Earlier this week I shared my thoughts on social media about the futility of the truck convoy protest. This protest has gone from being an inconvenience to being downright scary. We are privileged to live in a democratic society and have the right to protest. But there is a responsibility to be had for peaceful assembly. This is not a protest. It is a blockade that leaves residents as hostages. The public disorder and hateful images we’ve seen this past week are deplorable and there must be consequences to those who incite such hatred. There is no place for this in our society and I support those who denounce it.
I share the frustration of residents on the lack of action that has been taken to date to contain this blockade. I am concerned that as we head into the weekend more protestors are expected to fall upon the capital.
I feel for our Centre Town friends and neighbours who have had to endure so much and are left feeling captive in their neighbourhoods. I continue to connect and offer my support to my Councillor colleagues who are most impacted by this blockade.
The demands of this so called “freedom convoy” group are unrealistic and unattainable which leads us to believe there is no end in sight. I am disappointed that the federal and provincial government representatives have remained on the sidelines while the residents of Ottawa suffer. This protest is directed at the federal government yet the policies being protested were set by the provincial government leaving the municipal police force to deal with this while the residents of downtown Ottawa remain victims of a takeover of their streets aimed at Parliament Hill.
I join my city council colleagues in asking that all three levels of government work together to end this blockade and release downtown residents from a daily existence of fear and confinement. I encourage residents to contact your MP and MPP and urge that both the federal government and provincial governments work with the city for a peaceful end to this occupation. There will be a Special Council Meeting on Monday, February 7 at 1pm. In the meantime I worry about another weekend without direction and ask that we show leadership in taking back our streets.
I want to thank all who have reached out to my office to express their concerns this past week. We have received an extremely high volume of calls and e-mails concerning the occupation of the downtown core, and the incidents as they are being reported nationwide and internationally. Please note that my staff and I are doing our best to respond to everyone. It’s clear that the majority of residents want to see an end to this blockade and are frustrated by the lack of action to date. Please know that I hear you and share your concerns.
OPS have established two contact numbers beyond their regular emergency number. I urge residents to report all criminal and hate incidents associated with the demonstration so that OPS can follow up to address the issues accordingly.