The Freedom Convoy’s Lawyers Antics – Incompetence Or Sabotage?

Written By Wyatt Claypool, Posted on December 15, 2022

The Public Order Emergency Commission (POEC) also known as the freedom convoy inquiry is tasked with determining if the government of Canada, under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet, was justified in invoking the Emergencies Act (EA) in order to end the Freedom Convoy protest in Ottawa. For readers outside Canada, the Emergencies Measures Act is Canada’s equivalent of Martial Law and the suspension of civil liberties. 

Commission observers not viscerally anti-convoy seem to be in universal agreement that the invocation of the acts and the suspension of civil liberties were not justified for a number of reasons. There was no violence, there were no formal demands for political change, or for any elected official to resign. 

This has brought many of the witnesses linked to the government to panic as they desperately move the goalpost as to why the EA was called and under an opaque layer of bureaucratic nonsense, they have yet to disclose who in fact made the decision. Instead, they focus on trivial matters, such as unsubstantiated claims of communication with convoy leaders through Premier Dough Ford’s representatives, or try and recast antics involving bouncy castles, hot tubs, and dance parties as somehow being threats to national security. 

This deflection away from the purpose of the commission has not gone unnoticed by many viewers and perhaps this is why the legacy media, largely funded by the government being investigated, has mostly only covered the commission on a surface level.

The complicated and nuanced nature of the commission suffered another credibility blow by the legal representative of “Freedom Corp ” the legal entity set up to receive donations to the convoy through their client the JCCF (Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms).  

Keith Wilson, the JCCF-contract lawyer representing the Freedom Convoy in Ottawa during the protest. (Photo from CTV News)

It is important to note that 4 of the 7 original directors of “freedom corp” are no longer on the board of directors many of whom, Chad Eros and Chris Garrah specifically, claim they were forced out by the lawyers representing the JCCF who now claim to represent Freedom Corp. The JCCF has received all donations and funding for the trucker protest since almost $6 million in donations has been locked into escrow due to an injunction brought on by Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. 

Antics At The POEC

Overall during the POEC hearings, the JCCF lawyers representing the Freedom Corp asked some pertinent questions, but had a noticeable tendency to get off topic and turn the proceedings into viral social media clip gathering.

In a peculiar turn of events, convoy lawyer Brendan Miller seems to take an adversarial and argumentative approach to former Supreme Court Justice Paul Rouleau presiding over the hearing.  

At one point on Day 27 of the POEC, Commissioner Rouleau temporarily removed Miller from the room the inquiry was taking place in after Miller got into a yelling match with him over redactions in Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino’s evidence. 

While some convoy supporters believed Miller had been unfairly removed, many other convoy supporters were embarrassed by Miller’s adversarial approach and believed it plays into the inaccurate legacy media narrative that the convoy was a fringe movement. 

Executive Director of the Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF), Joanna Baron, regarding the behaviour of Miller during the commission said:

It got really heated. Miller has been pretty effective in some of his cross-examination, however, continuing to interrupt a judge is not professional, is not appropriate, is not effective and it’s not good for your clients. There are all kinds of ways Miller could have raised his concerns.

Mr. Miller’s fight with Commissioner Rouleau only helped to aid Justin Trudeau, since it meant Miller could not be present inside the inquiry to cross-examine Marco Mendicino and the witness who followed after him. 

Additionally, Miller was attempting to present evidence of dubious quality at the commission which supposedly proves the man flying the Nazi flag on the second day of the Freedom Convoy protest in Ottawa was a man named Brian Fox. Fox is an executive with the communications firm Enterprise Canada and is well-connected to the Conservative Party of Canada and the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party. 

Brian Fox (Photo from Enterprise Canada)

On the surface, it made no sense to accuse a Conservative communications consultant of being a Liberal plant, but if you know the President of Enterprise Canada, Jason Lietaer, who is an expert in political theatrics it all looks more like a stunt to give the Freedom Convoy bad press. 

You see, although a handful of figures from the Conservative Party had been somewhat supportive of the Freedom Convoy, it’s no secret that the establishment of the party sees the convoy as a threat. The Convoy was able to raise over $10 million in less than three weeks, far more than the Conservative Party could ever bring together itself, so Conservative operatives have more than enough motive to try and destroy the convoy’s reputation through wild accusations like Brian Fox being the Nazi flag guy. 

Enterprise Canada sent a libel notice to Miller, but again it all looks like a fake fight stage-managed by Enterprise Canada and the JCCF. The JCCF gets attention from one of their contract lawyers getting into a political slap-fight with Brian Fox while removing credibility from the Freedom Convoy, which helps the Conservative Party. 

This seems like a reasonable explanation for Miller’s actions, especially in light of him chasing down a Liberal strategist at the POEC, apparently mistaking him for Brian Fox and saying he can get him to testify.

This again makes no sense since the commissioner already disallowed testimony from Fox, and the man Miller stopped in the hallway only vaguely looked like Fox. Just more buffoonish antics that made the Freedom Convoy look bad to neutral observers. 

The day Miller was removed from the commission was not the only time he had engaged in oddly unprofessional behaviour. Observers of the commission will remember Miller’s oddly contentious cross-examination of Freedom Convoy spokesman Benjamin Dichter. 

In one of many strange movements of this cross-examination, Miller alleged Dichter had “broke into” Tamara Lich’s Twitter account to tweet that there was no deal between the Freedom Convoy and the City of Ottawa to get the trucks out of the city.  Dichter denied breaking into Lich’s account and said she gave him permission, but Miller persisted in his accusation until Tamara Lich (Miller’s own client) stated during her own testimony that she told Dichter to operate her Twitter account on her behalf. 

It should be noted that Benjamin Dichter was also an original board member on the Freedom Convoy Corp’s board, but is not being represented by the JCCF, meaning he and other board members not being represented do not have the chance to cross-examine other witnesses, and that seems to be by design. 

Because Dichter and other witnesses like Chris Garrah did not have standing, their lawyer, Jim Karahalios, was unable to dig deeper into the reasons why JCCF lawyer for the Freedom Convoy during the protest, Kieth Wilson, and convoy volunteer Tom Marazzo were talking to Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s former Chief of Staff, Dean French, and representative of Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson. 

Wilson and Marazzo had started negotiations to move the trucks either out of Ottawa or have them consolidated around Parliament likely without approval by the board of Freedom Corp. It was not until after they were already in secret negotiations with Ford’s political ally and the city that Keith suddenly asked for permission from the board to negotiate. This is effectively the convoy’s own lawyer pressuring them into negotiations to move trucks, for zero concessions from the other side. 

Wilson claimed to Diverge Media that he got permission beforehand and that there were meeting minutes proving this, but when Diverge Media investigator Greg Staley asked for those minutes, Keith responded by asking “do you have a lawyer?”

When Dichter later tweeted out that there was no deal to move trucks, after Wilson texted him that there was no deal, Wilson and the JCCF flipped on Dichter and blamed him for the Emergencies Act for announcing there was no deal.

(Note: Even though Benjamin Dichter was told by Kieth Wilson that there was no deal, Wilson and Marazzo still went on to get trucks consolidated on Wellington street, which put the protest in a vulnerable position, and for nothing in return from the city or federal government.)

Miller’s questioning of Dichter exposed that this was the narrative Wilson, Marazzo, and the JCCF were going along with, which is not only a false narrative but is effectively making excuses for Justin Trudeau invoking the Emergencies Act. 

Speaking of Trudeau, should not come off as a bit surprising that after Miller’s antics with Brian Fox, and missing Marco Mendicino’s cross-examination after being removed by Commissioner Rouleau, that Miller then proceeded to miss cross-examining Trudeau after saying he was “exhausted.”

Eva Chipiuk, another JCCF contracted lawyer, had to step in to cross-examine Trudeau, breaking up the continuity of the Freedom Corp’s legal representation. Chipiuk generated some viral clips, especially in her closing statement, which no doubt a lot of Freedom Convoy supporters liked, but it must be said how poor it looks to neutral observers of the POEC for Chipiuk to ask for Justin Trudeau’s resignation, turning a legal process into a political one, making the convoy look petty. 

Kieth Wilson had actually tweeted out that he made the decision to have Chipiuk go political during her closing statement, which again only helps make it easier for Commissioner Rouleau to dismiss the Freedom Corp’s case in his final report. 

For these reasons, there has been growing suspicion among convoy supporters as to what was the role of the JCCF legal team that showed up uninvited to Ottawa, who had direct links to Doug Ford’s political network through Dean French. 

Brendan Miller may have generated some attention-grabbing moments during his cross-examinations and statements at the POEC, but the actual narrative he tried to create only helps Keith Wilson and Tom Marazzo spin their secret dealings with Doug Ford operatives to sell the Freedom Convoy out as an attempt to save it. 

Kieth Wilson and Tom Marazzo.

It probably doesn’t even need to be said that at the end of the day all this nonsense helps protect Justin Trudeau from facing real public scrutiny. 

Wyatt Claypool

Wyatt is a student at Mount Royal University, where he is the president of its Campus Conservative club. In his writing, he focuses on covering provincial and federal politics, firearms regulation, and the energy sector. Wyatt has also previously written for The Post Millennial.

3 responses to “The Freedom Convoy’s Lawyers Antics – Incompetence Or Sabotage?”

  1. Jeff says:

    Woe… what an accurate an eye opening piece of true journalism. I had forgotten what it’s like to read such material. So refreshing and welcomed. I also had observed many moments of the inquiry with hands in WTF positioning. How and why critical opportunities that would’ve revealed certain truths were theatrically squandered? At times, I sincerely felt I was watching a rigged sporting event, they were deliberately “throwing the game” while still feebly attempting to present otherwise to all in attendance. And I ashamedly never recognized the JCCF legal team inserted themselves uninvited. A well presented argument and eye opener.

  2. Dan says:

    Terrific analysis. I have to say I have been wrestling with many of the same questions. Another point to weigh on the suspiscion scale, was Kieth Wilson’s interview with Viva Frei after arguing the Brian Peckford challenge to travel mandates this fall. It’s a big lawsuit and many have their hopes pinned there. Although Kieth admitted he was tired and sleepless at the time of interview his recollection of the arguments seemed to rest on style, interlocution and gamesmanship, there was a strange lack of substance or legal merit. The lawsuit itself seems strong, but apparently not strong enough.

    Secondly the case the JCCF filed on behalf of Action4Canada seemed odd, unfocussed and unprofessional rife with spelling mistakes and unfounded (likely true but offpoint) accusations of conspiracy. Mind you this was early in the pandemic and there were greater pressures and more uncertainty then. However, there were clearly novice errors, you just wouldnt expect in a serious lawsuit.

    At any rate, as the old axiom goes, never attribute anything to malice that can be attributed to incompetance.

    Having said that Kieth is clearly skilled and sharp, as is Brian Peckford and Brian would smell a rat much easier than I could. So I will continue to pray we catch a break. Please keep us covered with this all important story. We are very grateful for your deep dives and top notch journalism.

  3. TrackerK9 says:

    Great Article! BJ was treated like something on the bottom of your shoe, which is more telling about them, than it is about him. One day soon, ALL the truth will come out.