Statement on the Occupation: A Way Forward 

February 23, 2022

To say the events of recent weeks have been painful is an understatement. People are hurting deeply. Our city’s reputation has been tainted. Trust in our institutions is compromised (if not broken).  

We have much to learn, correct, and redress.  

We are a G-7 capital City, and more protests will take place. But we must never again allow those coming to Ottawa, under the guise of protest to occupy our city, intimidate our neighbours, and insult who we are as Canadians.  

That any of this could happen in Canada’s capital and Ontario’s second largest city is astonishing. Frankly, it is an embarrassment. We deserve better.  

That is why I’m calling for an integrated public inquiry involving all three levels of government. We all have a role in these critical conversations and a responsibility in the solutions to come.  

We must first ensure critical support is given to local residents and businesses most severely impacted by this occupation. That means supporting workers who lost their wages and small business owners already struggling under the weight of this pandemic, while taking proactive measures to protect our citizens and democratic institutions from future harm.  

Any government’s first obligation is to keep people safe. Yet this occupation exposed serious shortcomings in our security systems and in our ability to keep our communities safe, including our most vulnerable residents.  

At my request, Council has directed city staff to examine the lack of city-owned heavy duty towing capabilities and the feasibility of bollards along Confederation Boulevard, and present a clear, actionable report that will inform our decisions going forward.  

During our darkest hours, I was pleased to work with Council and staff to find a way to mitigate the impacts. From free transit to bolstering bylaw fines and a successful injunction, albeit late, we found a way to do what we could in the toughest of situations.  

And in the light of a new day, I want to say although I am not proud of some of the actions that took place in the past three weeks at City Hall, now is the time to work together. Citizens of Ottawa deserve to feel safe in their city. They expect that governments will have their backs and do everything in their power to prevent the very failures we have lived over recent weeks. 

We are owed accountability, transparency, and action by the leaders and institutions that serve them. Let us learn the lessons and do the work to ensure current and future residents are better served and protected. Let us truly reclaim our streets, our Ottawa, and make sure we build a better city for all.

Direction on occupation prevention and human needs: Read here.

Motion on the welcome home event for local olympians: Read here.

Motion on endorsing the #OttawaLove campaign: Read here.

Motion on expanding lost income programs: Read here.