the United States for nearly a week.

Jim Willett —Willett is the mayor of Coutts, Alta., where protestors blockaded the border with the United States. Willett visited with protestors and told The Canadian Press they were ‘certainly not’ as bad as some believed, but he also urged them to end the blockades.

Marlin Degrand — Solicitor General of Alberta.

Mario Di Tommaso — Deputy Solicitor General of Ontario.

Ian Freeman — Assistant deputy minister at Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation.

With files from CTV’s Glen McGregor, Mackenzie Gray, and Rachel Aiello

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