A Freedom Convoy trucker has been told to turn himself in to the Ottawa Police Service as he awaits four criminal charges. 

Harold Jonker, who runs Jonker Trucking Inc. out of Niagara, Ont., has announced that he’ll turn himself in to the Ottawa police on May 10, where he’ll be fingerprinted and have a court appearance. 

He faces one charge of mischief for obstructing property; one count of intimidation by blocking or obstructing highway; and two counts of counsel for an uncommitted, indictable offence.

Jonker said he’s surprised that he’s being charged 15 months after the 2022 Freedom Convoy ended. 

“I’m definitely scratching my head like, ‘Why now? Why not a year ago?’” he told True North. 

The Freedom Convoy protests emerged in winter 2022 over federal Covid-19 restrictions, including the vaccine mandate for cross-border truckers. 

In February 2022, Jonker drove up to Ottawa in his semi, along with 12 other trucks from his company. He was featured prominently in the Freedom Occupation documentary about the protest, which was distributed by True North. 

While 90% of his trucking business is from the US, Jonker said he participated in the Convoy because the restrictions were impacting everyone.

“It was never just about the truck drivers to us,” he said, adding that some of his drivers attended the protest despite being vaccinated. 

He was first contacted about the charges by the Niagara Regional Police Service and received a bond committing to turn himself in to Ottawa later this month.

In a video posted to YouTube on Monday night, Jonker said it was an “emotional week” as he learned he awaited charges for participating in a “beautiful” event. 

He called the charges “confusing,” but added, “I think this is what all the other wonderful leaders of the Convoy were charged with.”

Jonker said he’s hoping to have a Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) represent him for the criminal charges. 

He’s already working with a JCCF lawyer after an integrity commissioner rule last summer that he broke the municipal code of conduct for participating in the Convoy when he was a part-time councillor for West Lincoln, a township near Niagara Falls, Ont. 

Jonker said no one else he knows from the Convoy has been charged recently. He said others are now wondering if charges will come, but they’re not afraid.

“When you have the truth on your side, it’s not that big of a burden,” he told True North.

In November, the Public Order Emergency Commission, which studied Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s invocation of the never-before-used Emergencies Act to remove protesters from Ottawa, found that Trudeau’s was justified in using the powers. 

The commissioner also ruled that Trudeau used inflammatory language and worsened the situation when he said protesters were part of a “fringe minority” with “unacceptable views.” 

You can watch the Freedom Occupation here

Author

  • Rachel Parker

    Rachel is a seasoned political reporter who’s covered government institutions from a variety of levels. A Carleton University journalism graduate, she was a multimedia reporter for three local Niagara newspapers. Her work has been published in the Toronto Star. Rachel was the inaugural recipient of the Political Matters internship, placing her at The Globe and Mail’s parliamentary bureau. She spent three years covering the federal government for iPolitics. Rachel is the Alberta correspondent for True North based in Edmonton.