Statement on the Ongoing Occupation 

February 15, 2022

After a third weekend where our city has endured an occupation of our streets, I am struck by the resilience of our citizens. I know how difficult these last weeks have been for all involved.  

The harassment, hate, and bullying our neighbours have faced is beyond the pale.  

The arrival of this anarchic group has made some question everything we have done as a community to keep others safe in the face of a global pandemic. At the end of the day, we should feel confident in these decisions and know these efforts cannot be diminished by a loud minority.   

On Tuesday, Mr. Sloly announced his resignation as Chief of Police.  

It’s clear that public trust and confidence in our institutions has been eroded, and in light of these events, I appreciate his decision and thank him for this latest act of public service.  

I do remain extremely concerned by the lack of visible enforcement, specifically within our community. Other cities’ experiences and responses to similar occupations have shown just how short our leadership has fallen.   

Our residents expect active and swift enforcement toward an end to this occupation with police forces using every tool at their disposal.  

We must free our city from this occupation and help our communities and businesses recover.  

Let’s look at the past 19 days.   

It took nine days for the City to declare a State of Emergency. It was only after this declaration that staff could grant my requests to bolster fines for bylaws blatantly being defied.   

Noise, parking, open fires, and idling infractions are now set at $1,000.   

It was only after my council colleagues and I pushed that the city’s legal department filed a successful court injunction to address the widespread disregard for municipal by-laws. This injunction will restrain individuals from setting fires, using fireworks, causing noise, and idling.   

My efforts also brought Council to support a request to the provincial and federal governments to help alleviate the local impacts to business and employees, including wage relief.   

On day 15, the Provincial government declared a State of Emergency.   

On day 19, the Federal government invoked the Emergencies Act and announced that the OPP and RCMP will take over management of the occupation response. This is something I had been pushing for since the beginning of this occupation.   

Although some occupiers have seemingly agreed to remove themselves from residential streets, my focus remains on finding a permanent solution and an end to the illegal occupation in our City.  

Once again, I am proud of Ottawa residents and businesses for standing up to the occupation. For it was a resident who took the initial step in front of the courts to stop the constant honking and succeeded.   

And it has been residents who have bravely organized, with safety as a top priority, to demonstrate these illegal occupiers are not tolerated in our City.  

Despite this resilience, the Rideau Centre doors have remained shuttered to businesses, employees, shoppers, and transit users since January 29th, costing more than $32 million.   

This is far from acceptable for these businesses and the people who rely on them to earn a living.   

I want my community to know I am committed to working together to once again be and feel safe and secure in our neighbourhoods.   

There will be future protests in our capital city. We must never again allow those coming to Ottawa under the guise of protest to occupy our city and diminish the rights of those who live here.