February 7, 2022
Ottawa has been held hostage for eleven days and counting. Like you, I am frustrated and angry.
Ottawa has been the target of many protests over the years. But never has a protest been allowed to become an illegal occupation of critical local infrastructure. There have been failures of leadership on several fronts and at many levels. And our neighbours continue to pay the price.
I know you are as sick as I am about the buck-passing and ineffective responses we’ve seen to date.
Different police forces and all orders of government must come together and immediately use all tools at their disposal to end this occupation and to enable the justice system to work.
If bylaws or other pieces of legislation need to be amended to give enforcement agencies different or additional powers, let’s do that work quickly. At Council, earlier today I brought forward and supported several motions that spoke to the idling, the noise, Provincial and Federal support and intervention, community relief funding and the unequivocal condemnation of racism and discrimination exhibited by the illegal occupation.
As a capital city, this won’t be our last protest. Ottawa as a capital must have systems in place to facilitate truly peaceful demonstrations but residents cannot be expected to risk their well-being and safety and businesses can’t be forced to close.
Intimidation and lawlessness are not welcome in our city.
The opportunity to question political decision making or lack thereof will come. When the time is right, I will seek Council’s support for an inquiry on how this situation was handled and what lessons must be learned to avoid repeating the same mistakes.
But now is the time to come together as a community. Let’s pause our questions for now and support our city to work together to get this resolved.
In addition, I have reached out to lawyer Paul Champ to confirm that the geographic area of people who can participate in his class-action lawsuit against the people behind this illegal occupation includes our community. We may need additional legal assistance to prevent and pursue occupation consequences.
We’re frustrated. We’ve had enough. But we’re not helpless.
Time’s up for the illegal occupiers.
It’s time for leadership our citizens expect.