Ottawa Mayor Watson Says City is “Under Occupation”
OTTAWA – Politics – There is ongoing efforts in the nation’s capital over the continued presence of members of the Freedom Convoy.
Downtown Ottawa for the most part remains in a form of gridlock with the truckers filling many of the streets. The fumes from the diesel engines have many residents in downtown getting increasingly frustrated. So too are the loud blasts from the horns of the trucks which reportedly are being sounded around the clock on an hourly basis.
This is the audio landscape in a residential area of downtown Ottawa this morning. pic.twitter.com/Ol2Gk5XOry
— Glen McGregor (@glen_mcgregor) February 2, 2022
Many businesses remain closed in downtown Ottawa. The Rideau Centre will be closed until at least February 6th.
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson announced on Thursday evening updating councillors on discussions with federal officials this week, including the Prime Minister reporting the PM offered assurances that the federal government would provide resources in support of the Ottawa police. The cost to Ottawa taxpayers is about $800,000 daily.
Mayor Watson also say that he and the city solicitor spoke with officials at GoFundMe about keeping funds raised by protest organizers frozen until the end of what Watson referred to as “the occupation.”
The passion of the debate in the House of Commons has ramped up as well with the Conservative party, a day after the caucus revolt that saw Erin O’Toole removed as party leader.
There has been some discussion with Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly stating that the solution may take more than the Ottawa Police.
However, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says a military response to the ongoing Ottawa protest against COVID-19 measures is “not in the cards right now”.
Ottawa Police have charged one person and laid thirty tickets on Thursday.
One of the issues could be that GoFundMe has frozen the funds from the account set up to support the convoy.
Leaders of the Convoy held a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday where the Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms
The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms earlier today announced it is representing the Freedom Convoy 2022 in Ottawa and has a team of lawyers on the ground providing legal assistance and advice. The Justice Centre legal team is working on behalf of Convoy organizers to ensure all funds raised by GoFundMe are released to the truckers for their intended purpose.
The funds from GoFundMe will be used to cover the costs of the convoy, specifically food, fuel, lodging, and other necessary related expenses. The Justice Centre is not receiving any funding from the trucker’s GoFundMe, and operates entirely on private donations from Canadians across the country. The Justice Centre was not involved with the organization, implementation, or planning of the Freedom Convoy and began providing legal representation as of Monday, January 31, 2022.
Tamara Lich, one of the Convoy organizers (pictured at microphone), says, “We are here out of love for our families, our communities and our nation. These past two years, the covid mandates have divided us.”
Ms. Lich continued, “This protest began because of the federal government’s restrictions on truckers’ freedoms. Our movement has grown in Canada and across the world because common people are tired of the mandates and restrictions in their own lives that now seem to be doing more harm than good. As of today, Sweden, Denmark, UK, Norway, Finland, Ireland, and Switzerland have removed all covid mandates and restrictions. We are therefore calling on all levels of government in Canada to end all covid mandates and restrictions. We will continue our protest until we see a clear plan for their elimination.”
Ms. Lich noted that no government official from any level, federal, provincial, or municipal had taken steps to speak directly with the convoy organizers. “As a woman with Metis heritage, a mother, and a grandmother, I am offended. The reality is that members of this freedom movement are average peace-loving and law-abiding citizens from all walks of life who are fed up with being disrespected and bullied by our government,” she adds.
The media, Ms. Lich noted, has portrayed the truck convoy and their peaceful demonstration as “racists, misogynists, and even terrorists.” The Convoy expressed thanks to hundreds of Ottawa residents who had provided food, accommodations, and support for the convoy.
“The truck convoy is a representation of Canadians’ frustrations with extreme government overreach, and unprecedented restrictions on their fundamental rights and freedoms,” states Keith Wilson, lead counsel for the Justice Centre.
“Contrary to positions taken by government leaders, the Convoy represents ordinary, hard working Canadians – truckers, families, small business owners, Canadians who have lost jobs, income, missed holding the hand of a dying family member, been refused service in a store, or had their children miss months of school during lockdowns. The Convoy represents Canadians who are fed up with two weeks ‘to flatten the curve’ turning into two years of restrictions, mandates and decimation of democracy.”
Thursday morning, the Justice Centre legal team sent GoFundMe all the details required and have been working hard to ensure the suspension put on the campaign is immediately lifted.