'A noble cause': Windsor police officer defends his decision to donate to Freedom Convoy
Const. Michael Jason Brisco is charged with discreditable conduct for donating $50 to the Freedom Convoy while on unpaid leave of absence for not getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
A Police Services Act hearing has been going on since Monday into whether or not Brisco’s donation goes against the Windsor Police Service (WPS) mission, values and vision.
Decision to not get a vaccine
After he learned WPS was developing a mandatory vaccine policy Brisco said he did his own research into the vaccines and even attended an information session offered by the service.
Brisco testified Wednesday that he is not a so-called “anti-vaxxer,” and said he just did not want an MRNA COVID-19 vaccine.
“I was being forced to make a choice between my job and a medical treatment I did not want,” Brisco said. “You have a right about what you put in your body. The government can’t touch that.”
Brisco was told “natural immunity” would not be sufficient exemption from the WPS policy, according to Bryce Chandler, legal counsel and director of human resources for the service.
Brisco was put on unpaid leave on Nov. 26, 2021 when the policy came into effect and he could not provide proof of vaccination.
Start of unpaid leave
“I was worried,” Brisco testified. “I didn’t know if this [leave of absence] was going to become permanent.”
Brisco said this unpaid leave was very different from a parental leave he took earlier in his career.
At that time, he was able to keep his work-issued cell phone and computer, as well as his weapons and warrant card. Brisco testified when he went on unpaid leave all of those things were taken from him.
“I still don’t understand why they took my computer,” he said Wednesday.
There was also a misunderstanding between Brisco and Chandler about how he would be compensated if he was needed to go to court to testify during the leave.
Brisco said he thought he would be paid like a civilian, earning $50 for every day he was in court.
Chandler admitted he should have made it clear to Brisco the compensation would be accrued as overtime to be taken when his leave was over, as per the forces’ collective agreement.
For all these reasons, Brisco said he didn’t consider himself an employee of the WPS when he made a donation.
The timing of the donation
Brisco said the Ottawa court injunction, granted on Feb. 7th, halting the horn honking but allowing peaceful protest “validated” his opinion that it was not illegal in any way.
Then he saw a post on website “Rumble” of Tamara Lich (organizer of the Freedom Convoy in Ottawa) asking for donations for truckers to be made through “Give Send Go.”
Evidence heard the $50 donation was made in the early morning hours of Feb. 8th, 2022, four days after it had been declared illegal by then Ottawa Chief of Police Peter Sloly.
It also coincided with the start of the blockade on the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor.
“I support the right to protest but I don’t believe blocking critical infrastructure is right,” Brisco said.
He told hearing adjudicator, Morris Elbers, he did not know about the bridge blockade at the time of the donation and that he intended the money to go only to the demonstrators in Ottawa.
Brisco further said he does not believe the bridge blockade was in any way connected to the Freedom Convoy demonstration in the nations’ capital.
Shane Miles, Brisco’s lawyer asked outright: “Do you believe your donation would have reflected poorly on you?”
“No.” Brisco said. “I think it would have reflected positively on me. I thought it was a noble cause, protecting charter rights.”
More on Chandler evidence
When drafting their COVID-19 vaccination policy, Chandler said they did consider work exemptions to allow officers to work from home but ultimately “deemed it unsuitable” to properly perform their role in protecting the community.
Chandler said at no time was Brisco ever facing termination.
His status, according to Chandler, was “a police officer who was on a leave of absence.”
When the unpaid leave of absence started, Brisco had to hand in his use of force weapons and any corporate-issued electronics.
He kept his uniforms, badge and his swipe card for headquarters, but Chandler admitted it was deactivated on Nov. 26.
Chandler testified when officers are sworn-in to work for WPS they are then governed by the Police Services Act. That governance, he said, continues even if an officer is off on a leave of absence.
An officers’ duties and responsibilities “don’t evaporate simply because they are on a leave” Chandler told Elbers.
With regards to payment for court appearances, in spite of their misunderstanding about compensation, the hearing learned however at no point was Brisco called to testify in court for any cases he was involved in before his unpaid leave of absence started.
Chandler noted the Windsor Police Association filed a grievance over the vaccination policy but it was withdrawn when the WPS stopped enforcing it in July 2022.
“They would have preferred a vax or test policy,” Chandler told Elbers.
Chandler confirmed Brisco would have been asked to provide proof of two vaccinations against COVID-19 before he was reinstated in May 2022.
The hearing will resume later this month with cross-examination of Brisco.
Windsor Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
W5 investigates | Priest, neighbours issue plea for help for struggling international students in Cape Breton
Cape Breton University has more than doubled in size by enrolling thousands of international students, and critics say the campus and community weren't ready. Watch the documentary 'Cash Cow' on CTV W5, Saturday at 7 p.m.
Afghan women cyclists who escaped the Taliban are chasing their dreams in Canada
After the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan and banned sports for female athletes, Afghan women cyclists are chasing their dreams in Canada.
Unable to leave Syria, mothers of Canadian children forfeit repatriation to keep their families together
In a choice forced upon them by the Canadian government, four mothers have made the agonizing decision to forfeit an opportunity to repatriate their children from open air prisons in northeast Syria.
Recent immigrants more likely to have confidence in Parliament, Canadian media: Statistics Canada
Statistics Canada has released its new report about the Canadians level of confidence in Canada’s institutions, finding that recent immigrants are more likely to express confidence in the media and parliament.
Federal minimum wage, taxes on alcohol: Here's what's changing in Canada April 1
The federal minimum wage is increasing from $15.55 per hour to $16.65, and taxes are going up on gas and alcohol nationwide starting April 1.
A glass of wine or beer per day is fine for your health: new study
A new Canadian study of 4.8 million people says a daily alcoholic drink isn't likely to send anyone to an early grave, nor will it offer any of the health benefits touted by previous studies, even if it is organic red wine.
MP Han Dong issues libel notice to Global News over China interference reporting
Lawyers representing Toronto MP Han Dong served Global News with a libel notice on Friday over reports that alleged he spoke to a Chinese diplomat in February 2021 about delaying the release of the two Michaels, and that he was a 'witting affiliate' of Chinese interference networks – allegations that Dong denies.
Here's what to expect from the Canadian cottage market this year
A recent report from Royal LePage is predicting a drop in prices for Canadian cabins and cottages this year as demand softens from economic uncertainty and low housing stock.
Interim RCMP commissioner would support Criminal Code changes for stricter gun laws
Interim RCMP commissioner Michael Duheme says he would support the Criminal Code changes recommended in the Mass Casualty Commission report to implement stricter gun laws.
Family of Beau Baker 'deeply concerned' after inquest jury rules his death a suicide
The inquest jury found that Beau Baker, 20, died by suicide with the cause of death being a gunshot wound in the torso.
Packing up Portraits of Honour: Cambridge memorial on the move
A Cambridge memorial that pays tribute to Canada’s fallen soldiers is on the move.
Police attended reported shooting in central London, Ont., one person sent to hospital
London police responded to Dundas Street, just west of William Street around 6:30 p.m. Friday evening for a reported shooting. According to police, one person is in custody.
U.S. citizen charged with death threats targeting Justin Trudeau makes court appearance from London, Ont.
A U.S. citizen charged with threatening death or bodily harm to Justin Trudeau made a virtual court appearance from a London jail Friday. Jeremy Joseph, 40 — who is living in Sarnia, Ont. — was arrested on Feb. 4, 2023 after Sarnia police were notified of emails containing threats.
Man injured while fleeing police on Highway 401, SIU investigating
The province’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) is investigating after a man was seriously injured while attempting to flee from OPP on Highway 401 Thursday afternoon.
Fatal farm incident in Alliston under investigation
A 24-year-old man has died after a workplace incident on a farm in Alliston.
Barrie city council considers $40M Sadlon Arena renovations
Tourism Barrie brought a report from a consulting firm to council, recommending upgrades to the arena, including additional seats, modern concessions, and an open grand entrance on the building's north side. The proposed renovations would cost approximately $40 million but could bring significant economic benefits to the city.
Judge grants bail to man convicted of impaired driving causing death on Hwy 12 in 2020
Sigfrid Stahn walked out of the Barrie courthouse Friday a remorseful man one day after a jury found him guilty of impaired driving, causing a collision on Highway 12 in July 2020 that killed a 77-year-old Midland man.
Northern Ont. man receives lifetime hunting ban, fined $5,000 for grouse stash
A northern Ontario man has been banned from licenced hunting and fined $5,000 after pleading guilty to having more than six times the legal limit of grouse and obstructing conservation officers.
‘Nobody wants this’: Opposition grows to renaming Chippewa Secondary School
The plan to rename a North Bay high school is receiving tons of backlash online and has sparked outrage from some school alumni and the community.
Six arrested, 2.7 kilos cocaine seized in massive drug bust in Sudbury, GTA
Ontario's guns and gangs team says with the help of police in Sudbury and Durham, it has disrupted a large drug trafficking operation, seizing 2.7 kilograms of cocaine and arresting six.
Akwesasne: Bodies of two more migrants found, bring total dead to eight
Police say the bodies of eight migrants have been retrieved from the waters off the Mohawk Territory of Akwesasne, straddling the Canada - U.S. border. The people whose bodies were recovered Thursday and Friday consisted of two families of Romanian and Indian origins who were likely trying to enter the U.S. illegally, police said Friday.
NEW THIS MORNING
NEW THIS MORNING | This Lanark County grocery store is reducing prices to fight food inflation
In the midst of record food inflation, one local grocery store in Lanark County is actually cutting prices.
April Fools' Day jokes from city services, museums and businesses in Ottawa
CTVNewsOttawa.ca looks at a few of our favourite April Fools' Day jokes in Ottawa on Saturday.
Should cars be allowed in High Park? Public debate comes to a head
Cherry blossom season is right around the corner – but will you be able to drive inside the park to see the blooms?
Uninsured patients denied scheduled C-sections unless they pay $6,000, midwife says
In one day, Ontario midwife Manavi Handa saw three patients who will have to pay thousands of dollars to be able to schedule a C-section beginning on Sunday.
Man arrested after allegedly chasing people with sharp object, yelling racial slurs at Kennedy Station
A 24-year-old Toronto man who police say chased people through Kennedy Station with a sharp object and shouted racial slurs has been arrested.
Authorities work to identify 8 bodies pulled from St. Lawrence River this week
Akwesasne Mohawk Police say they are working with Immigration Canada and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to confirm the identities of the eight migrants whose bodies were pulled from the St. Lawrence River this week.
Father of Old Montreal fire victim launches $22M lawsuit
A father of one of the seven victims of the deadly Old Montreal fire is suing Airbnb and the owner of the building that burned down for $22 million.
April 1: New parking rules in Montreal as spring street cleaning begins
Montreal's seasonal parking restrictions go into effect Saturday. As of April 1, parking will be limited during certain hours to make way for street cleaning and maintenance operations. Drivers should pay close attention to street signs to determine when and where it's safe to park.
'Impervious to change': doubt, disappointment after initial RCMP response to inquiry recommendations
After the RCMP commissioner admitted he didn't read the Mass Casualty Commission’s final recommendations, family members of those killed in the April 2020 tragedy say they have doubts the force will change.
N.S. doctor denies alleged negligence in case of woman who died after long ER wait
A doctor named in a lawsuit after a Nova Scotia woman died in hospital following a long wait to see a physician has denied allegations from the family that he failed in his duties.
'Nova Scotians' sense of safety was rocked': RCMP failures dominate inquiry's final report into 2020 mass shooting
A long list of failures by Nova Scotia RCMP leadership and policing systems dominate the final report into Nova Scotia's April 2020 mass shooting.
'Waking up to a really bad dream': Manitoba communities mourn four teenagers killed in crash
Multiple Manitoba communities are in mourning following the deaths of four teenagers in a car crash involving a semi-truck on Wednesday.
Zellers to open in Winnipeg next week
The wait is finally over for Winnipeggers who have been wanting to see Zellers make a return to the city.
'I don't feel right paying that money': Winnipeg man fighting phone bill exceeding $3,000
A Winnipeg parent is fighting to have his child's phone bill lowered after it was 10 times higher than normal.
Toffoli scores twice, Flames complete comeback in 5-4 OT win against Canucks
It was a Friday night comeback the Calgary Flames needed.
Motorcyclist killed in Macleod Trail crash
Emergency crews say a motorcyclist has died in a crash on Macleod Trail and it's suspected that speed was a factor in the incident.
Dangerous suspect has 50 warrants for his arrest, Calgary police say
Calgary police are warning the public about a man wanted on 50 warrants, including firearm and assault charges.
Harm reduction group alleges excessive force by Edmonton police officers
A local harm reduction group says force used by Edmonton police officers during a recent arrest on Whyte Avenue on Sunday was "appalling."
Edmonton man latest victim in string of violent events on Edmonton public transit
Some Edmonton commuters say they're scared to use public transit amid increasing acts of violence at LRT stations and bus stops around the city.
Police investigating shooting in north Edmonton
The Edmonton Police Service is investigating after gunfire was exchanged near a north Edmonton strip mall.
Vancouver asks artist, vigil keepers to end Indigenous children's shoe memorial
Officials in Vancouver said they plan to meet with the artist and volunteers who are keeping vigil on a children's shoe memorial on the steps of the city's art gallery in an effort to end the tribute to children who didn't return from residential schools.
Popular Othello Tunnels not expected to reopen this year
A major tourist attraction and historical landmark near Hope, B.C., remains closed more than 16 months after being damaged by floods.
Vancouver lawyer banned from financial markets for role in U.S. fraud
B.C.'s securities regulator has permanently banned a Vancouver lawyer from the financial markets after he was convicted in a U.S. court for his role in a US$34-million fraud.