An Ottawa NDP politician who called for a crackdown against the Freedom Convoy is complaining about noise bylaw tickets being issued to pro-Palestine protesters.

Joel Harden, a socialist member of Ontario’s legislature, was ticketed for using a megaphone at a rally and is now highlighting the need to protect “core civil liberties.”

Harden expressed his frustration with being fined in a letter to Ottawa Mayor Mark Sutcliffe and members of Ottawa City Council.

“The Palestinian community has hosted weekly protests expressing heartfelt, anguished grief, for reasons one can fully appreciate,” he said. “The Palestinian events I’ve witnessed have been passionate, but the noise involved was not excessive, no louder than Capital Pride or several of our city’s terrific street festivals.”

Harden urged the city to “ensure people can speak their mind reasonably without repercussions.”

“We have a shared interest in community safety, and ensuring Ottawa is a place where core civil liberties are protected,” he said.

The tickets in question were handed out at a large pro-Palestine protest held on Dec. 30 in the Canadian capital.

Many were quick to call out the socialist MPP’s hypocrisy, given that he had been a staunch opponent of the Freedom Convoy. 

Harden referred to the convoy as an “occupation” and suggested it had antisemitic elements.

“We have seen antisemitic and white nationalist flags being flown around town,” said Harden in a Feb. 2022 letter denouncing the convoy.

Carleton Progressive Conservative MPP Goldie Ghamari took to X (formerly Twitter) to ask Harden “why the double standard? Does the law not apply equally to everyone?”

Ghamari’s colleague, Nepean MPP Lisa MacLeod, also criticized Harden.

Several X users also called out the Ottawa MPP.

“So Ottawa’s hypocrite MPP (Joel Harden) wants immunity for protesters he agrees with but fines for those he doesn’t. Hypocrisy has another name: Joel Harden,” said one user.

“That ticket was probably for his own protection. Megaphones have been known to instigate unprovoked assaults against MPP Joel Harden in the past,” said another. This was in reference to Harden appearing to injure himself with his megaphone while counter protesting parents opposed to gender ideology in June 2023.

Harden was not the only prominent anti-convoy figure to oppose the handing out of noise fines to pro-Palestine protesters.

Ottawa lawyer Paul Champ, who helped obtain an injunction against honking during the convoy and who is now involved in a 300 million dollar lawsuit against the convoy’s organizers, said the ticketing of pro-Palestinian protesters is “unacceptable” and an “affront to our deepest and most important democratic values: the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.” 

Champ defended his position in a statement to True North, noting that he is a supporter of protests that “can be noisy and disruptive and cause inconvenience,” but that “there are limits.” He says the convoy crossed that line, but not the Dec. 30 pro-Palestinian rally. 

“The protest for a ceasefire in Gaza was a classic protest,” he said. “A few thousand people marched down some streets with signs and they were chanting and singing as they walked. Some people were using megaphones to direct the marching crowds and the chants. Some streets were obstructed, but the entire march lasted only two to three hours.”

Champ said if the convoy had lasted three hours instead of three weeks, it would have been reasonable.

“But of course, that’s not what they did,” he said.

University of Ottawa law and epidemiology professor Amir Attaran and Horizon Ottawa director Sam Hersh, who both vehemently opposed the convoy, also criticized the fining of pro-Palestinian protesters.

Harden did not respond to a request for comment from True North.