OTTAWA — The head of the Ottawa police says "all options are on the table," including calling in the military, to end the ongoing anti-vaccine mandate protest that some city councillors are calling an "occupation" of the capital.
Chief Peter Sloly warned Wednesday that there "may not be a policing solution" to the demonstration.
He said he knows people in Ottawa want to see more enforcement as protesters continued to cause gridlock and put a significant burden on residents and businesses, many of which have closed in the downtown core.
Sloly said ending the protest, which rolled into the city as a convoy last Friday, could come through negotiations or it could come through police enforcement.
Or the military could be called in, he said, noting that's something that happened during the Oka standoff with Indigenous protesters in Quebec in 1990 and the October Crisis, which was fuelled by militant Quebec separatists in 1970.
"All such options come with significant risks," Sloly said at a public briefing for city councillors.
Police estimated the protest involved 8,000 to 15,000 people on Saturday but has since dwindled to several hundred.
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"What remains is a highly determined and highly volatile group of unlawful individuals," acting deputy Chief Trish Ferguson said Wednesday.
More people are expected to arrive in Ottawa over the weekend, with the local hotel association saying people rebooked rooms. Police intelligence hasn't revealed how many are expected to descend on Parliament Hill again.
A "significant element from the United States" has been involved in funding and organizing the demonstration," Sloly said, adding the longer the demonstration goes on, the greater the risk to public safety.
Ottawa police are watching other demonstrations across the country.
In southern Alberta, initial efforts to remove an illegal blockade at the Coutts border crossing led to public safety risks and little progress, Sloly said. But on Wednesday the protesters agreed to make some room to allow traffic through.
Ultimately, he said, it may be up to politicians or others to finally stop these demonstrations.
Coun. Diane Deans, chair of the police services board, said she expects police to step up enforcement of city bylaws as officers are redeployed from the area around Parliament Hill to other communities in the city. That's something police said began Tuesday night.
"The message I've been getting loud and clear from the public is they sense this sort of lawlessness that has been allowed to happen," Deans said in an interview.
"We need to restore law and order in these communities and these people need to be subject to our laws and bylaws while they're in our city."
Police said they had charged three men related to the protest and there were 25 active investigations.
A 48-year-old man from Quebec was charged with uttering threats over social media and counselling to commit an indictable offence. The man was not named.
Andre Lacasse, 37, was charged Sunday with carrying a weapon to a public meeting. Police allege he planned to attend the rally downtown with a long gun, but was intercepted before that could happen.
Matthew Dorken, 29, was charged Tuesday with mischief under $5,000.
"We want to be very clear, both for the current demonstrations and any planned demonstrations: Illegal activity will not be tolerated," police said in a release.
Late Wednesday, police asked the public for tips to help their investigation into the desecration of the National War Memorial on Saturday.
Investigators asked people to review photos and a video of a suspect provided to police by The Sun.
Ottawa residents have voiced frustration with the incessant blare of truck horns, traffic gridlock and harassment by some protesters. An online petition urging police to end the demonstration was posted on Change.org on Tuesday and garnered more than 10,000 signatures on the first day.
Coun. Catherine McKenney, who represents downtown, said the federal government should send in the RCMP to help get a handle on the demonstration.
"The residents of downtown have been abandoned during a national crisis and occupation of our city," McKenney said. "People are terrified and there is no presence of the police."
Ottawa police said they requested RCMP intelligence officers to assist with negotiations and other elements of the protest, Deans said.
Deans also called on Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to get in touch with the crowdfunding site GoFundMe and demand that protesters be barred from millions of dollars raised by organizers. GoFundMe has confirmed $1 million has been released to organizers so far.
"They're funding these mercenaries and that funding stream needs to get cut off," Deans said.
The GoFundMe website Wednesday shows the "Freedom Convoy 2022" fundraiser has reached $10,097,500 in donations but has been "currently paused and under review to ensure it complies with our terms of service and applicable laws and regulations."
The website's terms of service prohibit violating laws and regulations.
It also says funds can't be used in support of hate, violence, harassment, bullying, discrimination, terrorism, or intolerance of any kind relating to race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, serious disabilities or diseases.
The terms also state donations can't be used for the legal defence of such activity.
Tamara Lich, part of the convoy's fundraising team, was not immediately available for comment.
Late Wednesday, GoFundMe issued a statement about its decision to put a hold on the funds after earlier saying the organizer met its requirements.
"Our monitoring includes maintaining close communication with the organizer as well as collaborating with local law enforcement. This process takes time and may slow down the withdrawal process," reads the statement.
"We also requested more information from the organizer regarding the use of funds to ensure the fundraiser is still compliant with our terms of service. When we do not receive required information, we may put a pause on donations as we did in this case."
In a statement Wednesday, one of the Ottawa convoy leaders said responsibility for the city's current hardships rests on politicians who "prefer to vilify and call us names" instead of engaging with them.
"The fastest way to get us out of the nation's capital is to call your elected representatives and end all (COVID-19) mandates," wrote Chris Barber.
Barber said interactions with police have been "mostly positive," especially with front-line officers.
Late Wednesday, Watson lashed out at a group of Conservatives MPs and a senator from Saskatchewan who had their picture taken in front of one of the protest trucks.
The group, including MPs Warren Steinley, Kevin Waugh, Andrew Scheer, Fraser Tolmie, Rosemarie Falk and Sen. Denise Batters are seen grinning in front of the truck, some giving the thumbs-up.
"A few of our SK Caucus members went to show our appreciation for the hardworking, patriotic truckers who have kept our supply chains healthy & grocery shelves stocked for the past two years," Waugh said on Twitter. "It’s great to see Canadians championing freedom on Parliament Hill."
Watson called on them to apologize.
"This is an absolute disgrace that you would come out & praise this illegal action that has caused stress and hardship to residents who have been putting up with horns blasting throughout the night and residents harassed for wearing a mask & businesses forced to close," he said on Twitter.
Erica Ifill, founder of equity and inclusion consultancy firm Not In My Colour, said it appears police "have no control over this at all," and are using less proactive and aggressive measures than those used at other demonstrations held by people of colour.
"Don't we pay them to figure it out? I mean, isn't that what they're there for?" she said. "What it looks like is that they are more concerned with inciting violence of white men than they are about the bodies of Black and Indigenous people."
Police estimate they have already spent more than $3 million to manage the protest and respond to emergencies. In comparison, the Canada 150 celebrations on Parliament Hill in 2017 cost Ottawa police about $1.5 million.
The city has begun delivering essentials to people downtown who are afraid or unable to leave their homes, Watson said.
Watson said he has spoken with federal and provincial officials about getting financial relief for businesses that have been unable to open during the ongoing demonstrations.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 2, 2022
Ottawa police chief: "all
Ottawa police chief: "all options are on the table"
Also Ottawa police chief: there "may not be a policing solution"
Sooo . . . all options are on the table for the police, except . . . policing.
He's basically saying that
He's basically saying that this isn't a problem that the city police alone can deal with. Ottawa was not designed as a fortress, and I can't recall hearing of another instance over the last 155 years when that's not been a good thing.
Over eight thousand on the weekend and still hundreds of tractors in the city core .. several hundred was last night's quote from the deputy chief I think. Just think about how hard it is to remove one of those. If every towing company in Ottawa were working 24/7 and everyone was cooperating that would still be a couple of weeks and that doesn't even address the problem of where to put them all. And Sloly says 50000 officers would be needed for checkpoints to prevent more from coming in to replace them. At this point they need some combination of OPP, RCMP and troops from Petawawa to get the situation under control. They don't have to wait for a full-blown riot, the organizers have made their goals abundantly clear.
And we need the scurrilous politicians who are fundraising off of this to donate the monies they've raised to organizations helping people in Ottawa that are being hurt by this, also to be held responsible for their role and also, most simply, to tell people to go home.
I don't understand why, the
I don't understand why, the trucks and their drivers being separable, the first move wouldn't be simply to arrest the occupants.
The trucks drove in, the trucks could be driven out. I expect they're not harder to hot-wire than a Bimmie.
Once the "protesters" are separated from trucks, the problem's not insurmountable.
There are likely "regular, vaccinated truck drivers" who'd be happy to do a little extra gig, just to make it so they could do their own jobs. And likely plenty of parking room on land owned by military not far from Ottawa.
The trucks at this point are being used as "weapons against democracy." I'm pretty darned sure that if the occupants were arrested once separated from their trucks and any weapons potentially stored in them, it could be done safely, too.
But why not call in the RCMP? They're all fitted out with military gear, as was made clear when they decided to make a show of force along the proposed CGL route.
The "protesters" would like nothing better than to see the military come in. Can you imagine how they'd blow that up in right-wing misinformation media?
I don't buy it. First, I was
I don't buy it. First, I was paying attention back in the days of huge anti-WTO protests. They made this thing look tiny, but the police were not shy about breaking heads. They saw anti-WTO protesters as the enemy and brought in masses of extra cops, riot gear, weird riot weapons and so forth. If they don't have a ton of cops in Ottawa now it's not because they had no warning, since there was plenty, it's because they decided they didn't want to be police-y with right wing whites.
The trucks are not a real problem, they're an excuse. You start arresting truckers, you take the keys of the truckers you arrest, you pay someone to move the truck, back where it came from if that's what it takes to find somewhere to park the truck, and you bill the owner of the truck for the expense. Start doing this and a whole lot of the other truckers will suddenly remember they have deliveries, and a living, to make elsewhere.
Luckily there is a large
Luckily there is a large tranche of money sitting in gofu**me that will be used to clean up after the puerile tremper tantrum.
I think that what we're going
I think that what we're going to see is, governments at all 3 levels are going on an asset seizure spree. That $10 million the insurrectionists got via GoFundMe is a FAT target. And taking away their pickup trucks will hurt them.
I fear that folks are taking
I fear that folks are taking this too lightly - the situation is nowhere near in-hand.
Apparently GoFundMe is
Apparently GoFundMe is reviewing the entire account, and may just return the $$ to the contributors.
I'd love to know how much of that "support" is foreign money.
Looks like Elon Musk probably
Looks like Elon Musk probably donated.
Tesla is dead to me.
There is a very simple
There is a very simple solution. "Drop the mandates" The answer is right in front of your faces. This solution saves money, nobody opportunity for violence and every body goes home. It appears NO and some of its fringe minority are loving the restrictions and are more upset that they are not getting their way. Open your eyes and drop the mandates like the rest of the world is starting to do.
Like that "Best Summer Ever"
Like that "Best Summer Ever" in Alberta last year? We all saw how well that went.
And it is going so much
And it is going so much better now with an 80%+ vaccination rate and passports and lockdowns? Highest numbers ever and most vaccinated. Blaming todays numbers on "Best summer ever" is quite a stretch. Makes as much sense as Covid positive, triple vaxxed, Justin still pushing the narrative because he is so entrenched in it. Time to look at another way. This one is obviously not working.
You think you're just
You think you're just volunteering someone else's dad for death so who cares, but it might be yours, you know.
Volunteering for death?? You
Volunteering for death?? You make it sound like we have a choice on when and where and how we die. I am voluteering for all of us to live life to its fullest and not in the continuous fear that you are proposing. You can stay locked up in isolation if you want. That is your choice. Stop trying to take everyone elses choice away. Everybody eventually dies and you do get to choose if you want live that life in fear or not. Go take another jab Rufus and start living life.
Do you think this foreign
Do you think this foreign funded temper tantrum has been successful? Why?
How old are you? 15? If you
How old are you? 15? If you want to not "live your life in fear", fine, go play in traffic. Those red lights at the intersection are just telling you to be afraid; nobody can predict the day of their death, so why limit yourself to when that white walking man is shining to walk where you will? I have no objection; you'd be mostly endangering only yourself, and hopefully the death you'd arrange would be quick and not take up hospital space needed by people who actually deserve help.
But vaccination, masking and other public health measures are different. They don't just protect your miserable life, they protect everyone else. By choosing to ignore them, you make yourself a disease carrier, materially increasing risk for the whole public. It's not an act of courage, it's an act of callous selfishness, choosing more risk for other people because you don't want to be mildly inconvenienced. Your pretence that it's all about your personal fee-fees of wanting to be a macho man is pure narcissism, focusing on you you you so you can forget that what you're doing is endangering others.
Worse, by doing it as a GROUP, the lot of you create a RESERVOIR of disease carriers. If you lot had collectively done your civic duty and gotten vaccinated and observed public health rules, in all likelihood we wouldn't be having a significant "wave" of disease right now. It's your fault for being entitled morons. I don't see how any of this is any way conservative, or even libertarian. Conservatives used to claim to believe in personal responsibility; the way you're acting would have been denounced as the epitome of irresponsible hippiedom (inaccurately, but that's how conservatives thought). Libertarians believe their right to swing their fist ends at someone's nose, but insisting on endangering everyone's health is swinging the fist and hitting. Your bunch aren't any ideology except self-centred irresponsibility.
Yes Ray, that's how democracy
Yes Ray, that's how democracy work: no need for parliamentary debate, just send in a mob of threatening thugs to intimidate elected officials until they get their way. Careful about what you stand for!
Wow. You actully think we
Wow. You actully think we currently have parlimentary debate? Seriously?
You obviously don't bother
You obviously don't bother with boring items like The House, just thoughtless social media tidbits....
I hear you man! Some day
I hear you man! Some day all these scared people will wake up to reality. Amazing how blind people are to the reality staring them in the face. Why do all these readers consider the participants to this convoy - Hoodlums, and any other pejorative name they can find? May because that's what our politicians call them instead of addressing the reason for this uprising. These people invested anywhere from $200,000 to $300,000 in these rigs which are sitting idle to speak up for their principles. Whay cannot the rest of Canadians take that into consideration. I am not a trucker; I am a grandmother who is outraged at her Canada which she has always known as a DEMOCRATIC country. Where is that democracy now?
Sorry - the above comment was
Sorry - the above comment was addressed to RAY WALESCHUK. Whose frustration i share and whose views I also share.
I agree that the drivers need
I agree that the drivers need to be separated from the trucks and arrested. They can be given one last warning. It is deeply disturbing to me that these semi-trucks are being used as weapons against our democracy, in effect holding the nation's capitol hostage. Shame on these people!
And what will happen this weekend when many protesters return to Ottawa. I hope the police and RCMP have a plan.
The Ottawa police say they
The Ottawa police say they have spent $3 million so far but it appears they haven't done anything. The accounting of this should be interesting reading.
It appears the Ottawa police (and other forces) are complicit with the foreign funded trucker temper tantrum.
It's very disturbing to
It's very disturbing to witness once more how our governments (all levels) react to blockades: have the RCMP (or the army) arrest and rough-up members of First Nations and their supporters who are blockading, but tiptoe around the situation when dealing with a mob of white thugs intent on intimidating elected officials to have their way. Truly worrisome!
Every demonstrator just begs
Every demonstrator just begs for physical action against them, and god, nobody can do martyrdom like entitled White guys.
Sue for all government costs; assist locals with their lawsuit.
Take all their money. Ensure everybody's paying out-of-pocket for the whole thing.
I like some the suggested
I like some the suggested solutions proposed here. Why not put the capitalist system to work? No doubt there are already by-laws and regulations in place against obstructing traffic. illegal parking and defiance of approved trucking routes. Call in the Heavy Rescue Guys to haul away the vehicles , slap them with the cost of the tow, and the storage, and if that is not paid, most likely the towing companies can put liens on the rigs. Initially it might be necessary to provide protections for the tow operators but it is also possible that the brighter nitwits will take the hint and move off. The threat of endless legal haggling to retrieve their livelihood might dispel the fog of "victory" currently driving these deluded folks. The government must immediately sue to sequester the gofundme proceeds to cover costs/damages - which also might deter the fools who succumbed to this misbegotten grift.
As far as avoiding repetition
As far as avoiding repetition - at all the trucking routes entering the city of Ottawa, install strategic choke points that prevent all but passenger vehicles to enter and divert the trucks into sanctioned trucking routes - well away from the core.. Those with legitimate delivery documents may be permitted to proceed. The others would be routed to truck inspection stations and if not bonafide could be turned around to return to their point of origin. If this becomes a common occurrence in Ottawa, (or elsewhere) it may be helpful to deploy LE officers as "pilots" and/or provide passports for truckers , which, if they violate the terms of the passport could result in license suspension.
One gets the sense that many of these drivers are living out some hollywood fantasy of trucker intimidation. The Canadian military may not have in their possession the behemoth tanks the Israeli Army employs but this country has plenty of mining vehicles that could overpower 18 wheelers.
Secondary routes into Ottawa could also be choked off at places where "turnarounds" would be possible.. Legitimate truckers caught up in this mess could be given printed instructions for contacting the organizers of this extortion siege where they can register their profane objections.
As for the vaccination mandates that provide the excuse for this exercise in civil mayhem - the introduction on nasal inhaled vaccines - currently in trials - may well bypass much of the vaccine resistance and likely being more effective, may obviate the need for multiple applications/boosters. If all vaccines can be administered without the need of injection, the process will be much less costly and much less scary for the subject.
In any case, this current static riot in Ottawa, is likely an emulation of Trumpian disorder/misrule and very possibly funded by malevolent right wingers whose badly received obstructionism makes them desperate for a win. I hope they have completely blown their cover.