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Tuesday, December 06, 2022

Sudbury election candidate named in $306M Freedom Convoy trial

Of the damages sought, 10 percent are for “pain and pain and distress caused by people living and working in the city of Ottawa.”

Greater Sudbury, Ont. — As one of the key figures in this year’s so-called Freedom Convoy for Ottawa, Sudbury’s Jason LaFace has been targeted in a class-action lawsuit that seeks $306 million in restitution.

He is one of 17 people named in the initial round of legal documents in the class-action lawsuit, although attorney Paul Champ said more defendants are to come with license plates from more than 400 semi-trucks, of which he has. About 300 names so far.

Other notable defendants listed thus far include fellow organizers Chris Barber (Swift Current, Sask.), Patrick King (Red Deer, Alta.) and Tamara Licht (Medicine Hat, Alta.).

LaFace is currently seeking public office as the Ontario Party’s candidate for Sudbury in the June 2 provincial election. During a convoy of truck drivers and their supporters this year protesting a COVID-related mandate, he was identified as the “road captain” for northern Ontario.

The convoy made its way across Canada through various routes and converged in Ottawa in late January and early February, where they blocked several blocks of the city’s downtown core for several days, half-truck honking. and destroyed hundreds of vehicles.

The lawsuit, Champ told Sudbury.com, is “about 10 percent for aches and pains and discomfort that were caused by people living and working in downtown Ottawa.”

The lion’s share, he said, “is in relation to lost wages and business losses for all businesses that closed in the city of Ottawa and all workers that closed in that period.”

In addition, those affected by the convoy have reported suffering from the hearing disorder tinnitus as a result of truck drivers honking their horns at all times of the day and night, and shortness of breath due to over 400 trucks idling within several city blocks. Worry about the problem. Eventually the downtown core 24 hours a day for several days.

As a human rights lawyer, Champ made it clear that he cared “very deeply and passionately” about the right to protest, but that the Freedom Convoy participants worked well on the line.

Their tactics, he said, were “designed to cause harm to others, and especially to a third party.”

“When they arrived in Ottawa their plan was to completely block off the streets of downtown Ottawa, where more than 12,000 people lived in the area they had closed, as well as a few hundred businesses that were operating before. ,” They said.

“They were blowing air horns and train horns from early morning until very late at night with the intention and purpose of making life miserable for the people of the city of Ottawa because they thought they would be able to persuade the government to their demands. ..”

Freedoms are not unlimited, he said, adding that if they were, “we would be in a state of anarchy.”

One’s personal freedom to swing one’s fist ends, he clarified, when it comes into contact with one’s nose.

“Why don’t I drive on the left hand side of the road? It is interfering with my freedom. Uh, traffic light, who says I have to stop at red? It is interfering with my freedom… It is very easy to recognize the juvenile base of this quote-unquote ‘philosophy’ that some of these freedom convoy protesters had.

The Champ’s office has created a website for the Ottawa Convoy Class Action, which can be accessed by clicking here. It includes the names of its defendants, with LaFace being the only person from the Greater Sudbury area to have been listed so far.

Residents of the area saw the convoy making its way through Greater Sudbury in late January, during which hundreds of people made their way through the municipality to appease the participants. At least 137 Sudbury-area donors later contributed to a GiveSendGo fundraiser to help truckers and their supporters while they were camping in Ottawa.

Sudbury.com reported the convoy from its stop at the Nair Center, where LaFace identified himself as a key organizer and explained the attempt on camera.

When informed of his name being included in the class-action lawsuit, LaFace issued an email response to Sudbury.com’s inquiry, stating, “Nothing is known nor I care to give it any energy.” He also denied being served any legal documents.

Not so, said the champ.

“We just served up the original claim to LaFace about a week ago,” Champ said. “We were having a hard time tracking him down.”

LaFace played a significant role in the convoy, the lawyer said, including its more problematic components.

“It is my understanding that on the ground he was one of the primary contacts with the truck drivers he organized and working on the ground to make sure those truck drivers were motivated and interested to stay on the ground. , block Ottawa’s roads and continue to honor them and remain inactive 24 hours a day, which are the main focus of the damages in the claim.”

Champ said the specifics of the class-action lawsuit will continue in the coming months. The goal is to file a motion for certification in February, with more defendants expected by then.

A handful of plaintiffs represent groups of people affected by the convoy capture of downtown Ottawa, which includes a dozen city blocks, thousands of residents, and potentially hundreds of businesses.

So far, the champ said his office was directly contacted by more than 1,000 people.

“Make no mistake, this is fully supported by the people of the city of Ottawa,” said Champ, as they prepare experts to determine medical damages from noise pollution, air pollution and economic losses resulting from business. Huh. ,

Like everything else, the $306 million estimate remains liquid.

“We are still measuring how severe the medical losses were,” he said. “We can actually increase the amount on the claim.”

Sudbury.com contacted the Ontario party regarding the name of LaFace as a defendant in the class-action lawsuit, but did not receive an immediate response. Party leader Derek Sloan’s Sudbury campaign confirmed his strong support for the convoy earlier this month.

Tyler Clark covers city hall and political affairs for Sudbury.com.

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