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More arguments in convoy organizers’ trial, committees vote on budgets and the Ontario Liberal leadership race: 5 stories to watch in Ottawa this week

The trial of two “Freedom Convoy” organizers is set to resume this week, city of Ottawa committees finalize their 2024 budgets, and an Ottawa MP could be the next Ontario Liberal leader. looks at five stories to watch this week.

Tamara Lich and Chris Barber trial resumes

Arguments from the defence are expected to be heard in court this week in the trial of two prominent “Freedom Convoy” organizers.

The Crown finished its case against Tamara Lich and Chris Barber last Monday. Lich and Barber are each accused of mischief and intimidation, among other charges connected to the massive anti-government protest in downtown Ottawa that blockaded streets for three weeks.

The Crown is hoping to prove that Lich and Barber conspired so closely together that evidence against one of them should apply to the other. The defence, however, argues that the conspiracy allegation should be dropped.

Lawyers for the accused say the Crown has not proven that Lich and Barber agreed to protest COVID-19 mandates by illegal means.

Another trial for a different prominent figure in the “Freedom Convoy” movement, Pat King, was originally scheduled to begin this week, but it has been delayed until May.

Freedom Convoy organizers Tamara Lich and Chris Barber wait for the Public Order Emergency Commission to begin, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Budget season at Ottawa city hall

City of Ottawa committees will be meeting this week to finalize their 2024 budgets to be presented to council Dec. 6.

Committees meeting to discuss budgets this week include the Ottawa Police Services Board on Monday; the Community Services Committee on Tuesday; the Planning and Housing Committee on Wednesday; the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee on Thursday; and the Emergency Preparedness and Protective Services Committee on Friday.

The city will be spending more than $4.6 billion in operating expenses in 2024 and $1.2 billion on capital investments. Funding will come from a 2.5 per cent property tax increase, a 1.7 per cent increase in assessment growth, and higher taxes for services like transit, the police, and water.

The Ottawa Police Service is looking for a $13.4 million increase in funding over 2023 levels for a net operating budget of $372.4 million, according to documents prepared for the board. The Community Services Committee is voting on a $17.5 million increase over 2023. The Planning and Housing Committee is looking at $2.2 million more. The Emergency Preparedness and Protective Service Committee is looking at a $12.7 million increase, and the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee is expecting to spend $110,000 more next year.

Ottawa City Hall (CTV News Ottawa)

Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday

With Black Friday in the books, businesses are turning to their online sales this week.

Cyber Monday is touted as the busiest online shopping day of the year. E-commerce giant Shopify says Cyber Monday sales can bring big benefits to online retailers. Last year, the company said shoppers spent $7.5 billion across its platform over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend.

The increased cost of living concerns this year, however, could put a damper on sales. Deloitte predicts the average Canadian shopper will spend $1,347 this holiday season, down 11 per cent from last year.

Charities will be hoping for some much-needed funding on Giving Tuesday, which encourages people to make donations to charity. The Ottawa Food Bank, the Ottawa Mission, and the Ottawa Humane Society are some of the organizations that benefit from Giving Tuesday donations. This year, it comes at a time when many charities are facing a decline in donations because of the cost of living, while also dealing with their own rising costs.

Christmas Cheer Breakfast

The annual Christmas Cheer Breakfast to support local charities will take place this week.

CTV’s Graham Richardson, Patricia Boal and Matt Skube will be back hosting this year’s event, which is Dec. 1 at the Infinity Convention Centre.

Tickets are available here

Last year, the event raised $100,000 for nearly 30 local charities including the Barrhaven Food Cupboard, Debra Dynes Family House, the Odawa Native Friendship Centre, and the Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa.

Ontario Liberals pick a new leader

Ontario Liberal Party members are voting this weekend on a new leader who will challenge Premier Doug Ford in the 2026 elections.

Among the slate of candidates in Ottawa Centre Liberal MP Yasir Naqvi, who previously sat as that riding’s MPP in Queen’s Park.

Naqvi says his vision for the Ontario Liberal Party is to create a “strong” party, with a “big tent and a focus on its members not insiders.”

The other three candidates vying for leadership are Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie, Beaches—East York Liberal MP Nate Erskine-Smith and Kingston and the Islands Liberal MPP Ted Hsu.

The Ontario Liberal Party will announce a new leader on Dec. 2 to replace Steven Del Duca, who resigned after last June’s provincial election.

Ontario Liberal Party leadership hopefuls (left to right) Ted Hsu, Yasir Naqvi, Bonnie Crombie and Nathaniel Erskine-Smith are seen in a composite image of four photographs respectively taken in Toronto, on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022; in Ottawa on Friday, Dec. 9, 2022; in Mississauga, Ont. on Wednesday, June 14, 2023; in Ottawa on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick, Justin Tang, Chris Young, Patrick Doyle

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