Councillor Rawlson King provided an updated statement on the ongoing demonstration to Rideau-Rockcliffe residents.
The challenge that besets Ottawa is unprecedented. Over the past two weeks, this so-called "demonstration" rapidly transformed into an illegal occupation which has completely disrupted the lives of our residents and businesses, holding the City hostage.
While neither local or senior governments can give instruction to police, it does set the legislative framework for police action. Consequently, I am pleased that the Premier declared a State of Emergency in Ontario today to give police more tools and resources to stop this illegal occupation. The Government of Ontario has indicated that there will be severe consequences for those involved in this illegal occupation and that there will be operational support to strengthen the tools and resources necessary to restore public order.
The Premier will convene cabinet to enact orders to address the illegal occupation that make it illegal and punishable to block and impede the movement of goods, people, and services along with critical infrastructure.
The City of Ottawa today also sought an appearance before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for purposes of obtaining an injunction in respect of the by-law violations arising out of the ongoing illegal occupation.
This action is an effort to restrain the observed widespread disregard by many of those involved in the demonstration for the rule of law and for municipal by-laws enacted to promote the health, safety, and well-being of residents and visitors and to enhance the economic, social and environmental well-being of the municipality. It is intended to be supplementary to the measures announced earlier today by the Province of Ontario to address the protests occurring in Ottawa and other jurisdictions.
As part of ongoing efforts to minimize the impact to directly affected residents and businesses, the Ottawa Police Service will continue a major deployment of police officers in the downtown neighbourhoods, expand and harden perimeter of the demonstration "red" zone, enhance its intelligence operations and investigations and increase its enforcement activities. The primary focus of each of these measures will be on the unlawful behaviour connected to the ongoing occupation. This is where an additional requested resources requested from senior levels of government will be applied.
I personally welcome these actions and continue to ask the Police Service to take appropriate action to end the occupation. Though I am prohibited to give operational direction to the Police, I continue to emphasize my expectation to Police Service Command, as a member of Police Services Board, that illegal occupiers and organizers be informed in no uncertain terms that behavior leading to breach of peace will not be tolerated. I have made inquiries to Police Command concerning occupier de-escalation and removal, along with inquiries concerning asking for a clear process for ending the occupation.
This week Council undertook action to call on both the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada to provide all necessary financial and logistical supports required to bring the protest to an end and allow the City of Ottawa to return to normal. The City made a request for 1,800 additional officers to aid in the restoration of public order and community well-being. Working with colleagues, I introduced a successful motion seeking permission from the Province to recover demonstration-related policing costs from any persons deemed responsible for such costs. I also successfully introduced a motion to condemn the racism, antisemitism and discrimination respectively experienced by the Black, Jewish, Muslim, racialized and members of the two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex (2SLGBTQI+) communities.
Council also supported:
- Requiring staff to advise Council on the status of enforcement activities related to the demonstration, including number of vehicles towed, and numbers and nature of tickets issued.
- To remove vehicles illegally parked in residential areas and addressing ongoing impacts of continued by-law violations by these individuals.
- Petitioning the federal government to assume responsibility for public safety and security within the Parliamentary Precinct and to commit to an increased level of support of the Ottawa Police Service.
- Asking for an independent evaluation of the response to the demonstration.
- Requesting both the provincial and federal governments fund supports for Ottawa businesses, employees and community social support agencies impacted by the protest.
- Seeking increases to noise, idling, use and care of roads and open-air fire by-law set fines to $1,000.
- Amending the existing idling by-law to allow idling in occupied vehicles only when the temperature outside is less than -15 C including the windchill within the protest area.
- Holding daily media availabilities for the duration of the truck convoy occupation.
I along with other Council members are looking forward to the rapid conclusion of this illegal occupation and will continue to encourage the Police Service to implement actions to see the removal of the illegal occupation from the downtown core and other protestor encampments around the City as quickly as possible. I continue to work in conjunction with community members, social services and community organizations and businesses to address community concerns and will continue to echo the sentiments of residents to underline the message that our City won't continue to be held hostage by unlawful occupiers.
My office continues to relay relevant resident concerns and intelligence to the Police Service that impact Rideau-Rockcliffe Ward. Hate motivated incidents should be reported to 613-236-1222 x 5015. Criminal offences can be directly reported at 613-236-1222 x 7300.