An Orillia man has made the journey to Ottawa over the past two weekends to fight for his freedom and his livelihood.
Nic Langman, a supporter of the Freedom Convoy, lost his business Black Lotus Academy of Martial Arts & Fitness in the summer of 2020. Langman says he's been unemployed for two years now and is in debt after losing his business.
"The parameters of working with the mandates has made it virtually impossible for small businesses to sustain themselves,” he said. “I went down to support the movement to end the mandates. I want to work again and get back to helping people be healthy both mentally and physically.”
Langman says his time in Ottawa was “an incredible experience” and some of the most amazing days of his life.
“Everyone I met there was like myself,” he said. “Either a small business owner who has lost everything or a government worker who had been fired for refusing to take the vaccine,” he said.
The media's portrayal of the convoy has been all wrong in the eyes of Langman. He says he has not seen one Nazi flag.
“I’m not saying there wasn’t one there,” he said. “But I’m saying I never saw one after walking end to end for eight hours in a row.”
What Langman did see, was a single protester with the Confederate flag.
“One person in a group of more than 10,000 certainly doesn’t represent the group,” he said. “What was funny to me about seeing this guy was he just about got lit up before the police escorted him away. I also noticed that his flag was brand new, it was fresh out of the package. If you are a Confederate supporter, you would think that you would have one already and not purchase one for a freedom protest in Ottawa.”
Langman said he also noticed the protester was wearing a mask the whole time, refused to take it off, and was completely by himself.
“When people carry Nazi or Confederate flags, they are not ashamed of it,” he said. “The entire event was filled with families, small business owners and people who have been wrongly dismissed from their jobs…It really begs the question as to why this guy was there.”
Langman believes the media is trying to silence protesters and the Freedom Convoy movement. Many have also portrayed protesters as racist bigots, he claimed. He encourages people to go to his Facebook page and watch what is really happening in Ottawa through the lens of his video camera.
“The (city) council people on the CBC are talking about how the downtown is absolute mayhem and it’s like a bunch of criminals running around,” he said. “It’s absolute lies. I’ve also heard from my own sources that the police who are down there are in internal conflict ... because they are being told to arrest people which goes against the oaths that they took to protect the people.”
Langman says the 10-day ban that was put in place on Monday to stop protesting truckers from honking their horns, along with arresting people who bring fuel to truckers, is declaring war "on the most peaceful protest in human history."
“They’ve blocked out cell service to Ottawa so nobody can live-stream anymore, and they are planning on sending riot police in, up to 3,000 of them,” he said. “That is use of force and doing that against peaceful peoples is called terrorism.”
Langman isn’t sure how the convoy will end, but he hopes Canada is still a democratic country when it does end.
“If that was the case, Trudeau would step down immediately,” he said. “We would have a re-election, they would end the mandates, and they would start to try to help the people whose lives they have crippled over the last two years.
Another option to ending the protest is with force, Langman says, but that is something he doesn’t see happening.
“Everyone knows what happened with Tiananmen Square,” he said. “I’m not saying that’s what will happen here, but it has happened before, and things are moving in an unfortunate direction.”
Langman, who refuses to be vaccinated, is hoping the end result of the protest will allow him to return to work. He is also hoping for the opportunity to put his nine-year-old son into baseball.
“I’m not allowed to sit in a restaurant, my friend isn’t allowed to go see her doctor, my son can’t play baseball,” he said. “I just hope it ends peacefully, but it’s tough to take back something peacefully when someone has taken it from you.”
Langman plans to return to Ottawa to support his fellow protesters.
"As someone who grew up believing we live in a free country, it would be an injustice to our and our children's future to not go back."