Police continue arresting labour activists

Ottawa cops show solidarity with fellow officers in Halifax by jailing picketers outside mail facilities.

A screenshot from the video showing Ottawa police confronting activists picketing for Canada Post employees. - VIA FACEBOOK
A screenshot from the video showing Ottawa police confronting activists picketing for Canada Post employees.

Labour activists protesting the back-to-work legislation forced onto unionized Canada Post employees keep running afoul of police.

A news release from the group Organizing 4 Justice says cops in Ottawa arrested four protesters early Wednesday morning as they were picketing outside a mail processing plant.

A video shared on Facebook shows a man identified as Peter Whitaker—a representative for the National Organization of Retired Postal Workers—being told by police to move to the sidewalk so as not to obstruct Canada Post business. Another video shows police escorting the man away in handcuffs as the assembled crowd chants “shame.”

It’s remarkably similar to the scene outside the Canada Post offices on Almon Street this past Sunday when Halifax Regional Police arrested six protesters for mischief and obstructing a peace officer.

Police say the protesters were impacting two-way traffic by blocking Canada’s Post’s access to Monaghan Drive, which “could have resulted in an injury to a member of the public as it posed a serious public safety threat.”

Responding officers tried to move the protesters and vehicles, but when that failed six picketers were led away in handcuffs.

Brad Fougere, Austin Hiltz, Justin Whitten, Darius Mirshahi, Art Bouman and Tony Tracy were subsequently released from custody the next day and are scheduled to appear in court to enter a plea on January 4.

In the interim, they’ve been barred from being within 300 feet of a Canada Post facility.

In a post to Facebook, Tracy says he and lawyer Joel Pink will be fighting the charges in court.

“The right to full and fair collective bargaining, and the fundamental Charter-protected right to strike, are always worth defending,” Tracy writes. “Bosses and governments have never given us rights that we haven’t fought for, and those ‘rights’ are meaningless if not defended.”

A release from the Canadian Union of Postal Workers this week says various blockades of Canada Post facilities continue to happen at locations across the country.

Canada Post calls the ongoing protests “illegal pickets” now that the Trudeau government has enforced back-to-work legislation.

“We’ll continue to take appropriate action to address illegal activity impacting the collection and delivery of mail and parcels,” the corporation has told media.

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