The Canadian government is doing everything it can to stop the trucker convoy that is protesting its COVID-19 policies.
As the tuckers have gridlocked Ottawa a judge has issued an injunction preventing them from honking, arguing that the residents right to quiet supersedes the right of the truckers to protest, The Toronto Sun reported.
Ontario Superior Court Justice Hugh McLean granted a temporary 10-day injunction Monday, banning the horn honking and air horn blowing that has echoed through downtown Ottawa since demonstrators arrived in the city on Jan. 28. The ongoing noisy protest has interfered with “citizens’ right to quiet,” he said.
“People have a right to protest various things in various ways,” the Justice said, but he also agreed with the plaintiff’s attorney Paul Champ in his belief that the consistent noise could cause long term hearing damage.
“Tooting a horn is not an expression of any great thought,” the justice argued.
The Justice also said no to the trucker’s request to honk their horns for 5 minutes at 5PM.
“The only purpose of this (horn blowing) is to bring attention to this protest,” he said. “There’s no need for that anymore. The public is fully aware of what’s going on.”
The attorney argued that the plaintiff in the case, Zexi Li, 21, had measured the noise in her apartment at 80 decibels, which the attorney said was like “having a lawn mower running in her living room, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
The $9.8 million class action lawsuit is open to as many as 6,000 downtown residents, including the plaintiff, who live in what has been dubbed the “red zone.”
“I live by the words, ‘I can make it through anything,’” the plaintiff said prior to the hearing on Monday. “But I know a lot of people aren’t able to and my heart just hurts the most for them.
“I’m not seeking confrontation, but I am seeking justice for the people they’re harming every single day they’re here. It’s confrontation out of necessity,” she said.
The attorney said that since his client’s name became known she has been subjected to threats and comments from those supporting the truckers.
“My client is unbelievably brave,” the attorney said. “My client has been subject to threats, to vile abuse online. Her phone number has been put online and people have been calling her.”
When asked if she regretted her decision to bring the case, the plaintiff said she did not.
“Absolutely not. I am sick and tired of shedding tears for my neighbours. I’m sick and tired of hearing about how much fear there is in the streets,” the plaintiff said.
“I’m utterly disappointed by the city’s reaction to what is going on. It took 10 days for any action to be taken. It took 10 days for our pleas to be heard. I can only hope that there will be more management of the situation from here on out,” she said to The Sun.
“There is a peaceful way to protest. This is not it. They way they’re going about it delegitimizes their cause and, in fact, causes more irreparable harm to the people they say they’re trying to fight for. They really do need to recognize the damage their doing by being here and participating in it,” she said.
Calgary-based Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedom attorney Keith Wilson said that the protest is a matter of free expression and said it is growing around the world.
“This is a spontaneous grassroots phenomena that started in Canada and is now spreading around the world in response to what we’ve all had to endure for the last two years. It’s an effort to end that harm and that hardship,” he said.