Police officers patrol on foot along Albert Street as a protest against COVID-19 restrictions that has been marked by gridlock and the sound of truck horns reaches its 14th day, in Ottawa, Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Protest convoy truck noise caused hearing loss, woman tells Emergencies Act inquiry

A legally blind Ottawa woman says the loud and constant noise of the “Freedom Convoy” protest last winter left her with permanent hearing loss and mental-health problems.

Victoria De La Ronde is the first witness to testify before the inquiry into the federal government’s use into the Emergencies Act to end gridlock in downtown Ottawa.

She says the protest was an assault on her hearing that left her hopeless and trapped in her home, and she is still triggered by the sounds of vehicle horns and the smell of gasoline.

The commission is also hearing from Zexi Li, a public servant who filed a court injunction to stop truckers from continually honking their horns during the protest.

Li says she didn’t feel safe amid the chaos on the streets, which she says escalated as the protest continued week after week.

De La Ronde and Li are among 65 witnesses, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and convoy organizers, expected to testify before the commission.