By Charlie Angus MP
OTTAWA – OPINION – On Saturday I set out to join three elected officials and Ottawa residents in a peaceful walk through their neighbourhood. The walk, however, was cancelled because police warned us we faced a threat of ‘extremist”‘violence.
All week I had been dealing residents who had been threatened or harassed (mostly because they were women or racialized). And now police were telling elected representatives that they couldn’t walk the streets of their own city.
The reality was that city officials had given the keys of the city to a mass group of outsiders to do what they wanted. The result was a huge display of contempt for the people of this city and the rule of law. I saw young guys hanging out of trucks shouting at people as they bombed their way down main streets. The beautiful church grounds on Metcalfe was turned into the urinal of choice. On one narrow side street a guy parked his truck in the middle of the road blocking off all the residents. He then went off to join the party. The police were nowhere”.
Ottawa will be a case study in the absolute failure of police and civic officials to use the tools in place to undertake reasonable containment. For example, a guy who stopped his vehicle on a main road could get out, leave it running and walk away. What a perfect way to block traffic. For this there was no ticket. And yet residents who followed the bylaws further down the road were being ticketed and towed”.
What struck me about the police claim that they were concerned about extremist action was their willingness to let any manner of illegal actions take place. You want to haul a giant crane near Parliament? No problem. You want to walk through a busy market with a chain saw – no problem. If you were hauling open containers of highly explosive gas into the downtown parliamentary region just ask the police the best way to go and they would guide you”.
But Ottawa will be a case study for other reasons. If you were part of the gang that descended on Ottawa this was probably the best party you ever attended. You could do whatever you wanted on someone else’s ground. Heck if you wanted to defecate on the street – that was okay too. However, if you weren’t part of the gang you stayed indoors because this was no longer your city. This was no longer your country”.
And this ain’t over, not by a long shot.
New Democrat Charlie Angus is the federal Member of Parliament for the riding of Timmins—James Bay.