On Day 17 of the Emergencies Act hearings, Tamara Lich concluded her testimony and former RCMP officer Daniel Bulford testified as a supporter of the Convoy. 

Bulford, who resigned from the RCMP in December 2021 after opposing federal vaccine mandates, joined the Freedom Convoy as the key security advisor and later as a police liaison. 

“I spoke out publicly against the federal government vaccine mandate,” Bulford said. He told the commission that pandemic restrictions over the last few years had caused problems for him and his family, and that mandates prevented him from flying to see family.

“We lost neighbours and friends,” he added.

When asked what led to his resignation, Bulford said that he had seen Canada “degenerate” and that he felt that he was not treated as an equal citizen..

“Prior to the Convoy, I was ready to leave the country,” said Bulford. 

Bulford strongly condemned Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s comments on the unvaccinated in the lead up to the 2021 election.

“The “dehumanization effort had begun” when Trudeau announced federal vaccine mandates, Bulford said. “The Canadian population was led to believe that people who weren’t vaccinated were a threat,” he added.

When asked what his experience of the Freedom Convoy was after the first weekend, Bulford said it was a very emotional experience.

“It was the largest event I had observed in downtown Ottawa,” said Bulford. “It was a festive atmosphere, people were very emotional.”

“Seeing the convoy and the rallying of support behind it all across Canada restored my faith in Canadians,” added Bulford. “ They weren’t going to let Canada degenerate further.”

Bulford was arrested on Feb. 19 for mischief but was never charged. His bank account was also frozen during this time.

Earlier in the day, Tamara Lich continued her testimony from the day before. She said her primary goal was to send a message to the government and to fellow Canadians.

She said she heard many heartbreaking stories about lockdowns and restrictions and even had many Ottawa residents support the protests. 

Protesters Maggie Hope Braun and Veteran Chris Deering were asked to take the stand. Deerin, who said he was wounded during his time in Afghanistan, said he came to Ottawa to protest because he felt it was his duty.

“Seeing what was happening over the last few years was troubling,” Deerin said. “For the last two years, I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t grieve for my comrades in Nova Scotia because I wasn’t allowed to cross the border in my own vehicle by myself to a cemetery.”

Deering said he felt obliged to stay in Ottawa after the Emergencies Act was invoked to help people.

Deering said he spoke to a few officers and told him why he was there. He asked them to be careful with his bad back if they arrest him. However, when asked to describe his arrest, Deering said that police kneed him and punched him in the head multiple times before having his hands zip tied.

“It was the worst pain I had felt since I’d been blown up,” Deering added. “They had no right to do what they did.”

Maggie Hope Braun described feeling frustrated after two years of increasingly restrictive mandates.

“I was just losing hope and really looking for options on how I could find peace and safety for my family,” she said.

On the day of the crackdown, Braun said she had knelt down in front of the police and told them she would not move. 

“That was my line in the sand,” she said.

Braun said since her experience in Ottawa she spoke to a therapist and exhibited similar symptoms to PTSD.

Braun and Deering both described being driven out of town and dropped off without shelter after being arrested.

Jeremey MacKenzie also took the stand today by video from the Saskatoon Correctional Centre.

MacKenzie, a founding member of the People’s Party of Canada, was asked to describe Diagolon, a fictitious country he conjured up early on in the pandemic on a live-stream.

He explained that Diagolon was a joke that had turned into a community of fans of his podcast and that he often does meet and greets and barbecues with fans.

Discussing the Canadian Anti-Hate Network (CAHN), which had described Diagolon as an “extremist group,” MacKenzie became highly critical.

MacKenzie described that CAHN was responsible for spreading a rumour that an alleged antisemitic pamphlet was being distributed to participants of the convoy. The photo shared by a prominent CAHN member had in fact originated in Miami, Florida weeks prior to the protests.

When asked if he was in contact with the main Convoy organizers such as Tamara Lich or Tom Marazzo, he said he spoke to them rarely.

Hearings will resume on Monday November 7 at 9:30 am ET. Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens is expected to testify next week.

True North will continue to have daily coverage of the ongoing Emergencies Act hearings.